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Poll: what do you think of the Astros’ punishment?

What do you think of the Astros’ punishment?  

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  1. 1. What do you think of the Astros’ punishment?


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  • Poll closed on 1/20/2020 at 20:32

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4 minutes ago, Aristotelian said:

I think you are just being contrarian. Good day to you, sir.

I love the name calling that goes on around here. 

I'm being realistic.  You can't after the fact punish a bunch of players that are protected by a strong union. 

MLB messed this up by not having strict, written guidelines in place.  They purposely omitted players from being punished.

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When Titles Are Tarnished by Cheating but Not Taken Away

A fairly short (by NY Times standards) think-piece on cheating in modern day sports.  Featuring, but not exclusive to, the current Astros scandal.

Quote

“If the goal was to uphold the honesty and sanctity of the game for a broader community, the ultimate penalty is to vacate the wins and the titles,” said Ann Skeet, a sports and leadership ethicist for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Santa Clara in California. “But there are some built-in conflicts — the commissioner works for the owners. They share revenue. Their fortunes are tied together.”

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/sports/astros-cheating-world-series.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

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19 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

I love the name calling that goes on around here. 

I'm being realistic.  You can't after the fact punish a bunch of players that are protected by a strong union. 

MLB messed this up by not having strict, written guidelines in place.  They purposely omitted players from being punished.

Also considering for what the Astros had setup to cheat the rules, the manager and GM should should have put a stop to this. Their lack of inaction in my mind condones the rule breaking. The coaches and team employees were a necessary part of the sign stealing system, it couldn't have happened without them. 

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The part of this no one (at least that I've seen) talks about is what is the impact of sign stealing?  Of course we have no real data whatsoever.  No double-blind studies of how Jose Altuve would hit with and without knowing what's coming.  We have no idea how often he got the signs.  We have some apples-to-pears data from home/road games, but home/road splits are going to be different anyway.  And the data is mixed; Altuve had a big home split last year, but an equally big away split in 2018.

It's like PEDs.  No really good data on anything, so the assumption is that it takes an average dude and turns him into an MVP.  But the reality is almost certainly much messier, much less clear cut.  Some people did it all the time, some rarely, some never.  The benefits were almost certainly all over the place from negative impacts from side effects to massive performance gains.  But we're just guessing.  Same thing with sign stealing.  Some will assume that this is worth 25 wins to the Astros, but we have no idea if it's even a significant thing.  For all we know it's like corking your bat; the benefits of that over legal bats are usually zero or worse

Sign stealing has been so prevalent over the years we've all heard the stories of batters who didn't want to know.  It messes with their approach and their heads if they're tipped off to what's probably coming.

In the end we can probably make the assumption that stealing signs helps the average batter somewhat.  But we have no idea of the actual impact.

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8 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

The part of this no one (at least that I've seen) talks about is what is the impact of sign stealing?  Of course we have no real data whatsoever.  No double-blind studies of how Jose Altuve would hit with and without knowing what's coming.  We have no idea how often he got the signs.  We have some apples-to-pears data from home/road games, but home/road splits are going to be different anyway.  And the data is mixed; Altuve had a big home split last year, but an equally big away split in 2018.

It's like PEDs.  No really good data on anything, so the assumption is that it takes an average dude and turns him into an MVP.  But the reality is almost certainly much messier, much less clear cut.  Some people did it all the time, some rarely, some never.  The benefits were almost certainly all over the place from negative impacts from side effects to massive performance gains.  But we're just guessing.  Same thing with sign stealing.  Some will assume that this is worth 25 wins to the Astros, but we have no idea if it's even a significant thing.  For all we know it's like corking your bat; the benefits of that over legal bats are usually zero or worse

Sign stealing has been so prevalent over the years we've all heard the stories of batters who didn't want to know.  It messes with their approach and their heads if they're tipped off to what's probably coming.

In the end we can probably make the assumption that stealing signs helps the average batter somewhat.  But we have no idea of the actual impact.

I've heard it said on MLB radio that the Astros swung at far fewer breaking balls at home than they did on the road in the 2017 playoffs. No idea if that led to better outcomes, but, if true it certainly changed their at bats.

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Just now, DrungoHazewood said:

The part of this no one (at least that I've seen) talks about is what is the impact of sign stealing?  Of course we have no real data whatsoever.  No double-blind studies of how Jose Altuve would hit with and without knowing what's coming.  We have no idea how often he got the signs.  We have some apples-to-pears data from home/road games, but home/road splits are going to be different anyway.  And the data is mixed; Altuve had a big home split last year, but an equally big away split in 2018.

