The Athletic: The Astros stole signs electronically in 2017 part of a much broader issue for Major League Baseball

StupendousMan

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I believe the only guy in baseball history who has struck out 27 in a game (Bristol, Appalachian League) in 1952 was Ron Necciai, but he was an American.
I'm sorry I wasn't clear in my earlier post, but the story I remember reading was a piece of fiction. It was about halfway between science fiction and fantasy.

Thanks for the info about Ron Necciai -- I've learned another new thing today. Speaking of pitchers who have struck out 27 batters in a single game, high-school phenom Paul Pettit did it in 12 innings, according to this article at sabr.org. Pettit was featured in the latest episode of the Only A Game podcast, which is often a good listen.
 

amfox1

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Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is expected to meet with the full Astros roster Wednesday to discuss the team's strategy for publicly addressing the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the franchise all offseason, sources familiar with the plans told ESPN.

While only pitchers and catchers were expected to report to Astros camp Wednesday, position players have flown here as well to participate in the meeting, sources said. The team plans to open the clubhouse Thursday for its first media availability of the spring.

The level of contrition and tact the Astros will take in addressing the scandal is unclear. At the Houston Sports Awards on Jan. 22, Crane said the team would "apologize for what happened, ask forgiveness and move forward" during spring training.
At the team's FanFest in January, second baseman Jose Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman did not offer apologies when asked about the scheme. Former Astros Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Marwin Gonzalez have apologized for the team's actions. When asked about their World Series win, Joe Musgrove, a pitcher on the 2017 Astros, told reporters Tuesday: "I don't want to say it's tainted, but I think it is."
 

edoug

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I believe the only guy in baseball history who has struck out 27 in a game (Bristol, Appalachian League) in 1952 was Ron Necciai, but he was an American.
Not quite, Steve Dalkowski struck out 27 and walked 18

So 27 is the record. Nope, the most strike outs in a game by 1 pitcher is 30.

Back to the Astros there's this.

How could they not know this was going to come out? Even without the banging of the trash cans. Too many people knew.
 
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I believe the only guy in baseball history who has struck out 27 in a game (Bristol, Appalachian League) in 1952 was Ron Necciai, but he was an American.
There was a ground out to shortstop in the second inning and with two outs in the 9th the batter struck out (K #26) but reached on a wild pitch. He then struck out the last batter. There is one theory that the wild pitch was purposely missed by the catcher to give him a chance for 27 but that is generally believed to be that of the losing team/ Incidentally, on opening day that year, Necciai set a single-game strikeout record for Bristol with 20 and struck out 109 in 43.0 IP that year in six games.
 

Marciano490

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It looks really bad on MLB if there were so many teams complaining and they did nada.

Also, that book about the 27 strikeouts sounds like something Matt Christopher would write.
 

Mooch

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The main issue here is that Luhnow clearly set up a culture under which sign-stealing was a significant priority from the very top of the organization. To somehow claim that Cora and Beltran "went rogue" in pursuit of the same results against the wishes of the organization is, to put it bluntly, a gigantic flaming pile of bullshit. When you set up the expectation that this is an organizational strategy, you can't act surprised when your day-to-day people try to achieve that result. The Astros throwing these guys under the bus in the MLB investigation is disgusting to me when they've clearly been sending messages up and down the line for many years that obtaining opposing teams signals was really important to them.
 

loshjott

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I read that Post article this morning. It provided good context but didn't have info on the nature of conversations between Martinez and Cora, and between Scherzer and Tony Sipp. Both of those conversations occurred, per the article, but it doesn't say the details of what they talked about. Did Sipp tell Scherzer how the Astros cheated? What help did Cora provide Martinez on how to counteract it? Or did he deny everything? I'm not surprised the principals wouldn't say that to a reporter but it would be interesting to know.
 

edoug

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I read that Post article this morning. It provided good context but didn't have info on the nature of conversations between Martinez and Cora, and between Scherzer and Tony Sipp. Both of those conversations occurred, per the article, but it doesn't say the details of what they talked about. Did Sipp tell Scherzer how the Astros cheated? What help did Cora provide Martinez on how to counteract it? Or did he deny everything? I'm not surprised the principals wouldn't say that to a reporter but it would be interesting to know.
Yeah, I hope it comes out someday.
 

patoaflac

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They are returning the WS trophy to MLB. Manfred will declare no team was champion in 2017.
 

Van Everyman

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Just watched this. In light of the WaPo piece on how the Astros sign stealing was an open secret in baseball, its almost impossible to believe that Hinch was as out of the loop as he says he was. He repeatedly “takes responsibility” for what happened but denies almost any and all knowledge of what was going on. He’s like some CEO who wants some credit for having no idea his company was ripping off customers.

The buzzer non-answer is bad. But his response to the Yankees game answers he gave pouring cold water on the mere suggestion the Astros might cheat—that he was focused on 2019 not 2017–is a equally as bad.

Verducci generally does ok. But how does he not ask Hinch anything about Cora and Beltran? “Did you not know your own bench coach was running this scheme?”

I don’t see how this ends anytime soon. There are just way too many unanswered questions.
 

YTF

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Just an observation... There have been more than a couple of posts relating to Alex Cora being a scapegoat here. That might be the case, but if so why have we not heard a word from Cora? What's the absolute worse that could come from defending himself? Yeah the term "rat" comes to mind, but he could easily say that he was a part of a system wide abuse, but was not the one who thought up or enhanced the system that was used. He could say that without pointing fingers at anyone else and if that were truly the case he could challenge reporters, the Astros or the commissioner to prove him wrong.

Edited to say that perhaps he'll do just as I suggested but he's been silent as he waits for the Red Sox investigation to wind down and learn his fate in both cases.
 

Average Reds

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Just an observation... There have been more than a couple of posts relating to Alex Cora being a scapegoat here. That might be the case, but if so why have we not heard a word from Cora? What's the absolute worse that could come from defending himself?
Cora has already provided information to Manfred in the course of investigating Houston. (And, one presumes, Boston.) Manfred has indicated that Cora's punishment will be disclosed once the investigation into the Red Sox is complete. Which means that Cora knows he's likely to receive a punishment similar to what Hinch received. (It's worth noting that those two facts - Cora having already spoken with Manfred and Manfred indicating that his punishment is pending - leads to the inescapable conclusion that Cora was deeply involved in Houston's scheme, even if he wasn't the mastermind.)

If Cora were to speak out now and say anything that even appeared to conflict with what the Commissioner believes he knows, his situation would be dire indeed. Staying silent is his only play.

Yeah the term "rat" comes to mind, but he could easily say that he was a part of a system wide abuse, but was not the one who thought up or enhanced the system that was used. He could say that without pointing fingers at anyone else and if that were truly the case he could challenge reporters, the Astros or the commissioner to prove him wrong.

Edited to say that perhaps he'll do just as I suggested but he's been silent as he waits for the Red Sox investigation to wind down and learn his fate in both cases.
Again, Manfred's judgment of Cora's role was based on interviews with Houston management, the players involved and Cora himself.

Cora is not worried about being labelled a "rat." He's worried about working in baseball again.
 

keninten

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Just an observation... There have been more than a couple of posts relating to Alex Cora being a scapegoat here. That might be the case, but if so why have we not heard a word from Cora? What's the absolute worse that could come from defending himself? Yeah the term "rat" comes to mind, but he could easily say that he was a part of a system wide abuse, but was not the one who thought up or enhanced the system that was used. He could say that without pointing fingers at anyone else and if that were truly the case he could challenge reporters, the Astros or the commissioner to prove him wrong.

Edited to say that perhaps he'll do just as I suggested but he's been silent as he waits for the Red Sox investigation to wind down and learn his fate in both cases.
Because he will get crap for anything he says or does not say exactly right. People get crap for just being themselves. Just something as simple as visiting the White House, he`s loved for not going or hated for not going. Watch what happens to Verdugo if he ever addresses the hotel incident.
 

YTF

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Cora has already provided information to Manfred in the course of investigating Houston. (And, one presumes, Boston.) Manfred has indicated that Cora's punishment will be disclosed once the investigation into the Red Sox is complete. Which means that Cora knows he's likely to receive a punishment similar to what Hinch received. (It's worth noting that those two facts - Cora having already spoken with Manfred and Manfred indicating that his punishment is pending - leads to the inescapable conclusion that Cora was deeply involved in Houston's scheme, even if he wasn't the mastermind.)

If Cora were to speak out now and say anything that even appeared to conflict with what the Commissioner believes he knows, his situation would be dire indeed. Staying silent is his only play.



Again, Manfred's judgment of Cora's role was based on interviews with Houston management, the players involved and Cora himself.

Cora is not worried about being labelled a "rat." He's worried about working in baseball again.
My edit should have read....perhaps he'll do just as I suggested BUT HAS been silent as he waits for the Red Sox investigation to wind down and learn his fate in both cases. That changes things just slightly from the BUT HE'S that was written. I agree that he's worried about working in baseball again, preferably at the major league level, but I do think/hope he'll be contrite enough to acknowledge his part (whatever it was) when MLB has wrapped up their investigation and issued their findings. That's why I questioned his silence to date as Cora seems to me to be the type to want to set the record straight and try to move forward. Again, my original post didn't factor in the the pending investigation.
 

YTF

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Because he will get crap for anything he says or does not say exactly right. People get crap for just being themselves. Just something as simple as visiting the White House, he`s loved for not going or hated for not going. Watch what happens to Verdugo if he ever addresses the hotel incident.
The White House comp is FAR different from this. This isn't "just crap" for being himself and the Verdugo incident is separate from this.
 

JimD

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Given Cora's reputation as a master sign stealer during his playing career, the idea that he was anything less than a very enthusiastic participant in this scheme along with Beltran is wishful thinking.
 

DeadlySplitter

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the stench won't fully be off until (and this will never happen) the buzzers are exposed/confessed, and the big boy players get a season's suspension.
 

Al Zarilla

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Watched some of it. Seeing Dusty sitting next to owner Crane, he doesn’t exactly look like the stereotype new hire manager in MLB (or the NFL) nowadays. So, clean record, high integrity guy is what Houston was going for? Note that I always liked Dusty and the way he comes across. I thought he might have retired for good though. Good luck to him, except vs. Red Sox, but that would mean the Astros do well. I don’t know.
 

normstalls

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My favorite so far. Really enjoying the absolute ROASTING the Astros are getting for this debacle.
 

nattysez

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the stench won't fully be off until (and this will never happen) the buzzers are exposed/confessed, and the big boy players get a season's suspension.
Jeff Passan had an interesting point on Mina Kimes' podcast yesterday. He said every single rumor he's heard about the Astros has proven true EXCEPT the buzzers. His analysis is that it's very likely the buzzers thing is not true because there is no way everyone that would have had to have been involved would have remained quiet at this point -- SOMEONE would've admitted it by now.
 

StuckOnYouk

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Perhaps they could have just said something along the lines of this and people would have been more understanding?
"We apologize for what we did in 2017, but at the time we knew there was at least one main competitor out there we would possibly face in the playoffs (cough NY) who was at the forefront of using technology to steal signs and we just didn't believe every team (especially NY) was going to adhere to the new rules put in place, especially in the playoffs with so much at stake."
First off, it's an apology
Second it may be true
Third it stops some of this victim crap constantly emanating out of NY
 

Awesome Fossum

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I don't know the PR jujitsu that needs to happen to get there, but they need to turn this around on MLB. The Astros' job is to win games. It's the league's job to create and enforce rules. A team identifying a weakness in the system and ruthlessly exploiting it really while the league ignored warning signs and complaints from opponents ought to make this an MLB (rather than Astros) scandal.

Not saying the Astros shouldn't be punished, but Manfred's the one who ought to be squirming right now. He's lucky that Luhnow is so hatable and that Crane is such a buffoon.
 

cromulence

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Perhaps they could have just said something along the lines of this and people would have been more understanding?
"We apologize for what we did in 2017, but at the time we knew there was at least one main competitor out there we would possibly face in the playoffs (cough NY) who was at the forefront of using technology to steal signs and we just didn't believe every team (especially NY) was going to adhere to the new rules put in place, especially in the playoffs with so much at stake."
First off, it's an apology
Second it may be true
Third it stops some of this victim crap constantly emanating out of NY
Are you serious? This would look even worse (not to mention it's total bullshit).