After the breaking news story about the Houston Astros sign-stealing, baseball analyst and fan, Jomboy, breaks down 2017 video of how it was done
Those of us complaining about how much we missed baseball sure got a healthy dose of it – but probably not in the way we wanted – earlier this week, when The Athletic broke a huge story about a cheating scandal involving the 2019 World Series runner-up and 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros.
As reported in “The Astros stole signs electronically in 2017 — part of a much broader issue for Major League Baseball,” by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich, the Houston Astros stole signs electronically, using a video-camera mounted in center-field at their home park, to pick up the opposing catcher’s signs and to relay them to the Astros dugout. From there, the pitch was relayed to the batter by someone in the dugout by banging on a trash can. One bang indicated a certain pitch. Two bangs indicated a different pitch. And so on.
This can be seen (and heard!) in the video below, which was posted by Jomboy.
Among the article’s many sources was former Astros (and current Oakland A’s) pitcher, Mike Fiers, who was with the club in 2017 and decided to speak out about it:
“That’s not playing the game the right way. They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win. I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they’re going in there not knowing…It’s BS…It’s runing jobs for younger guys.”
Here is Jomboy, who tracked down a series of videos involving the Astros, and masterfully broke them down:
For more video breakdowns like this, see this series of Tweets. Unsurprisingly, and as the statistics bear out, it is a whole lot easier to hit a baseball when you know exactly what pitch is coming.
Trying to get every advantage by figuring out if a pitcher is tipping his pitches, is one thing. It’s like figuring out somebody’s ‘tell’ in Poker. But stealing signs electronically and relaying that information to batters is like setting up a video-camera that captures your card-game opponents’ hands.
While some (Astros fans?) are calling Fiers’ “a snitch,” and pointing to other cheating instances that have occurred in baseball, there are a lot of upset people around the game.
The Astros have said in a statement that the team “has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball” and declined to offer any additional comment.
Photo Credit: YouTube/Jomboy Media (screen cap)