15 votes

Houston Astros GM and manager suspended — then fired — for stealing signs

11 comments

  1. [2]
    Ellimist
    Link
    For those who don't follow baseball, this is one of the biggest scandals to rock baseball since the Mitchell Report and steroids were running rampant. For a little background, sign stealing is the...

    For those who don't follow baseball, this is one of the biggest scandals to rock baseball since the Mitchell Report and steroids were running rampant.

    For a little background, sign stealing is the act of one player/team attempting to decode the "signals" the catcher puts down for the pitcher. In the most basic form, a catcher would put down one finger for a fastball, two fingers for a curveball, three fingers for a changeup etc. Nowadays, teams have elaborate methods in place specifically to prevent sign stealing

    Now sign stealing, by itself, isn't really frowned upon. It's simply considered a part of the game going back to the games inception. If you have a runner who can get on second and figure out what pitch is coming because he "cracked the code", so to speak, that's simply considered gamesmanship and within the rules.

    Where the Astros went waaaaay beyond is that they used a camera, somewhere in the centerfield bleachers, to film the opposing team, during games, with a feed that transmitted to the Astros dugout where players/low level employees worked to decode the signs. Once they did, they would signal Astros hitters, during their at bats, by banging on a trash can. One bang for fastball, two bangs for breaking ball, etc.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2XNW1qHN9w

    This video by the YouTuber Jomboy is a good example of what exactly was going on.

    Now the Astros had been accused of stealing signs for a few years now but no one had been able to figure out how they were doing it. It was, ultimately, a former Astros player, Mike Fiers, who blew the lid off on the whole scheme.

    What makes this even more egregious is that the investigation MLB just concluded found the Astros utilized this cheating in the 2017 playoffs, possibly even in their World Series win against the Dodgers.

    And, perhaps most damning of all, is that the investigation concluded this was a player driven and player executed scheme.

    As a Yankee fan, this makes my blood boil as the Astros, quite possibly, robbed the Yankees of a World Series appearance against the Dodgers and the Jose Altuve robbed the MVP award from Aaron Judge who should've been the first MVP AND Rookie of the Year since Ichiro in 2001.

    8 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Sort of offtopic regarding this particular scandal, but IMO another interesting and tangentially related video that is worth watching is Mark Rober's Stealing Baseball Signs with a Phone (Machine...

      Sort of offtopic regarding this particular scandal, but IMO another interesting and tangentially related video that is worth watching is Mark Rober's Stealing Baseball Signs with a Phone (Machine Learning).

  2. [4]
    moonbathers
    Link
    I think the Astros got off light. I would've liked to see lifetime bans for both Luhnow and Hinch, more sanctions for the team itself, and the players at least being looked into. At least Taubman...

    I think the Astros got off light. I would've liked to see lifetime bans for both Luhnow and Hinch, more sanctions for the team itself, and the players at least being looked into. At least Taubman got a lifetime ban I guess.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Ellimist
      Link Parent
      Admittedly, I'm salty over the whole thing but I wanted a draconian punishment. Astros stripped of their WS title, Altuve stripped of his MVP, lifetime bans for the manager who allowed it to...

      Admittedly, I'm salty over the whole thing but I wanted a draconian punishment. Astros stripped of their WS title, Altuve stripped of his MVP, lifetime bans for the manager who allowed it to happen, the GM who apparently knew about it, the bench coach who apparently orchestrated the whole thing, and any player who was an active participant. I knew it wasn't going to happen but I'm furious the punishment was as light as it was.

      1. [2]
        moonbathers
        Link Parent
        A verdict on Alex Cora (the bench coach) hasn't been reached yet, so we'll see what happens for him. Probably not much more than Hinch and Luhnow got.

        A verdict on Alex Cora (the bench coach) hasn't been reached yet, so we'll see what happens for him. Probably not much more than Hinch and Luhnow got.

        1. boredop
          Link Parent
          I think Cora's gonna get it much worse than Hinch and Luhnow, considering he's accused of starting a similar scheme after he took over the Red Sox the next year.

          I think Cora's gonna get it much worse than Hinch and Luhnow, considering he's accused of starting a similar scheme after he took over the Red Sox the next year.

          1 vote
  3. [5]
    TheJorro
    Link
    I'm disappointed the Astros weren't stripped of their World Series Championship for this.

    I'm disappointed the Astros weren't stripped of their World Series Championship for this.

    2 votes
    1. [4]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      While I think the punishment was much too light for the offence stripping them of the Championship would be too far. Sign stealing has been a part of the game that every team practices, the Astros...

      While I think the punishment was much too light for the offence stripping them of the Championship would be too far. Sign stealing has been a part of the game that every team practices, the Astros simply took it to an unprecedented level of cheating by adding the camera. That doesn't mean that sign stealing wins games. The Astros still had to get on base. They still had to defend. Astros pitchers still had to strike out batters. You can catch every signs and still strike out. Still lose the game. You can know the upcoming pitch and still fail to get on base.

      They still had to win 101 games that season (or, alternatively, they lost 61). They still had to win 11 games in the playoffs. To be honest people saying this even approaches the doping scandal blow me away.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        moonbathers
        Link Parent
        They were still a really, really good team that year, just like Barry Bonds was a really, really good baseball player even before he took steroids. But it's entirely possible they don't win the...

        They were still a really, really good team that year, just like Barry Bonds was a really, really good baseball player even before he took steroids. But it's entirely possible they don't win the World Series without stealing signs electronically, which is a whole lot different than the traditional, allowed method of stealing signs. Darvish got rocked in both games 3 and 7, and maybe he doesn't give up as many runs if they aren't stealing signs electronically. The commissioner's report says they did it "throughout the postseason". I'm not saying give the title to the Dodgers, but I wouldn't be bent out of shape if the Astros have to vacate the title.

        1. [2]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          There is just no way to determine exactly how much it helped them. Is it really that much easier to hit an MLB pitch if you know what's coming when MLB pitchers are so powerful that hitting...

          There is just no way to determine exactly how much it helped them. Is it really that much easier to hit an MLB pitch if you know what's coming when MLB pitchers are so powerful that hitting essentially occurs by instinct?

          As opposed to steroids where you are explicitly making a player better, faster, stronger through chrmical enhancement.

          Everyone involved should have recieved lifetime bans, and more first round picks should have been forfeit but to vacate the entire championship for what was an exceptionally good team that may have very well won without the cheating seems excessive.

          1 vote
          1. moonbathers
            Link Parent
            I guess I don't have an answer at that point, if Hinch, Cora, and Luhnow (and whoever else was involved) got lifetime bans and they lost more picks.

            I guess I don't have an answer at that point, if Hinch, Cora, and Luhnow (and whoever else was involved) got lifetime bans and they lost more picks.