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So the Astros 2017 title is tainted

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by rockets13champs, Nov 12, 2019.

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  1. cmoak1982

    cmoak1982 Member
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    This is so common it’s ridiculous
     
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  2. htwnbandit

    htwnbandit Member

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    I'm hoping so hard for this. Sorry Boston, but this HAS to be exposed as a league wide issue. If it comes out that they did what we did, the media will be forced to concede (finally) that it's a league wide issue. Fingers crossed.
     
  3. dmoneybangbang

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    And that was with MLB officials in the dugout....?
     
  4. houston#1

    houston#1 Rookie

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    It’s MLB fault for poorly enforcement of this cheating rule. Heck, it’s been a part of the history. Hell, We saw many times the nba players tried to steal opposing coaches sign or listen to opposing huddle. The cheating has been always existed in sports, football basketball etc...

    The Astros won because we were a good team. We are proud of 2017 title. The investigation findings for other teams will come and tell.
     
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  5. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    Agreed...This will hopefully die down a bit once it switches to Boston, however, I do see it being blamed on the Astros bc the coach came from Houston...Then we'll be back at it again
     
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  6. cmoak1982

    cmoak1982 Member
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    Most likely, even though Boston would be repeat offenders
     
  7. htwnbandit

    htwnbandit Member

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    Never been into Ben Affleck but he's the voice of reason among these bozos especially SAS. Basically says what Skip Bayless says that sign stealing has been a part of the game forever, and even brings up the 1951 WS which they did the same thing the Astros did.

     
  8. PhiSlammaJamma

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    We will lose either way. If the investigation blows the Red Sox up, it will likely give insight into additional cheating mechanics we used, but did not disclose, but could be investigated. That opens us up to severe penalties. If the investigation takes it easy on the Sox like it did the Astros then we remain the only team cheating at this level. It ain’t good either way. We won’t win. I think the less everyone knows the better, which is why we should be supporting the Sox and Fiers. It can only get worse the more stuff comes out.

    We already know some players lied to Manfred. He had conflicting statements. There is more out there. And the more people talk and get thrown under the bus, the deeper the Astros go.
     
    #2828 PhiSlammaJamma, Feb 19, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  9. SS0101

    SS0101 Member

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    Mookie Betts wasn't as good last year as he was in 2018. In fact Mookie Betts wasnt as good as he was in 2018 in ANY year (and really it isnt that close, although he is still a good player). The red sox are currently being investigated for cheating in 2018 BOTH at home AND on the road. While many of us expect that they wont be punished very harshly, we also know that the report may not really be all that reliable as it is in MLBs best interest to try and sweep anything outside of the Astros under the rug. So one of the main components to being SO much better this year is maybe a cheater as well. And that doesnt even take into account that Mookie is going from Fenway to Dodger Stadium. Also leaving the AL East and Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, and Rogers Center as road stadiums most traveled to for Petco and Oracle Park.
     
  10. lnchan

    lnchan LeonardTX26
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  11. sew

    sew Member

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    He was a pretty shitty batman, but he gets a lot of unwarranted hate. IMO
     
  12. alethios

    alethios Member

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    So Manfred stating that there was no evidence of cheating by the Astros in the 2019 season means nothing to you? Unless you're one of those who thinks he's lying about everything.
     
  13. SS0101

    SS0101 Member

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    Lying about everything, except some of the things that you want to believe.

    **I think that is the correct twitter logic :D
     
  14. dmoneybangbang

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    Lol. Intelligence and counterintelligence.... Who would have thought.
     
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  15. SS0101

    SS0101 Member

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    Interesting

    He stumbles all over his words twice...

    "I was part of a system where it came from upstairs, to dugout, to hit...runner on second base. **Pause** and we eventually caught it."
     
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  16. Houstunna

    Houstunna The Most Unbiased Fan
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    Fool me into what?

    I'll give him a some credit... because I don't mind giving it when it's due (he could've discredited the tattoo reasoning and NOT posted any picture). I haven't seen anyone else post Altuve's ink here or on TV.

    Now, does that little credit mean I'm on Jomboy's side? NOPE

    There's too much of a "all or nothing" mentality with society and by not giving credit where it's due you're doing the same thing most people are doing to the Astros.
     
  17. NewRoxFan

    NewRoxFan Contributing Member

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    More "Astros fans" suing...

     
  18. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Article is from January? I think?

    When Major League Baseball punished the Red Sox and Yankees in September 2017 for conduct related to electronic sign stealing, the league touched on the epicenter of a problem that had been growing for years: The video replay room.

    These rooms, intended to help managers decide whether to challenge umpires’ calls, were established after baseball introduced replay review in 2014. But some teams quickly realized the rooms also were easy places to learn a key piece of information: The sign sequence used by opposing pitchers and catchers.

    Before the 2018 season, after years of barely enforcing its broad rules regarding replay rooms, the league made it crystal clear: Replay rooms cannot be used to help steal signs. The newly clarified rules, in combination with the fines the league levied on the Red Sox and Yankees and warnings it issued in ’17, were intended to end the replay-room chicanery.

