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

djbayko

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But that brings me back to former players. I wonder if there was some sort of NDA or something involved?

I get everything looks dumb and inevitable in hindsight and plenty of people deal drugs or rob banks even though they’re likely to be caught eventually, but running a scheme like this in a competitive league with frequent player movement and millions of dollars at stakes seems incredibly arrogant or reckless.

Though I guess banners fly forever.

Edit: and I suppose there’s the Serpico thing. Any former players benefitted from the system so they’d be ratting on themselves. Even pitchers got W’s, H’s and saves.
I suspect there actually wasn’t much talking about it when players changed teams. For one thing, these players would have been culpable to some degree, even if they weren’t active participants but failed to do anything to stop it. How nobile is it to unearth such a scheme only after you’re no longer benefitting from it? Second, even the most disgruntled employee is no doubt leaving behind friends in that locker room who would suffer the consequences of any action players might take after the fact. You’ve played sports, so you know how important the concept of trust is on a team.

I can imagine players giving their new teammates under-the-table advice on behavioral changes they might want to make in orde to thwart the Astros when they played them but not mention any specifics, at least to higher ups.
 
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DJnVa

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I wish I could wager on if the Astros will break their team record times hit by a pitch this season.
 

jon abbey

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The player quotes are getting harsher:

Bauer on Crane: "'We don’t think it affected the game.' You’re either lying or you’re a fucking idiot. And don’t become a billionaire owner of a team by being a fucking idiot. So, you’re lying."

Whit Merrifield on missing the 2018 ASG: "I'm going to consider myself an All-Star with all this stuff that's come out because Jose Altuve took my spot that game. So we'll put an asterisk by 2018 & on top of it, we'll go ahead and throw in a silver slugger for good measure."

Also Whit: “I used to really respect those guys and respect their games. For me, I have no interest in hearing about them, talking to them, interacting with them at all anymore. I have no respect for those guys anymore.”

Cody Bellinger: "“These guys were cheating for three years,’’ Bellinger said Friday at the Dodgers spring training camp. “I think what people don’t realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”
 

SemperFidelisSox

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The Astros are cheaters, but the Dodgers more than any team are really using this scandal to justify their poor playoff performances. Hey, Bellinger. You slashed .143/.172/.393 in the ‘17 World Series. Just shut up.
 

Average Game James

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I wish I could wager on if the Astros will break their team record times hit by a pitch this season.
I’m a bit surprised it didn’t happen in the past... if teams knew they were stealing signs, throw down the sign for slider/curve away and put it in the dirt, then same sign next pitch and put a fastball in the batter’s ribs. Certainly would have made it a little less comfortable sitting on something off-speed...
 

Danny_Darwin

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The Astros are cheaters, but the Dodgers more than any team are really using this scandal to justify their poor playoff performances. Hey, Bellinger. You slashed .143/.172/.393 in the ‘17 World Series. Just shut up.
I mean, I'd agree if the Dodgers were swept or lost a not-all-that-competitive five-game series. But they lost two one-run games in a series that went the full seven. I can see where they're coming from.
 

Lowrielicious

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I’m a bit surprised it didn’t happen in the past... if teams knew they were stealing signs, throw down the sign for slider/curve away and put it in the dirt, then same sign next pitch and put a fastball in the batter’s ribs. Certainly would have made it a little less comfortable sitting on something off-speed...
This is the most surprising part for me too. Especially given the Suzuki quote
"We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling. What are you going to do?" Suzuki told The Washington Post's Thomas Boswell.

Putting one between the shoulder blades when they think an offspeed is coming is what you can do.
 

djbayko

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I wish I could wager on if the Astros will break their team record times hit by a pitch this season.
I’m sure this line will be made available eventually. I’ve seen far too much talk about this specific stat on the internet for books not to take notice. BetOnline and Bovada love shit like this.
 
