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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Yes, more teams than the Astros and Red Sox stole signs, but that doesn’t excuse them

There’s an element to all of this Astros and Red Sox news that keeps coming up that I want to dig in to. Indeed, it’s a thing that comes up every single time a team or a player gets in trouble for something. It’s the “hey, they weren’t the only ones doing it! They were singled out!” defense, almost always mounted by fans of the teams or players who get busted.

First, let’s be 100 percent clear about something: the Astros and the Red Sox were not — not by a long shot — the only teams stealing signs. To suggest that they were is to live in fantasyland. Tom Verducci reported the other day that the investigation of the Astros led to at least seven or eight other teams being mentioned. Last night Michael Baumann of The Ringer linked to stories over the past couple of months in which sources said they believed that the Diamondbacks, Indians, Rangers, Cubs, Blue Jays, Nationals and Brewers have engaged in sign-stealing shenanigans as well.

And hey, from the “it takes one to know one” department, let us not forget this little thing from last summer when, after the Yankees pounded the Red Sox in London, Alex Cora said that the Yankees’ biggest offseason addition was Carlos Beltrán, complete with a wink:

He follows that with “we have to clean our details,” which is an obvious reference to signs. If you think he’s not talking about the Yankees engaging in some sign-stealing, you’re deluding yourself. Which, of course, becomes the jumping off point for that “no fair, we were singled out!” sentiment so many Astros and Red Sox fans have shared in the past few days.

A consideration of a certain kind of commentary- might as well have it in mind now, as I anticipate seeing it deployed shortly…..

 

QLE Posted: January 16, 2020 at 12:21 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, red sox, sign-stealing

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   1. villageidiom Posted: January 16, 2020 at 09:58 AM (#5916408)
So too is a thing I’ve seen from some or the more disreputable stools at the great sports bar in which we all imbibe: the notion that, because one of the reporters who broke these stories — Evan Drellich of the Athletic — covered both the Red Sox and the Astros in recent years, he’s biased or has an axe to grind or that he’s out to get them and that that somehow discredits him and/or makes what those teams did less worse.

Based on what I read Drellich may very well have a legitimate beef with some people in the Astros’ front office, but so what? That doesn’t change the facts which he reported and which have now been vindicated by Major League Baseball’s investigation. The notion that his reporting has come first and foremost on the two teams with whom he has the best sources is not, as some high-profile media figures have claimed, suspicious either. Indeed, that’s EXACTLY who a reporter should be reporting on. If reporters who have sources with other teams aren’t doing as good a job with this story as Drellich is with the Astros and Sox, that’s a slight on them, not him. To go after him is to put yourself back in ad hominem land. It is also to fundamentally misunderstand how reporting works.
People are eager to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of investigations when it suits them. It's like Yankees fans were (and still are?) regarding the Mitchell Report.
   2. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2020 at 10:08 AM (#5916416)
Everything I've read from Drellich is really good, he seems like a great reporter.

And to the point of the article, 100% agree obviously. You get caught breaking rules you deserve to get punished. Seems pretty simple!
   3. villageidiom Posted: January 16, 2020 at 10:22 AM (#5916430)
And to the point of the article, 100% agree obviously. You get caught breaking rules you deserve to get punished.
I'm agreeing but going the pedantic route. If you break rules (even if not caught) you deserve to get punished. If you get caught breaking rules you must get punished.
   4. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5916443)
Ha, that's fair.
   5. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 16, 2020 at 10:53 AM (#5916459)
Has anyone said the Sox and Astros don't deserve to be punished? Many people are saying everyone is doing it (hell, I'm saying it) but that doesn't change the fact that they got caught and thus should get punished. What MLB is doing is 100% correct but I think it's naive to think every team isn't doing something.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 16, 2020 at 11:07 AM (#5916468)
some or the more disreputable stools at the great sports bar in which we all imbibe


Heh, lightly veiled shot at Barstool.
   7. plim Posted: January 16, 2020 at 02:03 PM (#5916576)
I don't think anyone is dismissing the notion that the Astros & Red Sox shouldn't be punished.

But if the allegations are right that there are 8 other teams (and who knows how many more are actually doing it), the rate at which we're going, the MLB managers are gonna look like the Russian government..
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 16, 2020 at 02:18 PM (#5916588)
And hey, from the “it takes one to know one” department, let us not forget this little thing from last summer when, after the Yankees pounded the Red Sox in London, Alex Cora said that the Yankees’ biggest offseason addition was Carlos Beltrán, complete with a wink
MLB was in charge of logistics at the London Series, so Beltrán would have to have been very crafty indeed to pull off in-game video sign stealing there.
   9. Astroenteritis Posted: January 16, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5916601)
MLB almost has an incentive not to uncover too much dirt on too many teams, from a fan confidence standpoint. That sounds contradictory, but if they have to investigate seven teams, then perhaps that turns into ten, and then you have a big mess. But no matter how many teams were engaged in this kind of stuff, the team(s) that were caught, especially after being warned, deserve to be punished. If the focus is kept narrow, the game comes off looking better, and MLB can say they took care of the problem.
   10. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 17, 2020 at 09:10 AM (#5916836)

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