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Monday, October 07, 2019

“You Can’t Trust Nobody’: Inside MLB’s War on High-Tech Sign Stealing

“The paranoia is off the charts,” Astros ace Justin Verlander says. “You saw that last year with us. People thought we were doing something. We were trying to make sure the Indians weren’t doing anything. That was just us being paranoid.”

Predictably, nobody in the game is willing to publicly finger those who were cheating or those whom they believe might be cheating. But given assurances of anonymity, several league sources indicate the Astros, Dodgers, Red Sox, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks have been especially adept with technological surveillance. One source mentions the Cubs and Washington Nationals dabble a bit “but not as much as others.” Another source says the Indians, while still another notes the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers once were suspected as well.

“Every team,” Jansen says. “You can’t trust nobody. You don’t know.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:53 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sign-stealing

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   1. bfan Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5887401)
All named teams are indeed guilty and as soon as the Braves are found to be engaged as well, their GM will be suspended and they will lose numerous international signings. I mean, the commissioner has to draw the line somewhere, right?

In the mean time, John Coppollela is still awaiting the Andrew Friedman suspension from the game of baseball by the commissioner, for engaging in behavior outside the lines in the realm of international signings.
   2. Brian C Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5887429)
This is a really good article, especially since the writer seems to understand that the situation he's describing is actually high comedy.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5887455)
With all the player movement, and retirements, you’d think teams would have a pretty good idea of what was going on, and that someone would provide a friendly reporter with the inside scoop, but the convention against naming names seems to still have some force.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:58 PM (#5887469)
but the convention against naming names seems to still have some force.

Well, sure. Do you know how hard it is to find a good Chinese place that delivers?
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5887477)
In the mean time, John Coppollela is still awaiting the Andrew Friedman suspension from the game of baseball by the commissioner, for engaging in behavior outside the lines in the realm of international signings.


If Friedman ever gets caught breaking the rules in the way that Coppollela did, to the extent that Coppollela did, I'm sure he'll receive the same treatment.
   6. The Duke Posted: October 07, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5887551)
I don’t know why this stuff isn’t treated harsher to number 1’s point. Just flame one of the teams with multiple losses of draft choices and tell everyone the second offender will get an even worse penalty. There’s nothing you can do except be harsh. Half-measures never work
   7. dejarouehg Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:42 PM (#5887636)
Using any technology to steal signs should be a death blow to the offending club. Draft picks, $10 million fine, multi-year suspension for manager and GM, forced sale of club for multiple offense. I know it's draconian but if you're going to steal signs, do it the right way.
   8. Brian C Posted: October 07, 2019 at 09:43 PM (#5887713)
I don’t know why this stuff isn’t treated harsher to number 1’s point. Just flame one of the teams with multiple losses of draft choices and tell everyone the second offender will get an even worse penalty. There’s nothing you can do except be harsh. Half-measures never work


Using any technology to steal signs should be a death blow to the offending club. Draft picks, $10 million fine, multi-year suspension for manager and GM, forced sale of club for multiple offense.

But ... why?

I mean, I get monitoring tech use for this kind of stuff but I also think that it's not that hard to get to the point where the effort to police it outweighs the actual benefits. Teams have been stealing signs since forever, and of course it's easier to do it these days (crotch cams!!!), but that doesn't really change the actual shape of the issue all that much. It's just a thing that players and coaches have to deal with, and that would still be true to almost as great an extent even if you successfully got rid of all the extraneous tech that teams are trying to use these days.
   9. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 08, 2019 at 07:06 AM (#5887812)
Teams have been stealing signs since forever, and of course it's easier to do it these days

I've never understood why sign-stealing is considered such a high crime in the first place. Is it just one of those things that the good guys are allowed to do, but the bad guys aren't?
   10. Karl from NY Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:14 PM (#5887999)
During games, clubhouse televisions are required to show the feed on a delay of a minimum of eight seconds.

Let's use one problem to solve another. Keep that in place, and if the pitcher farts around long enough to not have thrown the ball in those eight seconds, then the hitter can take advantage of however his team can get the signs to him.
   11. jmurph Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5888002)
I've never understood why sign-stealing is considered such a high crime in the first place.

It's not, and is in fact not against the rules.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5888016)
There’s always been a difference between what players & coaches can observe themselves from the field or dugout (allowed) and using non-team members & technology to report signs that couldn’t otherwise be observed (not allowed). There was never a time when you could legally put a guy in the centerfield stands with a telescope & semaphore flags, and using video is no different from that, even if it is more difficult to police.
   13. jmurph Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:53 PM (#5888021)
There was never a time when you could legally put a guy in the centerfield stands with a telescope & semaphore flags

As far as I can tell this was NOT against the rules until 2001.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:12 PM (#5888025)
Did anyone ever do that? Or anything like that? AFAIK, no one ever attempted to do anything like that, even in the most important games, except on the sly.
   15. jmurph Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5888027)
Presumably baseballs would have been hurled at various body parts.

But I've searched, multiple times in multiple different ways, and as far as I can tell it's A. still not addressed at all in the official MLB rulebook, but B. there was a memo sent out in 2001 addressing using electronic means (which for some reason includes binoculars) to steal and communicate signs.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:53 PM (#5888051)
Sign stealing by mechanical means was outlawed in 1961.

Sign stealing by the players/coaches has always been legal, though if you were suspected of doing it someone on the team was likely to get a fastball to the ribs.

Sign stealing by mechanical means has been viewed differently, though obviously teams attempted to do it both before and after the 1961 rule was put in place.
   17. jmurph Posted: October 09, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5888202)
Sign stealing by mechanical means was outlawed in 1961.

Thank you! Hadn't previously found that.

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