    For the Red Sox, and possibly other clubs, it did not.

    Three people who were with the Red Sox during their 108-win 2018 season told The Athletic that during that regular season, at least some players visited the video replay room during games to learn the sign sequence opponents were using. The replay room is just steps from the home dugout at Fenway Park, through the same doors that lead to the batting cage. Every team’s replay staff travels to road games, making the system viable in other parks as well.

    Red Sox sources said this system did not appear to be effective or even viable during the 2018 postseason, when the Red Sox went on to win the World Series. Opponents were leery enough of sign stealing — and knowledgeable enough about it — to constantly change their sign sequences. And, for the first time in the sport’s history, MLB instituted in-person monitors in the replay rooms, starting in the playoffs. For the entire regular season, those rooms had been left unguarded.

    Other clubs might have committed violations similar to Boston’s under the new rules, but The Athletic could not confirm such conduct at this time.

    “It’s cheating,” one person who was with the 2018 Red Sox said. “Because if you’re using a camera to zoom in on the crotch of the catcher, to break down the sign system, and then take that information and give it out to the runner, then he doesn’t have to steal it.”

    The Red Sox declined to comment at the time of publication, and issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “We were recently made aware of allegations suggesting the inappropriate use of our video replay room. We take these allegations seriously and will fully cooperate with MLB as they investigate the matter.”

    Major League Baseball said in a statement, “The Commissioner made clear in a September 15, 2017 memorandum to clubs how seriously he would take any future violation of the regulations regarding use of electronic equipment or the inappropriate use of the video replay room. Given these allegations, MLB will commence an investigation into this matter.”

    Replay room to dugout to baserunner to hitter is less direct — and less egregious — than banging on a garbage can, the method the Astros used at home in 2017 to alert hitters to what was coming on a pitch-to-pitch basis. The Astros’ system was triggered by a center-field camera and a video screen positioned near the dugout; no one on the playing field was involved in stealing the sign.

    The Red Sox’s system was possible only when a runner was on second base, or sometimes even on first base. Nonetheless, a team that is able to discern that information live, during a game, and relay it to base runners has a distinct advantage. A runner at second base can stare in at a flurry of catcher’s signs and know which one matters, then inform the hitter accordingly.

    It’s impossible to say for certain how much this system helped the Red Sox offense. But their lineup dominated in 2018, when they led the league in runs scored.

    In his statement announcing the 2017 penalties, Commissioner Rob Manfred said he received “absolute assurances” from the Red Sox that they would not again engage in illegal sign-stealing activity, adding that he had notified all 30 clubs that any future violations would be subject to more serious sanctions.

    MLB then reinforced Manfred’s comments shortly before the start of the 2018 season, explicitly stating in a three-page memo to all club presidents, general managers and assistant general managers that “Electronic equipment, including game feeds in the Club replay room and/or video room, may never be used during a game for the purpose of stealing the opposing team’s signs.”

    The accounts about the Red Sox’s activity were given to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity. The sources said they are bothered by a subculture of in-game electronic sign stealing that they believe grew in recent years among contending teams, if not more widely across the sport, and who say they want MLB to act in a broad way.

    Like the Astros, the Red Sox operated with a deep suspicion that they were not alone. In some cases, players and coaches arrived in Boston with firsthand experience of sign stealing elsewhere. In recent postseasons, the paranoia was particularly acute.

    “You got a bunch of people who are really good at cheating and everybody knows that each other’s doing it,” said one person with the 2018 Red Sox. “It’s really hard for anybody to get away with it at that point. … If you get a lion and a deer, then the lion can really take advantage of the deer. So there’s a lot of deers out there that weren’t paying attention throughout the season. In the playoffs, now you’re going against a lion.”

    The Red Sox in 2018 were under a new manager, Alex Cora, whom The Athletic previously reported played a key role in devising the sign-stealing system the Astros used in 2017, when he was the team’s bench coach.

    The issue, however, extends beyond individual teams, encompassing the league’s enforcement and upkeep of its own rules.

    Many inside the sport believe there is cheating and then there is cheating-cheating. In this view, the Astros undertook the latter, while more indirect video-room efforts — at least before late 2017 — counted as the former.

    “It was like having an open-book test and the open book is right there next to you and the teacher says, ‘Don’t look at the book,’” said one former player. “Whatever is available to teams, they’re going to take advantage of it. Major League Baseball knows that. If you have this technology that’s available where you have 20 cameras on the field, cameras that can look at signs, I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see: Oh, if I’m in the video room and I see the guy’s signs, you’re basically playing the same game now that was played when I first came into the league and there was a guy on second base. You’re trying to break the code.”
     
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  19. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    The Red Sox’s 2018 system

    By 2018, the Red Sox and other teams knew the rules governing sign stealing were tightening — or at least, they should have known. MLB made it much more difficult to use dugout phones for impermissible communications, and instituted other new rules intended to curb illegal sign stealing.

