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Friday, November 15, 2019

Baseball has got to show the game’s not rigged

The chief concern here is not whether some teams illegally steal signs. They do.

Or whether some owners annually present a grossly inferior product. They do.

Whether today’s baseball — the actual baseball, the one they throw and hit and catch — is the same as yesterday’s. That will be determined today.

Or if there are players who scheme to beat drug testing. There are.

Charles Van Doren would have had some pointers, but, sadly, it’s around seven months too late for them to ask….

 

QLE Posted: November 15, 2019 at 12:10 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: the sky is falling

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 08:15 AM (#5901330)
This seems like a really big deal and it also seems like it will be easy to unearth the facts if the mlb threatens people with long suspensions for lying. The video evidence from 2017 is already pretty convincing, and there are a number of people saying the cheating went beyond home games.

Maybe these Astros players aren’t as good as we think - anyone could hit better if they knew what pitch was coming. And what are we to make of the complete turnarounds of Verlander and Cole and the high spin rates they have achieved - is there something else going on there?
   2. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 08:42 AM (#5901339)
Gausmann taking the union approach to this issue:

“This Astros thing is bad!!!” the veteran Kevin Gausman, who pitched for Atlanta and Cincinnati last season, wrote Thursday on Twitter. “Guys lost jobs, got sent down, missed service time bc of how they were hit in HOU. Does anyone really think they only did this in 17?”
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 15, 2019 at 08:51 AM (#5901342)
anyone could hit better if they knew what pitch was coming.
The thing is, though: As discussed on the most recent Effectively Wild, the 2017 Astros hit better on the road by literally every measure. Of course they might have been stealing signs somehow on the road too, but...
   4. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5901356)
It’s unclear which players were taking advantage of it and which weren’t. So you would need to know who was using the system and who was not. But here is some data

https://www.google.com/amp/s/brobible.com/sports/article/astros-home-road-batting-splits-2017-postseason/amp/
   5. bunyon Posted: November 15, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5901360)
And what are we to make of the complete turnarounds of Verlander and Cole and the high spin rates they have achieved - is there something else going on there?

I've seen this in several places but I'm not sure I see the connection. There is evidence for the video cheating and it's obvious how they would do it.

How are they increasing spin? Is the idea that they're using a foreign substance? Haven't the been checked several times? If it's just that they figured out a technique, that isn't cheating.

I'm not happy at all about the video cheating. But I think it's likely this is like PEDs. More people than you think are doing it and it isn't as big an advantage as first blush appears. I'm not saying don't hammer them. But assuming this is why they've won so much is going too far. (Unless they can prove the Astros are doing it on the road, too. They've done really well on the road. If they aren't cheating there, they're probably just good.)
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 15, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5901362)

How are they increasing spin? Is the idea that they're using a foreign substance?


That's has been speculated.
   7. Greg Pope Posted: November 15, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5901377)
How are they increasing spin? Is the idea that they're using a foreign substance?

That's has been speculated.

Any sort of system-wide cheating just seems to be a really bad idea. So many players change teams these days, so it would come out eventually. I'm surprised this sign-stealing thing took so long. Now, if Cole learned how to cheat, then he probably keeps it quiet when he goes to his new team because he just keeps doing it. But there have to be a ton of fungible pitchers who are either in on it or are aware of it. And they have no real incentive to keep quiet after they leave.
   8. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5901388)
From the STL P-D

“This latest round of allegations toward the Astros have brought the hacking scandal back to the surface, because the root cause of the initial illegal hack was a Cardinals employee trying to find evidence that the Astros had absconded with intellectual property from the Cardinals when Luhnow and others left to run the Astros after the 2011 season. Documents filed in court showed some similarities between data points and nomenclature that the Astros used, and advancements developed for the Cardinals. Data, scouting reports, and algorithms, like signs, have value and are worth protecting from theft. Luhnow has repeatedly denied this.

Houston lobbied the commissioner’s office to impose far more severe penalties on the Cardinals, several sources confirmed at the time. The former Cardinals exec, Chris Correa, was also banned from baseball for not cooperating with Major League Baseball’s investigation.”

