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Astros Stealing Signs in 2017

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“It’s an issue that permeates through the whole league,” one major league manager said. “The league has done a very poor job of policing or discouraging it.”

Electronic sign stealing is not a single-team issue. Major League Baseball rules prohibit clubs from using electronic equipment to steal catchers’ signs and convey information. Still, the commissioner’s office hears complaints about many different organizations — everything from mysterious people in white shirts sending signals from center field to elaborate systems involving television cameras and tablets. But MLB has not punished any club, at least publicly, for violating sign-stealing rules since 2017, when the Red Sox were disciplined.

There was more going on that year.

Four people who were with the Astros in 2017, including pitcher Mike Fiers, said that during that season, the Astros stole signs during home games in real time with the aid of a camera positioned in the outfield.

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“Beginning in the 2017 season, numerous Clubs expressed general concerns that other Clubs were stealing their signs,” MLB said in a statement. “As a result of those concerns, and after receiving extensive input from the General Managers, we issued a revised policy on sign stealing prior to the 2019 season. We also put in place detailed protocols and procedures to provide comfort to Clubs that other Clubs were not using video during the game to decode and steal signs. After we review this new information we will determine any necessary next steps.”

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“That’s not playing the game the right way,” said Fiers, who was with the team from 2015-17 and was non-tendered in the offseason after the Astros won the 2017 World Series. “They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win.”

Three other sources who were inside the organization in 2017 and had direct knowledge of the scheme discussed its existence on the condition of anonymity.

The Astros’ set-up required technical video knowledge and required the direct aid of at least some on the baseball operations staff, team sources said.

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The Astros’ set-up in 2017 was not overly complicated. A feed from a camera in center field, fixed on the opposing catcher’s signs, was hooked up to a television monitor that was placed on a wall steps from the team’s home dugout at Minute Maid Park, in the tunnel that runs between the dugout and the clubhouse. Team employees and players would watch the screen during the game and try to decode signs — sitting opposite the screen on massage tables in a wide hallway.

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When the onlookers believed they had decoded the signs, the expected pitch would be communicated via a loud noise — specifically, banging on a trash can, which sat in the tunnel. Normally, the bangs would mean a breaking ball or off-speed pitch was coming.

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Some with Houston believed the effort to steal signs was, essentially, an act of self-defense. One Astros person called the electronic sign-stealing behavior in the sport “pervasive,” and was surprised that more information had not come out sooner. 

 

 

 

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All the teams cheat whenever they think they can get away with it right?

Also, not sure that was a great decision by Fiers, it isn't as if he wasn't being helped by the illicit activities and yet he comes clean now.

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The Blue Jays have been doing stuff like this for a decade, so no surprise here. MLB should use analytics to look closely at which teams year in year out exceed their expected offensive output in home games, and then dig deeper if the numbers are suspicious. If they prove a team did cheat then they need to come down hard on them. Taking away draft picks should do the trick. 

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11 minutes ago, ShoelesJoe said:

The Blue Jays have been doing stuff like this for a decade, so no surprise here. MLB should use analytics to look closely at which teams year in year out exceed their expected offensive output in home games, and then dig deeper if the numbers are suspicious. If they prove a team did cheat then they need to come down hard on them. Taking away draft picks should do the trick. 

Sure, they get caught, hit them hard.

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3 hours ago, Can_of_corn said:

All the teams cheat whenever they think they can get away with it right?

Also, not sure that was a great decision by Fiers, it isn't as if he wasn't being helped by the illicit activities and yet he comes clean now.

Yeah, it's curious he waited until now. Also all teams are trying to gain an edge, this is far more common than we think. 

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1 hour ago, Can_of_corn said:

Where is the value in tying our GM to that incident?

If Elias was involved - and he was the assistant general manager during the period in question - he should be held accountable. Being on the O's payroll doesn't get him a pass.

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18 minutes ago, theocean said:

If Elias was involved - and he was the assistant general manager during the period in question - he should be held accountable. Being on the O's payroll doesn't get him a pass.

I’ll play along. 

He knew full well it was going on. Was he suppose to stop it? Obviously Hinch knew it was going on. Was Mike suppose to tell them to stop doing it? What about Alex Cora, he knew it was going on. Does he get punished now as manager of the Red Sox?

Ultimately the team itself will get punished and the ones who orchestrated it will get the most punishment on an individual basis. 

I would also be careful here thinking this is some sort of an isolated issue in Houston. My guess is it’s everywhere. 

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46 minutes ago, theocean said:

If Elias was involved - and he was the assistant general manager during the period in question - he should be held accountable. Being on the O's payroll doesn't get him a pass.

Oh please. You don't know where that directive came from, if he was involved. Also, the crime wasn't stealing signs, which every single team does, it was getting caught. 

That said, the Astros are sheisty as hell. 

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26 minutes ago, eddie83 said:

I’ll play along. 

He knew full well it was going on. Was he suppose to stop it? Obviously Hinch knew it was going on. Was Mike suppose to tell them to stop doing it? What about Alex Cora, he knew it was going on. Does he get punished now as manager of the Red Sox?

Ultimately the team itself will get punished and the ones who orchestrated it will get the most punishment on an individual basis. 

I would also be careful here thinking this is some sort of an isolated issue in Houston. My guess is it’s everywhere. 

The Blue Jays have been doing it for years. 

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38 minutes ago, Going Underground said:

The Red Spx also got caught using Apple Watches The Astros have bern getting some bad press lately. 

It's not like those Savages fight fair either. 

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2 hours ago, weams said:

The Blue Jays have been doing it for years. 

I don’t recall if I mentioned it on here or not but years ago I noticed something when the Orioles played up in Toronto. Wieters was giving a second set of signals, I think it was Bud Norris pitching.  The thing was there was nobody on base. 

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3 minutes ago, eddie83 said:

I don’t recall if I mentioned it on here or not but years ago I noticed something when the Orioles played up in Toronto. Wieters was giving a second set of signals, I think it was Bud Norris pitching.  The thing was there was nobody on base. 

There was a video room in the hotel.

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