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djbayko

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I mean, I'd agree if the Dodgers were swept or lost a not-all-that-competitive five-game series. But they lost two one-run games in a series that went the full seven. I can see where they're coming from.
Ware we sure it didn’t happen a few times and no one knew to connect it to anything?

Actually, that is a good rationale for why we may NOT have seen it happen much if at all. In order for punishment to be effective, the receiver has to know what they’re being punished for. It wouldn’t necessarily be obvious that a pitch in the rib cage was for a specific transgression as opposed to just one that got away. I suppose the catcher or first baseman could have muttered something from under their glove to let them know if they wanted to.
 

Wingack

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This is the most surprising part for me too. Especially given the Suzuki quote
"We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling. What are you going to do?" Suzuki told The Washington Post's Thomas Boswell.

Putting one between the shoulder blades when they think an offspeed is coming is what you can do.
If everyone was so confident, I am surprised the Nats, Yankees and Dodgers didn’t walked off the field in protest and alert the umps to what they believed was going on. Championships were on the line.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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The Dodgers and Yankees really come across as whiners in all this. I get Houston cheated, but the Nationals beat them 4 times in Houston this past WS so ...
 

JCizzle

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The Dodgers and Yankees really come across as whiners in all this. I get Houston cheated, but the Nationals beat them 4 times in Houston this past WS so ...
The Red Sox also beat them down in 2018. The Yankees have been heavily accused of doing similar things in prior years. I totally agree that they are protesting way too much.
 

garlan5

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Things I have trouble with is that if teams thought they were stealing signs why didn't they come up with a different method.
Why did Cora tip off this to Dave Martinez? Cora didn't leave Houston on bad terms why would he sell them out? The only possible answer is he's friends with Dave Martinez. Seems like a bad lood for Cora imho
 

MuzzyField

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Things I have trouble with is that if teams thought they were stealing signs why didn't they come up with a different method.
Why did Cora tip off this to Dave Martinez? Cora didn't leave Houston on bad terms why would he sell them out? The only possible answer is he's friends with Dave Martinez. Seems like a bad lood for Cora imho
It's not a possible answer, it is the answer. It's a great look for Cora.
 

garlan5

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It's not a possible answer, it is the answer. It's a great look for Cora.
I don't know it it's a good look or not. A scheme he's part of at Houston and he is tipping off the Nationals. Maybe he should have tipped off Manfred when he was in Houston instead of being a part of it.
Edit: no loyalty to Houston coaches?
 

EnochRoot

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Whit Merrifield comes off as the biggest whiner of the bunch.
Oh please. Trevor Bauer rim-rattles on the logic you and a couple others have shown here by perhaps revealing the mindset of the rest of MLB:

Whit Merrifield was not an All-Star because José Altuve was. Aaron Judge did not win the MVP because José Altuve did and things like this. So now Whit Merrifield, when he goes to sign his long-term extension, doesn’t have ‘All-Star’ next to his name. ‘All-Star’ probably makes him a lot more valuable in arbitration which perhaps makes him not sign that deal or maybe sign the deal for that many more million dollars. Aaron Judge doesn’t have MVP next to his name. What is he worth in his first year of arbitration? That’s millions of dollars. The trajectory of the career, too. It’s not the first time where it’s a million or two, but then the next year it’s two or three and the next year after that, it’s four or five.
Yeah, you have to say the words but honestly, in that situation, I would rather them just come out and say, ‘Yeah, we did it. We’re not sorry about it. Yeah, we cheated. We’ll take the penalty and come beat us.’ At least it would be honest. Just tell us how you actually feel. Don’t lie. You’ve been lying the entire fucking time. Now you’re lying about your apology.

‘We don’t think it affected the game.’ You’re either lying or you’re a fucking idiot. And you don’t become a billionaire owner of a team by being a fucking idiot. So, you’re lying.

