While the team’s manager and general manager were suspended and then fired, the players who cheated were not punished. Instead, they received immunity in exchange for detailing the team’s elaborate sign-stealing scheme that allowed hitters to know which pitches were coming.
Now, many people are demanding more punitive action, with some suggesting that the league strip the team of its championship title and take away individual awards, including Jose Altuve’s MVP.
In recent days, some of the biggest names in the sport have come down hard on Manfred. Angels superstar Mike Trout said he “lost respect” for some of the Astros’ players and called out Manfred for not punishing them.
“Taking a trophy away, taking the rings away,” Trout told the Athletic. “I think they should definitely do something.”
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who lost the MVP title that year to Altuve, said he deleted a tweet congratulating his rival. Asked if Houston should be stripped of the title, Judge said the World Series trophy “just doesn’t hold any value, you cheated and you didn’t earn it.”
Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the reigning National League MVP, dismissed Manfred’s punishment ― or lack thereof ― as “weak.”
“These guys were cheating for three years,” Bellinger said. “I think what people don’t realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in ’17, everyone knows they stole a ring from us.”
Bellinger’s teammate, Justin Turner, ripped Manfred as “out of touch.”
Outside of baseball, NBA superstar LeBron James called for more action as well. James, who played for three championship teams himself, tweeted that he would be “F*^king irate” if someone cheated him out of a title.
“I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do!” he wrote, urging Manfred to “listen to the players” and take action.
“Literally the ball is in your court (or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports!” he wrote.
Fans and players have also been venting on Twitter: