MLB punishes teams caught illegally stealing signs


Steven Rissotto ‘20

A four-seam fastball grip is displayed, a pitch the cheating teams often knew was coming.

Steven Elsner '20, Staff Reporter

Baseball season should be in full swing right now, but like everything else, it is on hold until infectious disease experts and government officials decide if and when America’s past time can step up to the plate.

During the pre-season, the focus was on punishing two teams for stealing signs.

Over the past three seasons, the Houston Astros have been baseball’s winningest franchise until they were caught cheating for stealing signs. The incident was brought into the light by former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers who told The Athletic the organization was using video cameras in center field to film the catcher’s signs to the pitchers. 

The Astros then would have people sitting near TVs behind the dugout and would send signals like sounds, and buzzers. The sounds that were used were staff members hitting a trash can to tell the hitter that an off speed pitch was coming. 

The following year, the Red Sox were using apple watches to steal signs from their opponents. The MLB did not take away the World Series title from the Astros. After the Astros scandal, there was word of the word that the Boston Red Sox did the same thing. 

The Boston Red Sox have received their punishment for their cheating scandal, which includes their manager Alex Cora receiving a one-year suspension from the MLB for his conduct while serving as bench coach of the Houston Astros in 2017 remains in place, according to The Athletic.

In addition, the Red Sox lose a second-round pick in this year’s draft, and replay operator J.T. Watkins has been banned through 2020 and cannot return to his job in 2021.

The Sox manager at the time was Alex Cora, who was the man looking at the screen from the camera with the Astros in 2017. That resulted in both managers getting fired and AJ Hinch receiving a one year ban from the MLB. 

Also, the Mets manager Carlos Beltran parted ways with the team after he was just hired by the team, when the scandal was announced. The Astros received a five million dollar fine and lost their 2020-2021 first and second round draft picks. None of the players have been punished from the MLB, but players have apologized for the scandal and feel greatly hurt by it. 

In 2014, as a part of the expansion of the replay review in the MLB, all the teams were permitted to install video replay rooms in their stadium with live camera feeds, and the dugout was permitted to communicate with the staffers in the room. 

There is a clip of internet sports personality Jimmy “Jomboy” O’Brien publishing the video on YouTube and Twitter and showing the scheme in clear real time. The clip was of White Sox pitcher, Danny Farquhar, who heard noises when he was throwing changeups.