Source - Major League Baseball rules do not allow teams to use electronic technology to steal signs from the catcher and then relay what pitch is coming to the hitter. But there is an ongoing issue in the league with teams stealing signs electronically, according to a report from The Athletic on Tuesday.
While this issue stretches beyond any one team, the Astros are the club most implicated in the report. Many examples in the story come from 2017, when they won the World Series. Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers spoke on the record about Houston's sign-stealing system at Minute Maid Park, which included a TV monitor with a feed from a center field camera near the dugout steps. Astros players would try to decode their opponents' signs and then alert hitters if an off-speed pitch was coming by banging on a dugout trash can, per the report.
Fiers, who pitched for the Astros from 2015-17, said his former team was "advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win." Here's more:
"That's not playing the game the right way," said Fiers. [...]
"I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they're going in there not knowing," Fiers said. "Young guys getting hit around in the first couple of innings starting a game, and then they get sent down. It's (B.S.) on that end. It's ruining jobs for younger guys. The guys who know are more prepared. But most people don't. That's why I told my team. We had a lot of young guys with Detroit (in 2018) trying to make a name and establish themselves. I wanted to help them out and say, 'Hey, this stuff really does go on. Just be prepared.'"
Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod! A team used a camera to steal opponents' signs?!?!?
It's a disaster! It's a scandal! It's anarchy! What are we gonna do? The game has no integrity! Our country has been dishonored! The grand National Pastime has been descrated! Life has no meaning! Religion is a superstition! God is dead! Won't somebody please think of the children?!?!?
Honestly, I don't know how our society can come back from this. The American League representative in the last World Series. The champions just two short years ago. And now we know the how the Astros won 101 games and a World Series in 2017 without a 100-RBI guy or even a 15-game winner. And how last year's Astros won 107 games and a pennant. And why guys like Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole put up such big numbers.
By cheating. By being the cheatingest cheaters to ever cheat. It all makes sense now.
And so, this calls for drastic action. Something must be done and done immediately. And don't give me that "other team's do it too" crap because that dog won't hunt.
First of all, we need to see those tapes. Release all of them Mr. Commissioner, and do it right away. The public has a right to them. Next, we need Senate hearings. I'm thinking maybe the Arlen Specter (R-PA and Hell) equivalent of California can run point on those, since the Dodgers were victimized back in '17. Next, we demand that AJ Hinch be suspended for a least a year, if not outright banned for life. As soon as he takes out his checkbook and ponies up $500,000 of his own money. And draft picks? Puh-leeze. We shouldn't give Houston another draft pick ever again.
And while we're at it, we need lawsuits from season ticket holders who feel cheated because they were paying for a product that was not on the level. And I'd like for the foreseeable future that any player who faced Houston keep talking about how they "stole a ring from me" with all their cheaty videotaping.
Lastly, I want asterisks. Lots and lots of asterisks. I want to fling them at the Astros like Ninja stars. On their title. Their AL pennants. And every individual award an of them have ever won. None of it counts now, because they used cameras to steal signs. And only in this way can our wounded nation heal from this tragedy. And I'll do my share by reporting that I know a guy who has a tape the Astros took of the Dodgers batting practice prior to Game 1 of the 2017 World Series. I can always retract the report a few months from now and apologize. But by then the damage will be permanent.
I know this much: A few years back the St. Louis Cardinals got caught by the FBI hacking into the proprietary information of other teams' scouting departments. The FB freaking I. And Lord knows we've never heard the end of that. I'm sure this will be exactly the same thing. Because one's thing for sure. All teams who get accused of cheating get treated equal.