Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

While the man on second base deciphering signs and relaying them to the batter isn’t considered cheating, teams have taken things too far. The Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series after an elaborate sign-stealing scheme paid off. An investigation showed the Astros were using part of the video replay system all baseball grounds have to assist with call challenges to steal signs. The signs were initially relayed from the control room itself, but the Astros eventually had a television with the correct feed installed near the dugout. Runners were also used to relay information to the batter, but the dugout eventually ended up banging on a trash can to alert the batter to a potential curveball (via the New York Times).

When the scheme eventually came to light, the backlash was significant. Fans and opposing players were quite open in their disgust at the underhanded tactics used by the Astros. The League also imposed a number of penalties, though many believe the punishments did not go far enough. The team did not vacate — nor was it stripped of — its controversial World Series win. They were fined $5 million, and numerous suspensions were handed out to the coaching staff involved. The players, who co-operated with the investigation in exchange for immunity, were spared any sanctions. While using technology to prevent sign stealing may have divided opinions, using cameras to steal signs is universally condemned.

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