BOSTON (CBS) — Though it’s difficult to remember these days, it wasn’t all that long ago that a massive cheating scandal rocked baseball. While the main culprits in that scandal were the 2017 World Series-champion Houston Astros, the 2018 champs were also reported to have engaged in some sign-stealing chicanery themselves.

The Red Sox were readying themselves to learn their punishment last month, until the coronavirus pandemic shifted the country’s — and MLB’s — prioririties.

As a result, the official MLB report from commissioner Rob Manfred has yet to see the light of the day. In the meantime, 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce has issued an adamant defense of the legitimacy of the Red Sox’ world title.

“No. That’s such a joke to us,” Pearce told WEEI. “When it came out we were all kind of joking about it. We just want this to pass us. We won it fair and square. Whatever they accused us of, we were all kind of like, ‘I can’t believe this is even an issue.’ Once the report comes out we’re all going to be free.”

For background, The Athletic reported in January that the 2018 Red Sox used their video room to try to decode opponent’s sign sequences during the regular season. Manfred prioritized the more-serious allegations against the Astros before getting to handling the Red Sox. Reports said that the punishment for the Red Sox was expected to be much lighter than the punishment issued to the Astros, which involved year-long suspensions for the manager and general manager, plus a $5 million fine and a loss of four draft picks to the organization.

“You don’t like it, especially that we were the champions and individually I have that [MVP] award,” Pearce told Bradford. “And we have this floating over our head when we just had such an unbelievable season. We had the perfect team and great camaraderie with everybody and then this gets thrown out here. We’re just like, ‘What the heck?’ … We just want this to pass us. We just want to play some baseball. Another bump in the road, I guess.”

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