I don’t know. How can you not think that affected the game when you know what pitches, that’s just so ridiculous. That take, that quote, then basically the entire thing was like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry we got caught.’ Not like, ‘Hey, we did this.’

Here’s the thing for you, if any of the Astros players would come out today and say, ‘Hey, I’m holding a press conference. I’m going to have a select group of fans, media, other players, we’re all going to sit down and I’m going to answer all your questions for an hour 100 percent honestly. We’re just going to talk it through.’ That player could say anything about what they did, and all this different stuff and he’d actually be liked. That’s how ridiculous this situation has gotten. If a player came out and told you everything they did, and it was the worst possible cheating scandal in the history of baseball and he revealed it all, that player would be liked because the rest of them have been so disingenuous. Not a single one of them has said an honest damn word the entire time. Just such a ridiculous situation, man.

Whatever on the field, right? OK, so you fucking beat me on the field because whatever. But what about people who don’t have jobs? What about the people that lose out on millions of dollars and their whole career trajectory has changed? What about the people who don’t get signed at a certain position because someone who knew what pitches were coming took that position? What if someone gets DFA’d because there is just no more room for them?

Oh, we’re coming up in four or five days, you’re going to see pitchers throwing live BP with an L-screen in front of them because the hitters know what’s coming. Because it’s fucking dangerous. You have a hitter that knows what’s coming and smokes a ball off someone’s shin or hits them in the head. Maybe that guy is done. Maybe it hits him just right and he dies. Like these are the realities and however small of a chance it is, it’s a better chance if you know what pitch is coming that that’s going to happen. It’s dangerous.

Robbed from other people, you take their positions, their livelihood, the dollars, the experience of being an All-Star, the experience of moving on in the postseason, the experience of winning a World Series perhaps. It’s so far-reaching. To see them sit there and be like, ‘I’m sorry that we got caught. I’m sorry for the actions that the team and the organization and myself took. That’s all I’m going to say.’ It’s hollow.
 
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TheDivision

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If everyone was so confident, I am surprised the Nats, Yankees and Dodgers didn’t walked off the field in protest and alert the umps to what they believed was going on. Championships were on the line.
Yeah, I think it’s a lot of misinformation now. We know how fiery Boone can be, and I doubt he would have been passive if he suspected any little illegal thing that was giving the Astros an edge.

As for Chapman’s look, he does that quite a bit after giving up runs. Sometimes he gives that look when an ump doesn’t give him a strike. It’s one of his looks.
 

MuzzyField

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I don't know it it's a good look or not. A scheme he's part of at Houston and he is tipping off the Nationals. Maybe he should have tipped off Manfred when he was in Houston instead of being a part of it.
Edit: no loyalty to Houston coaches?
Their shared Puerto Rican heritage and WBC PR team connections are why I think they are tight. Given the way Manfred has handled this, not tipping him off looks like a genius move. I wouldn't be surprised if MLB already knew and was in full head in the sand, or up their ass mode wish casting it away crisis management.
 

garlan5

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Their shared Puerto Rican heritage and WBC PR team connections are why I think they are tight. Given the way Manfred has handled this, not tipping him off looks like a genius move. I wouldn't be surprised if MLB already knew and was in full head in the sand, or up their ass mode wish casting it away crisis management.
I get that they are tight but it seems a little wrong and dirty for him to go to the buddy system shit. bad enough Cora was involved before, to me, even worse to help out a buddy instead of righting the wrong.
 

jon abbey

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29 other organizations are furious at the Astros, for the things we know about as well as whatever has yet to emerge. I’m sure the furious quotes from every corner will keep coming for a while, this story is going to keep going, especially if more people come forward to talk about other aspects.

And it’s easy to suggest “walking off the field in protest” but when was the last time that happened for any reason? I remember the Rangers going into the dugout for a bit in the middle of that insane ALDS game in Toronto, because their crowd was out of control, but they came back pretty quickly. Teams play games under protest but keep playing, maybe that’s what would make sense here.
 

