By Rory Carroll
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Basketball great Kobe Bryant on Wednesday said the Los Angeles Dodgers need to turn the page after Major League Baseball confirmed this week that the Houston Astros cheated during the 2017 season when they beat the Dodgers in the World Series.
The former Los Angeles Lakers guard, who regularly attends Dodgers games, said nothing good can come of wondering what might have been if the Astros hadn’t relied on stealing pitching signs to give their batters an unfair advantage.
“As a competitive person, the thing that I do is look forward,” Bryant told Reuters at a Major League Soccer event announcing a partnership between MLS and sports drink company BodyArmor, which Bryant has invested $6 million in.
“You can’t change things that were, you can’t change the outcome,” he said.
“What you can do is control what you can control, which is your performance, how well you hit the ball, how well you pitch the ball, how well you defend.
“I think it’s important to focus on that and try to bring a World Series back to Los Angeles.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred fined the Astros the maximum penalty of $5 million on Monday and took away future draft picks but stopped short of removing Houston’s title.
Astros owner Jim Crane fired Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow after the report was released but Dodgers fans, who last celebrated a world championship in 1988, said the penalty did not live up to the crime.
Bryant, the five-times NBA champion who played 20 seasons with the Lakers, said he understood the anger of Dodgers fans but urged the team to move forward.
“You’ve got to look ahead and focus on the upcoming season,” he said. “Focus on trying to get a championship back here because if you don’t, it’s just going to divert energy away from trying to accomplish that goal.
“If something from the past is weighing you down so much, it deters the energy of moving forward and accomplishing that ultimate goal.”
(Additional reporting by Phil O’Connor in Los Angeles, editing by Ed Osmond)