It's like PEDs.  No really good data on anything, so the assumption is that it takes an average dude and turns him into an MVP.  But the reality is almost certainly much messier, much less clear cut.  Some people did it all the time, some rarely, some never.  The benefits were almost certainly all over the place from negative impacts from side effects to massive performance gains.  But we're just guessing.  Same thing with sign stealing.  Some will assume that this is worth 25 wins to the Astros, but we have no idea if it's even a significant thing.  For all we know it's like corking your bat; the benefits of that over legal bats are usually zero or worse

Sign stealing has been so prevalent over the years we've all heard the stories of batters who didn't want to know.  It messes with their approach and their heads if they're tipped off to what's probably coming.

In the end we can probably make the assumption that stealing signs helps the average batter somewhat.  But we have no idea of the actual impact.

There was a great discussion of this on Wall to Wall Baseball.   Jim Duquette pointed out that the Astros went from having the 4th-highest strikeouts total in MLB in 2016 to having the fewest in MLB in 2017 — a drop from 1452 to 1087.    There was a fairly high home/road split of 502/587.    Duquette said the Astros’ home “chase rate” was otherworldly good.   He said the biggest advantage is that if a player knows a breaking ball is coming, he can look for a pitch up in the strike zone because any pitch low in the zone is going to break out of the zone.    (Adam Jones sure could have used this!) 

Saying that, the Astros actually had a higher OPS on the road in 2017.

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2 hours ago, DrungoHazewood said:

The part of this no one (at least that I've seen) talks about is what is the impact of sign stealing?  Of course we have no real data whatsoever.  No double-blind studies of how Jose Altuve would hit with and without knowing what's coming.  We have no idea how often he got the signs.  We have some apples-to-pears data from home/road games, but home/road splits are going to be different anyway.  And the data is mixed; Altuve had a big home split last year, but an equally big away split in 2018.

It's like PEDs.  No really good data on anything, so the assumption is that it takes an average dude and turns him into an MVP.  But the reality is almost certainly much messier, much less clear cut.  Some people did it all the time, some rarely, some never.  The benefits were almost certainly all over the place from negative impacts from side effects to massive performance gains.  But we're just guessing.  Same thing with sign stealing.  Some will assume that this is worth 25 wins to the Astros, but we have no idea if it's even a significant thing.  For all we know it's like corking your bat; the benefits of that over legal bats are usually zero or worse

Sign stealing has been so prevalent over the years we've all heard the stories of batters who didn't want to know.  It messes with their approach and their heads if they're tipped off to what's probably coming.

In the end we can probably make the assumption that stealing signs helps the average batter somewhat.  But we have no idea of the actual impact.

The actual effect does not matter to me. The integrity of the game is compromised, and MLB can't have that.

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2 hours ago, DrungoHazewood said:

The part of this no one (at least that I've seen) talks about is what is the impact of sign stealing?  Of course we have no real data whatsoever.  No double-blind studies of how Jose Altuve would hit with and without knowing what's coming.  We have no idea how often he got the signs.  We have some apples-to-pears data from home/road games, but home/road splits are going to be different anyway.  And the data is mixed; Altuve had a big home split last year, but an equally big away split in 2018.

It's like PEDs.  No really good data on anything, so the assumption is that it takes an average dude and turns him into an MVP.  But the reality is almost certainly much messier, much less clear cut.  Some people did it all the time, some rarely, some never.  The benefits were almost certainly all over the place from negative impacts from side effects to massive performance gains.  But we're just guessing.  Same thing with sign stealing.  Some will assume that this is worth 25 wins to the Astros, but we have no idea if it's even a significant thing.  For all we know it's like corking your bat; the benefits of that over legal bats are usually zero or worse

Sign stealing has been so prevalent over the years we've all heard the stories of batters who didn't want to know.  It messes with their approach and their heads if they're tipped off to what's probably coming.

In the end we can probably make the assumption that stealing signs helps the average batter somewhat.  But we have no idea of the actual impact.

...but we do know that is definitely an impact. Every batter has two things to overcome with each at bat. 

1) Determining what pitch is going to be throw to him.

2) Executing his swing. 

If he only has to focus on no. 2 then I think it's reasonable to assume the odds of him succeeding will be significantly higher. 

As for PEDs, again maybe there's no hard proof, but they definitely increase muscle mass (i.e., allow you hit more HRs) and significantly reduce recovery time. I'd argue the latter has probably had a bigger impact on the game because of what we've seen with players like Clemens and Bonds who have had remarkable seasons even in the tail end of their careers. 

