The Los Angeles Dodgers have reached the doorstep of a championship and watched an opponent celebrate a title at Dodger Stadium twice in the past three seasons. Several players in their clubhouse know firsthand how difficult it is to win a World Series.
So when Justin Turner saw Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's comments Sunday in which he defended his investigation into the Houston Astros' illegal sign-stealing scheme and referred to the World Series trophy as a "piece of metal," rage boiled.
"I don't know if the commissioner has ever won anything in his life," Turner said Monday. "Maybe he hasn't. But the reason every guy's in this room, the reason every guy is working out all offseason, and showing up to camp early and putting in all the time and effort is specifically for that trophy, which, by the way, is called the Commissioner's Trophy.
"So for him to devalue it the way he did yesterday just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game. At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says 'Commissioner' on it."
The controversy that has built since the sign stealing was revealed in November has only grown since players reported to spring training. The outrage reached another level with Manfred's comments Sunday. Justice, Turner believes, would be forcing the Astros to vacate the title. The rings should be confiscated, the banner at Minute Maid Park should be removed, and the trophy should be returned. To Turner, it isn't just a piece of metal.
"Sorry," Turner said, "a World Series championship is earned."
Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels' three-time AL MVP, also questioned the discipline handed out by Major League Baseball before working out in Tempe, Ariz.
"It's sad for baseball," he said. "It's tough. They cheated. I don't agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. Guys' careers have been affected. A lot of people lost jobs. It was tough.
"Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming? It would be fun up there. A lot of guys lost respect for some of the guys."
Trout said a few members of the Astros reached out to him during the offseason to explain their side, but Trout didn't sound impressed.
"You don't know what helped them or whatnot," he said. "But if you know what's coming, it's going to definitely help them. I don't know if you take the trophy away or take the rings away, but they should definitely do something."
The Astros face their own challenges. These are the new sounds of spring in West Palm Beach, Fla.: a fan banging on a trash can, another calling Jose Altuve a cheater.
The two-time AL champions say they are focused on ignoring the noise, and hope the official start of spring training can signal a step forward for their scandal-ridden team.
"I understand the severity of the situation, I truly do," outfielder George Springer said. "But I think ... the best thing for our game to try to do and especially for us is to try to put this behind us, however that's possible."
Altuve, considered one of baseball's most popular players before the scandal was revealed, quickly discovered the new norm. As he walked past a group of fans Monday, a man yelled out, "Cheater!" During batting practice another man banged a trash can, the method by which the Astros communicated to batters after stealing signs.
Cespedes stays quiet
Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was approached by reporters at his locker on Monday and declined to speak about his offseason. Or anything except that he wasn't going to speak.
"Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year," he said.
"Because I don't want to," he responded.
When a reporter asked if Cespedes thinks he has an obligation to talk to his fans, he softened up, somewhat.
"Yeah, I'll talk to my fans," he said.