MLB Scandal–Stealing Signs

I’m assuming you guys have been following this story much more than I have. My vague understanding is that the Astros were filming opponents and figuring out the signals, and then possibly using a buzzer type of device that hitters would have on their body to tell them what pitches to expect. Is this accurate?

Off the top of my head, I’m OK with players (at second base) trying to steal signals from the catcher and then trying to alert the batter. My rationale is that it requires skill to detect this and convey the info. Additionally, it requires skill of the catcher to make sure their not tipping the pitches. It’s similar to pitchers being aware of things their doing to tip their pitches. It also seems similar to football defensive players reading body language, etc. to figure out a play before it happens.

But the buzzer and the video seem to cross a line–particularly the former. What do you guys think?

10 thoughts on “MLB Scandal–Stealing Signs

  1. The buzzer isn’t part of the official accusation; it’s sorta come out after the official disciplines handed down by MLB. The Astros were communicating from the dugout, banging a bat on a trash can if the pitch was a breaking ball. The evidence is in the video, where you can actually hear the banging, and it’s why nobody on the team can claim ignorance.

    There isn’t an accusation that the Astros did it in the 2019 World Series, but that’s where the buzzer comes in. People think certain Astros were wearing buzzers in the 2019 post season.

    There’s a bit of evidence

  2. The Astros were communicating from the dugout, banging a bat on a trash can if the pitch was a breaking ball.

    I don’t know if I’m crazy, but this seems just a tad better than using buzzers–and I can’t really explain why. Then again, whatever difference I may think exist may be negligible.

    But the idea that someone in the organization is analyzing this and then relaying it to the better is problematic–or less problematic than the guy on second relaying the pitch to the hitter. Maybe doing this gives the defensive team a chance to known their tipping their pitches?

    1. Whether they were using personal buzzers or banging on a trash can, they were still using the home stadium’s camera technology to study pitchers and steal signs. The banging on the trash can bit may seem less offensive, but it doesn’t erase the new-school technology aspect of it versus the old-school sign-stealing with a runner on second.

      Side note: the traditional system for the runner on second communicating with the batter (this is old knowledge; I don’t know if things have changed in the last 20 years) was for the runner on second to bend over as if to tie his shoelaces if the pitch was a breaking ball. Attentive defenses would know signs were being stolen just the way they would with banging on a trash can.

    2. Attentive defenses would know signs were being stolen just the way they would with banging on a trash can.

      Yeah, and the fact that the defensive team has a chance to detect this, makes the stealing kinda OK in my mind. It’s like the way QBs will audible. Defensive players can try to figure out the plays. If a defensive player is great at this, the QB and OC can try to counter. It’s kinda cool in a way.

      But when you get footage and buzzers, there’s no chance for the opponent to really counter that.

  3. I think the issue is that when a player is on second, the catcher and pitcher will adjust the signs, but when no one is on second, the catcher only flashes the “real” sign not thinking someone can steal the sign. But as Mitchell stated, they were using the stadium cameras.

    Did you guys hear the banging of the trash can? It was comical because it was so obvious, but I guess if you weren’t listening for it, you might not know. However, I think it was Nathan Eovaldi (maybe Mitchell knows), but I thought I heard that he stopped the game and yells, “I can hear the banging.”. That’s pretty funny, too.

    1. I think the issue is that when a player is on second, the catcher and pitcher will adjust the signs, but when no one is on second, the catcher only flashes the “real” sign not thinking someone can steal the sign.

      Yeah, that makes a big difference–makes the cheating way worse. But it’s still pretty bad if someone is analyzing video to figure out the sign. Again, if the runner at second is stealing the signs and signaling the batter that seems acceptable because that player needs the skill and knowledge to do that. And the catcher and pitcher have a chance to figure out that their signs are being stolen and adjust accordingly.

      …but I thought I heard that he stopped the game and yells, “I can hear the banging.”. That’s pretty funny, too.

      I didn’t watch the video, but this make me want to–this is pretty funny.

  4. Great article about the cheating scandal in today’s Washington Post, by Dave Sheinan and Barry Svrluga (two of the best).

    Into this arena stepped the Nationals, appearing in the World Series for the first time in October. They entered the series as underdogs to 107-win Houston. But they came armed with two advantages: time to prepare, by virtue of their sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series; and an entire sport that had a vested interest in having anyone but the Astros win the championship.

    As one member of the Nationals put it, “It was amazing, once [it was assured] we were playing the Astros, how many people were coming out of the woodwork to let us know what they were doing.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/mlb/astros-cheating-open-secret/2020/02/11/1830154c-4c41-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html

  5. Did you guys hear the press conference with the Astros owner? I only heard clips, but they were not good. I don’t want to say they pissed me off, but they kinda did.

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