The Houston Astros are being accused of electronically stealing signs from their opponents during the 2017 season and into the postseason. Per a report by The Athletic, four sources revealed that the club had stolen signs during home games with the use of an outfield camera. Former pitcher Mike Fiers is one of the sources, and he also informed the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers of this prior to their games against the Astros.
"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. "I had to let my team know so that we were prepared when we went to go play them at Minute Maid."
As the sources explained, a camera set up in the center field was hooked up to a television monitor in the team's home dugout at Minute Maid Park. Once the Astros determined exactly what each signal meant, they would transmit that information to the batters. Banging on a trash can was the primary source of information mentioned in the report. The bangs would normally mean a breaking ball or off-speed pitch.
“Regarding the story posted by The Athletic earlier today, the Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball. It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time.”
Two of the sources that talked to The Athletic said that the Astros used this strategy during the postseason while another refuted the claims. Houston ultimately won the World Series after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to the report, former White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar remembered hearing a loud banging noise coming from the dugout at Minute Maid Park in September 2017. However, he said that the noise ceased when he and the catcher switched up their signals.
MLB said in a statement to The Athletic that multiple clubs reported concerns in 2017 over multiple teams stealing signs from their opponents. The Astros were not the only team allegedly stealing signs. MLB also fined the Boston Red Sox for allegedly stealing signs with Apple Watches.0comments
"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," Major League Baseball said in the statement. "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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