To be sure, none of what follows is going to come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been following broader baseball doings the last few years. But still, it’s good that it’s getting out there in the public, and maybe now the league can do more to prevent it.
In short? The Astros were cheating, aggressively, in 2017, and the problem has become widespread around baseball:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2019
Although it’s great to read the details of how the Astros were doing what they were doing – confirmed by former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers – the most important thing going forward is probably MLB getting a better handle on how to stop this.
I have heard that, even in 2019 – when the league had banned team-managed video equipment in center field looking at catcher signs – there were multiple teams still finding ways to electronically steal signs using equipment in the outfield, and then relay those stolen signs to the batter. Notice how many more teams were using multiple signs at the plate this year even with the bases empty? Probably not a coincidence. (I saw it by the Cubs at Miller Park, and I also saw it by the Cardinals at Wrigley Field … just sayin’ – doesn’t mean those teams were cheating, just that there were some suspicions.)
This is just the start of this story, because I don’t think the Astros are even close to alone. Steal signs all you want with your eyeballs when you’re a runner at second base. But teams using cameras and un-uniformed personnel to steal signs in real-time while a game is going on? That’s just straight up cheating.