This is an older article on PEDs, but I always found it to be particularly insightful. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-rod-steroids-better-athlete/

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On 1/18/2020 at 9:12 AM, bobmc said:

600_1504840438.jpg

 

As an aside, it looks like he's trying to improve his "circle change".  

 

More like a cutter or curve ball, to me. A circle change would be supported more by his middle, ring and pinky fingers. :)

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7 hours ago, Aristotelian said:

The actual effect does not matter to me. The integrity of the game is compromised, and MLB can't have that.

I get that.  It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that integrity is the foundation of everything for a decent person. If you're taking money to throw games, or even betting on your team to win I'm fully on board with harsh punishment.  You have to be trying to win, or the whole thing comes crumbing down.  Baseball turns into boxing, where everyone kind of assumes some of the matches are thrown and there's a stench over the whole sport.

But... scuff a ball, spit on a ball, you get a week or two off, everyone laughs about it.  Pretty much the same thing for doctoring a bat.  Nobody has ever really cared, and the punishment has never been more than a slap on the wrist.

Steal a sign standing at second base, or with some binoculars from the bullpen and nobody thinks much of it.  You might get a fastball under your chin, maybe not.  Certainly no suspension or fine.  Nobody has ever had the book thrown at them for stealing signs by any method before now.

Ohhh but if you use a camera and a TV in the tunnel and a trash can, that's the end of the world.  I'm having a hard time mustering real outrage here.

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7 hours ago, wildbillhiccup said:

...but we do know that is definitely an impact. Every batter has two things to overcome with each at bat. 

1) Determining what pitch is going to be throw to him.

2) Executing his swing. 

If he only has to focus on no. 2 then I think it's reasonable to assume the odds of him succeeding will be significantly higher. 

As for PEDs, again maybe there's no hard proof, but they definitely increase muscle mass (i.e., allow you hit more HRs) and significantly reduce recovery time. I'd argue the latter has probably had a bigger impact on the game because of what we've seen with players like Clemens and Bonds who have had remarkable seasons even in the tail end of their careers. 

This is an older article on PEDs, but I always found it to be particularly insightful. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-rod-steroids-better-athlete/

But we just don't know the actual impact.  There's a large difference from a reasonable assumption that there's usually some benefit, and the wild assumptions of everyone involved getting massive benefits.

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6 hours ago, LookinUp said:

More like a cutter or curve ball, to me. A circle change would be supported more by his middle, ring and pinky fingers. :)

I think it's a spitter.  Isn't it strange that the commish is throwing out an obviously used ball?  When I threw out the first pitch at the Blue Crabs game on my 40th birthday they at least gave me a new ball!

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I think it's a spitter.  Isn't it strange that the commish is throwing out an obviously used ball?  When I threw out the first pitch at the Blue Crabs game on my 40th birthday they at least gave me a new ball!

Did you toss it 60' 6"?  btw - they used that very ball for nine innings!  

I'm just imagining the effect on the OAA - sheesh!

And the white tie and raised collar on Kennie!  Impressive!  😎. Style points!

I had another ironic thought about sign stealing, in general.  It is an "accepted practice" in that both teams are always actively trying to steal the other team's signals.  But if an offender is "caught relaying signs to his teammate", he is subject to being thrown at.  Both teams do it, but both teams throw at the offender because it's "against the unwritten rules" which they are both breaking.  wtf????

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I get that.  It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that integrity is the foundation of everything for a decent person. If you're taking money to throw games, or even betting on your team to win I'm fully on board with harsh punishment.  You have to be trying to win, or the whole thing comes crumbing down.  Baseball turns into boxing, where everyone kind of assumes some of the matches are thrown and there's a stench over the whole sport.

But... scuff a ball, spit on a ball, you get a week or two off, everyone laughs about it.  Pretty much the same thing for doctoring a bat.  Nobody has ever really cared, and the punishment has never been more than a slap on the wrist.

Steal a sign standing at second base, or with some binoculars from the bullpen and nobody thinks much of it.  You might get a fastball under your chin, maybe not.  Certainly no suspension or fine.  Nobody has ever had the book thrown at them for stealing signs by any method before now.

Ohhh but if you use a camera and a TV in the tunnel and a trash can, that's the end of the world.  I'm having a hard time mustering real outrage here.

There are two differences. One, there was an MLB directive specifically prohibiting the use of electronic equipment. There is no actual rule against stealing signs with the naked eye, it is just an "unwritten rule". Two, it was apparently limited to two teams that went to such length, not a case of "everybody is doing it." It so happens that the two implicated teams won the World Series so it is a very bad look.

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(I agree that without a written list of punishments for players, there is probably nothing more they can do beyond the actions they have taken against the teams.)

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