MuzzyField

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I get that they are tight but it seems a little wrong and dirty for him to go to the buddy system shit. bad enough Cora was involved before, to me, even worse to help out a buddy instead of righting the wrong.
Do you really think Cora as a whistleblower is the correct move for him given how MLB functions? I'm sure Joe Torre and the rest of his staff would have been very aggressive in righting this wrong!
 

DeadlySplitter

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if there were buzzers every game, I can agree with Bauer. I still dont' think sign stealing changes the results that much.

EDIT: To clarify, using "superhuman" means with a machine learning algorithm for sign stealing I feel is pretty wrong. I just really don't think that alone changed who won the WS in 2017.

all that said, we've known the Astros organization has been shady as fuck, especially since the Osuna trade. A's will have a chance to shine soon (or Angels... hahaha, not yet)
 
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djbayko

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I wonder if the Astros drilled in the battling cage on the garbage can to be more comfortable making quick adjustments at the plate. I'd be shocked if they didn't.
Are you talking about batting cage time before they open the gates? Because part of the reason they got away with it is because the trash can was just another sound drowning in a sea of live game noise. They aren't going to have that luxury in the relative peace and quiet of pre-game BP.
 

garlan5

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Do you really think Cora as a whistleblower is the correct move for him given how MLB functions? I'm sure Joe Torre and the rest of his staff would have been very aggressive in righting this wrong!
Honestly I don't know. I just don't see giving Martinez an equalizer makes him a moral person in all this. We're not privy to the knowledge Cora had while at Houston on the matter but it's clear he knew. If he was against it and didn't want to be a whistleblower, fine. I can be okay with him relaying info to DM, if he wanted no part. If he was part of enforcing or creating this mess at Houston I think it's a doubling down on a low class move.
 

JCizzle

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Honestly I don't know. I just don't see giving Martinez an equalizer makes him a moral person in all this. We're not privy to the knowledge Cora had while at Houston on the matter but it's clear he knew. If he was against it and didn't want to be a whistleblower, fine. I can be okay with him relaying info to DM, if he wanted no part. If he was part of enforcing or creating this mess at Houston I think it's a doubling down on a low class move.
I don't think there's any doubt that everyone in the game would have participated in this scheme, and Cora certainly did. Two of the game's biggest righteous hardos, Verlander and McCann, were on these teams. The Yankees and Red Sox both cheated up until (and beyond) 2018. Everyone was complicit and other than maybe Bauer, I don't buy any of the indignation. Any player or coach would have willingly participated if they were winning as a result.
 

garlan5

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I don't think there's any doubt that everyone in the game would have participated in this scheme, and Cora certainly did. Two of the game's biggest righteous hardos, Verlander and McCann, were on these teams. The Yankees and Red Sox both cheated up until (and beyond) 2018. Everyone was complicit and other than maybe Bauer, I don't buy any of the indignation. Any player or coach would have willingly participated if they were winning as a result.
My point here was focused on the tipping to DM. I don't disagree with everything you're saying here.
 

bankshot1

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Sorry if this was already mentioned/didn't see it

Dusty wants Astro protection from retaliation.


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Houston manager Dusty Baker urged Major League Baseball to help protect his players from potential retaliation and to discipline opponents who hit Astros players with pitches because they're angry at the organization for the widespread cheating during their championship-winning 2017 season.
"I'm depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I'm hearing about," Baker said Saturday morning. "And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I'm just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt."
 

YTF

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Purely understandable from Baker's POV and I'm guessing MLB will address this in some way, but this just adds a whole new layer to all of this. Hopefully it's nothing more than a heightened sense of awareness as there might be between any two teams with recent bad blood and not a mandate for umpires to determine intent.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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This whole cheating scandal might actually be good for baseball. I haven't been this excited for a season for non-Red Sox reasons since Barry Bonds was breaking the game. Astros games are going get huge ratings.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Correa says Altuve did not use the trash-can banging. this has turned into a mudslinging shitshow.


also this:

Correa: I want to address that as well. 2019, nobody wore buzzers. That’s a lie. The reason José Altuve didn’t want to get his shirt ripped off, I’m going to tell you.

