Astros caught using technology to steal signs

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Astros caught using technology to steal signs

Courtesy of Houston Astros

Courtesy of Houston Astros

Courtesy of Houston Astros

Mitch Hoy, West Hills Editor

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The Houston Astros have turned the world of baseball upside down.

In what may be considered the biggest scandal in Major League Baseball since the Black Sox Scandal in 1919, allegations of stealing signs in the 2017 season—ultimately leading to a Houston World Series victory—could reap some of the harshest punishments ever seen in professional sports.  The allegations were made by a number of different players and teams around the league, though none stuck until one of Houston’s own former pitchers, Mike Fiers, provided a detailed account of the alleged misconduct.

The allegation described the Astros’ abuse of technology, using a camera feed to steal the signs of an opposing team’s catcher. The signs would then be quickly relayed to Houston batters by banging on a trash can, indicating what pitch they would be seeing.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that a thorough investigation will take place, and while no timeline has been provided for its completion, Manfred was quoted saying, “I certainly would hope that we would be done before we start playing baseball again.” Manfred made clear that he believes the scandal only involves the Houston Astros. “Right now, we are focused on the information that we have with respect to the Astros.”

It is unknown what specific punishment this scandal will warrant, but it will surely serve as a benchmark for Manfred’s future disciplinary philosophy on the new issue of utilizing technology to cheat. “Any allegations that relate to a rule violation that could affect the outcome of a game or games is the most serious matter,” the commissioner stated.

It has been speculated that punishment severity could vary anywhere from the standard fine and loss of draft picks, to unprecedented levels like that of stripping the 2017 World Series title away. While either could be a realistic penalty, Commissioner Manfred refused to hint at what may be to come. “I’m not going to speculate on what the appropriate discipline is. That depends on how the facts are established at the end of the investigation.”

The 2020 MLB Season will commence on March 26, 2020.