Being banned for non-cooperation is interesting - I’m sure the players association would have something to say about that if MLB tried to impose that on a player
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 15, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5901390)
Being banned for non-cooperation is interesting - I’m sure the players association would have something to say about that if MLB tried to impose that on a player

If the league gives the player immunity, the MLBPA wouldn't say much.
   10. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 15, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5901403)

Any sort of system-wide cheating just seems to be a really bad idea. So many players change teams these days, so it would come out eventually. I'm surprised this sign-stealing thing took so long. Now, if Cole learned how to cheat, then he probably keeps it quiet when he goes to his new team because he just keeps doing it. But there have to be a ton of fungible pitchers who are either in on it or are aware of it. And they have no real incentive to keep quiet after they leave.


They have an incentive not to take it public if they want to do it themselves. By contrast, it seems a number of people were aware on some level of the sign stealing but stayed quiet about until now. And there would be less incentive to keep sign stealing quiet.
   11. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5901460)
Manfred today via yahoo.

“Obviously, following the rules is crucial to the competition on the field; any time there’s this sort of allegation, we take it very seriously,” Manfred told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive interview at the Paley International Council Summit in New York on Thursday. “We’re in the midst of gathering the facts. We want to make sure we understand everything that went on, who was involved, how far up in the organization it went. And at that point in time, we’ll make a decision as to what, if any, discipline is appropriate.”

So I think it’s safe to assume the charge has been validated and now it’s question of what Hinch and luhnow knew and when did they know it
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 15, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5901463)
Obviously Hinch knew everything. Absolutely everything.

Luhnow probably did.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 15, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5901484)
I don’t think we are going to see players disciplined. It’s almost impossible for just players to put in place a sophisticated video sign stealing system - that’s on the team officials (coaches, manager & front office). If MLB focuses on the players, that would be its way of trying to let the teams off lightly by turning the problem into a labor relations spat.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 15, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5901491)
I don’t think we are going to see players disciplined. It’s almost impossible for just players to put in place a sophisticated video sign stealing system - that’s on the team officials (coaches, manager & front office). If MLB focuses on the players, that would be its way of trying to let the teams off lightly by turning the problem into a labor relations spat.

Agreed. I imagine they'll offer all the players blanket immunity in exchange for cooperating.
   15. jmurph Posted: November 15, 2019 at 02:46 PM (#5901498)
Somehow I suspect that Manfred, a guy employed by the 30 owners, is not eager to set up a situation in which 750 players are anonymously dropping the dime on their teams.
   16. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: November 15, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5901507)
If MLB focuses on the players, that would be its way of trying to let the teams off lightly by turning the problem into a labor relations spat.
So...pretty much the way MLB normally handles issues if it possibly can?
   17. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5901523)
Darvish in the LA TImes

What fun is [it] to hit a pitch that you know is coming?” he said. “As a pitcher, it feels weird. As a hitter, I wonder if it makes them happy. Houston won the World Series in 2017, but if they really did that in the World Series and hit like crazy and won … I couldn’t do that.”

Yu with the existential point of view - one I have been wondering about as well
   18. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: November 15, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5901525)
Here’s my question; why do there need to be screens in the bullpens, dugouts or clubhouses during games? There is no reason those screens couldn’t simply be removed right now.

I realize replay is the answer at least to clubhouses. Personally I’d say #### that but I realize that isn’t happening so simply have one screen in the clubhouse and an MLB official monitoring it with the replay guru for each team. As I understand it mlb already has people who mingle about trying to watch this stuff.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 15, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5901527)
So...pretty much the way MLB normally handles issues if it possibly can?
In fairness, the union turns every issue it possibly can into a labor relations spat as well, even things that shouldn't reasonably be subject to bargaining, in hopes of using it for leverage.
   20. bunyon Posted: November 15, 2019 at 04:50 PM (#5901541)
Jose, I agree about getting rid of screens. And I think it would HELP replay. To challenge, it has to be an obviously blown call. Speeds up the game to get rid of screens. Win-win.

Which means it won't happen.
   21. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5901553)
Games can be streamed to iPads and phones so that’s harder to police.

Darvish said in his comments that he noticed batters were not looking at him between pitches but up into the CF batting eye. That implies a signaling system out there (telescope and flashing lights?). If that’s true then taking away tv screens won’t help
   22. Sunday silence Posted: November 15, 2019 at 05:32 PM (#5901557)
Ralph Branca says "hello, and cut fastball on the way."
   23. The Duke Posted: November 15, 2019 at 06:31 PM (#5901562)
Fascinating take from BP today

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/55283/moonshot-the-astros-sign-stealing-left-a-fingerprint-in-the-audio-date/

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