Don’t believe it? Just check out this World Series.
On the National League side, the fingerprints of John Coppolella are still all over the Braves roster. On the American League side, what is pretty much Jeff Luhnow’s team is back in the Fall Classic for the third time in five years.
What you won’t find at the 117th World Series, of course, are Coppolella and Luhnow, the former general managers of these clubs, who are now both disgraced and estranged from the game.
Coppolella has been permanently banned since November 2017 for being central to the Braves’ circumvention of MLB rules on signing international players. Luhnow did his time in 2020 for his role in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing operation, but has not returned to the game.
Luhnow did not return an inquiry on how he feels seeing so much of his team back in the World Series. Coppolella declined to comment when reached.
Luhnow was criticized for more than the sign stealing. In fact, the sign stealing fell into a larger context of the Luhnow administration that was laser focused on assets over humanity. There was a blinders-on lust for surplus value.
It provided a twist out of Greek tragedy, since it led to Luhnow’s professional demise, but kept the Astros a powerhouse even in his wake because they were so good at unearthing value. The same could be said of Coppolella, who seemed to be working in an over-caffeinated state at all times, a frenzy that also produced reams of talent.
The penalties against the Braves included having to release 12 prospects and significant limitations on their ability to sign international players for two years. Yet as one opposing executive nevertheless noted of Atlanta’s current GM, “[Alex Anthopoulos] walked into a loaded system with a good young, major league club entering a new stadium. He hit the jackpot.”
Anthopoulos has done excellent work in steering the Braves to four NL East titles in his four years in charge of baseball operations, including getting Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies signed to long-term, team-friendly deals that make financial maneuverability elsewhere easier. Anthopoulos did executive of the year-level work at this year’s deadline after his club lost Acuña to a torn right ACL, trading for Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler, who cumulatively helped elevate Atlanta above what had been the mediocrity of the NL East.
But Anthopoulos did inherit Acuña and Albies. Coppolella, who gained progressively more important roles with the Braves from the time he joined in the organization in 2006 until his ban, all but stole ace Max Fried and shortstop Dansby Swanson in trades. Among others, Ian Anderson, A.J. Minter and Austin Riley were drafted during a period in which Coppolella had substantial power and influence.
The Astros are even more a reflection of the Luhnow era than the Braves are of Coppolella’s reign. Once dominant in acquiring talent from Venezuela, in particular, the Astros’ international system had become fallow before Luhnow took over. They have survived this year despite the loss of Justin Verlander to Tommy John surgery, a downturn for Zack Greinke and the playoff loss of Lance McCullers Jr., all because of pitchers such as Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy and Framber Valdez.
Luhnow inherited Jose Altuve, but he put Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel around the second baseman in arguably the majors’ best infield.
Current GM James Click helped bolster his club by obtaining much-needed relievers Yimi Garcia, Kendall Graveman and Phil Maton with prospects who had been brought in during Luhnow’s time.
That is generally how the baseball world works. The last New York team to compete in the World Series, the 2015 Mets, were in many ways more Omar Minaya’s lasting memory than Sandy Alderson’s real-time production.
But there has never been a World Series like this 117th edition, in which major architects of the participants are not present, but instead infamous. Their bad deeds brought them baseball infamy and to the rogue’s gallery of the game.
Their good deeds?
Those will be competing against each other in the final games of the 2021 season.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)