Following a report by The Athletic, the Houston Astros have been embroiled in controversy. The MLB team has been accused of using cameras to steal opponents' signs during the 2017 season, the year that ended with them winning the World Series. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has now weighed in on these accusations and has said that he believes the Astros are the only team to be involved in this scandal.
Speaking on Tuesday at the owner's meetings, Manfred said that he believed this scandal is currently limited to Houston. He currently has no reason to believe that other teams are involved at this point in time. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, there is a very thorough investigation taking place, which would result in very serious repercussions.
“Any allegations that relate to a rule violation that could affect the outcome of a game or games is the most serious matter," Manfred said when asked about the gravity of these allegations. "We have ... what is going to be a really, really thorough investigation ongoing."
In the report by The Athletic, former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers alleged that the team set up a camera in center field to capture the signs from the opposing catcher. This camera sent the footage to a monitor inside the Astros' dugout.
Once the team 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 sound would normally mean a breaking ball or off-speed pitch.
"Right now, we are focused on the information that we have with respect to the Astros," Manfred said. "I'm not going to speculate on whether other people are going to be involved. We'll deal with that if it happens, but I'm not going to speculate about that. I have no reason to believe it extends beyond the Astros at this point in time."
Part of the investigation by MLB will be contacting Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran. At the time of the alleged sign-stealing, Cora was Houston's bench coach. Beltran was a designated hitter and outfielder.
MLB will also strive to determine if the Astros took part in any sign-stealing during the 2019 season. If so, there could be additional punishment from the league and Manfred. Although the commissioner didn't specify the scope of the potential repercussions.
"The general warning I issued to the clubs I stand by," Manfred said. "It certainly could be all of those things, but my authority under the major league constitution would be broader than those things as well.”
At this point, Manfred has no timeline for this investigation and its conclusion. However, he does hope that it will be complete prior to next season.
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