Earlier in the year, he hit a walk-off at Minute Maid Park; I ripped off his shirt with Tony Kemp. There are pictures of that. There are videos of that. You can go look at it. I ripped off his shirt, and his wife told my wife, “Why is Carlos ripping Altuve’s shirt? I don’t like that.”

So when he’s running from third base to home plate, I’m the guy up front. The first one waiting for him. He’s like, “Don’t take my shirt off.” The second reason — he doesn’t want me to talk about this, but I’m going to say it, is because he’s got an unfinished tattoo on his collarbone that honestly looked terrible. It was a bad tattoo, and he didn’t want nobody to see it. He didn’t want to show it at all.
 

Congo

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Correa says Altuve did not use the trash-can banging. this has turned into a mudslinging shitshow.


also this:
Correa has to know that not only is this tattoo excuse lame and ridiculous, but no one is ever going to believe a goddamn word uttered by anyone in this organization ever again.
 

djbayko

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Correa says Altuve did not use the trash-can banging. this has turned into a mudslinging shitshow.


also this:
My initial reaction was that this is a crazy statement. But looking at the garbage can stats compiled, Altuve's # of incidents are very low compared to other players. it's possible that those bangs are rogue, with replay booth conspirators not remembering who was at bat and what his wishes were. Not that it exonerates Altuve completely, but he may be getting a larger share of the hate than he deserves because of the MVP.

 

brandonchristensen

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I’m still waiting for the spin rate shoe to drop.

Bauer was adamant that these pitchers are doing something in Houston. I’m inclined to believe him.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Marciano490

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Correa says Altuve did not use the trash-can banging. this has turned into a mudslinging shitshow.


also this:
Sounds fishy. Why’s José’s wife calling him “Altuve?”

Plus, dudes a millionaire - he can’t get a shitty tattoo fixed up quickly?
 

Leskanic's Thread

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The player quotes are getting harsher:
...
Also Whit: “I used to really respect those guys and respect their games. For me, I have no interest in hearing about them, talking to them, interacting with them at all anymore. I have no respect for those guys anymore.”
...
Beyond the beanballs question, this Merrifield quote makes me wonder this: will there be a visible shunning of Astros players during games next year? We've become so used to runners on base exchanging pleasantries with infielders and batters saying hello to catchers -- will this not happen when the Astros play? Stony silence from the first baseman after a single? I agree with the comment above about ratings going up: I can't wait to see if this gets super awkward!
 

brandonchristensen

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Looking at Gerrit Cole’s spin rate is interesting.


“As Buster Olney notes via ESPN Stats & Information, the spin rate on Cole'sfour-seam fastball has increased this season to 2,332 rotations per minute, up from the consistent readings of his past of 2,163 (2017), 2,178 (2016) and 2,157 (2015).”

He was a far better pitcher in Houston than Pittsburgh. Going from a sub-9K/9 to 12-13K/9 with the Astros.

Something doesn’t smell right.

(edit)
Verlander went from 9 to 11+ K/9 overnight.
 
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crow216

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Looking at Gerrit Cole’s spin rate is interesting.


“As Buster Olney notes via ESPN Stats & Information, the spin rate on Cole'sfour-seam fastball has increased this season to 2,332 rotations per minute, up from the consistent readings of his past of 2,163 (2017), 2,178 (2016) and 2,157 (2015).”

He was a far better pitcher in Houston than Pittsburgh. Going from a sub-9K/9 to 12-13K/9 with the Astros.

Something doesn’t smell right.

(edit)
Verlander went from 9 to 11+ K/9 overnight.
Does extra pine tar have an off-putting smell?