    On March 27, 2018, MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre sent a three-page memo to all club presidents, GMs and assistant GMs explicitly stating, in bold text, that “To be clear, the use of any equipment in the clubhouse or in a Club’s replay or video rooms to decode an opposing Club’s signs during the game violates this Regulation.”

    However, the league did not begin monitoring replay rooms with on-site personnel until the 2018 postseason, essentially relying on an honor system before that. Even today, with in-person monitors in place, some in the game question whether that enforcement is effective.

    The system the Red Sox employed was not unlike one they had used in previous seasons under a different manager, John Farrell. It was also similar to one the Yankees and other teams had employed before MLB started its crackdown. (Hitters can legally visit the replay room during games to study some video.)

    A staff member in the Red Sox’s video replay room would tell a player the current sign sequence. The player would return to the dugout, delivering the message on foot, rather than through a wearable device or a phone.

    “There was constant movement,” said one person who was with the 2018 Red Sox. “They were always trying to figure out the system.”

    Someone in the dugout would relay the information to the baserunner, leaving the runner with two easy steps: Watch the catcher’s signs and, with body movements, tell the hitter what’s coming.

    In daily hitters’ meetings, Red Sox players and personnel would review their communication methods for that day.

    The runner would let the hitter know if he was aware of the sequence. “Put two feet on the bag or look out into center field, and do something that’s subtle,” as one Red Sox source described it.

    The runner stepping off the bag with the right foot first could mean fastball; left foot first, a breaking ball or off-speed pitch.

    Such a system was far more difficult for opponents to detect than banging on a trash can. It also had a semblance of propriety, incorporating old-school, legal practices: A runner on base still had to use his own eyes before he could put the contraband information to good use.

    Like many teams, the Red Sox often knew pitchers’ sequences heading into a game through the use of video. If a pitcher does not or did not change his sign sequence from his previous outing, that is and was his own responsibility.

    But if the sign sequences were altered on the fly, the Red Sox had a way to adjust almost immediately — by sending a player from the dugout to the video room a few feet away.

    During the 2018 season, suspicion of wrongdoing became rampant across baseball, particularly among contending teams. Some teams took steps in self-defense.

    Brandon Taubman, the assistant general manager fired by the Astros during the 2019 World Series, confronted a Yankees employee in center field at Yankee Stadium in May of 2018. The Astros at that time believed the Yankees were using a camera to zoom in on the catcher’s signs. According to a source, MLB previously had given the Yankees approval to use the camera, which the team viewed as a coaching tool. The Astros did not push the matter with the league at the time, but during the course of the ongoing current investigation have brought it back to MLB’s attention, another source said. [Editor’s note: This paragraph has been updated to include the information from a source that the Yankees had approval to use the camera.]

    Late in the 2018 season, the A’s — whose roster included pitcher Mike Fiers, who confirmed to The Athletic that the Astros had illegally stolen signs the previous year — complained to MLB about Houston. No punishment resulted from that complaint. However, those concerns, and others raised by teams about various opponents, contributed to the league’s increased security during the 2018 postseason.

    During those playoffs, an Astros employee drew suspicion from the Indians and Red Sox when he was seen with a camera near their dugouts during a playoff series. MLB investigated and found that the employee was “monitoring the field.”

    Player movement from team to team brings new information to clubs, creates suspicion, and in some ways, gives incentive for teams to create their own sign-stealing systems. With everyone on such high alert, gamesmanship comes into play as well. Some of the whistling the Yankees reported to hear from the Astros dugout during the 2019 ALCS, sources said, may not have been a form of cheating, but a form of gamesmanship, intended to make the Yankees paranoid and suspicious.

    By the 2018 postseason and the general managers’ meetings that followed in November, the topic had reached a fever pitch, and the GMs were intensely concerned.
     
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  20. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    How baseball got here

    In at least one respect, baseball’s efforts to eliminate electronic sign stealing are similar to its attempts to curb the use of performance-enhancing drugs: The league’s rules to prevent cheating lag behind the cheaters.

    The evolution of the replay room into a hive of sign-stealing activity was years in the making.

    For decades, baseball has permitted game telecasts in clubhouses and locker rooms. (As of the 2019 season, there was a mandatory eight-second delay.) Players, perhaps someone injured or not in the lineup that day, could go inside during a game, sit and watch a TV, and occasionally decode a sign sequence.

    The advent of video replay rooms made it far easier for teams to gain such an edge. The rooms provided a greater array of tools and camera angles in one location, at a time when people at all levels of the sport were fanatically pursuing every advantage.

    As technology around the game exploded, teams installed additional cameras around the ballpark as training and scouting tools. Starting in 2018, with paranoia among clubs peaking, MLB mandated that teams catalog and register those cameras with the league to ensure they were used legally.

    As far back as 2015, the Yankees used the video replay room to learn other teams’ sign sequences, multiple sources told The Athletic. Other teams likely were doing the same. Sources said the Red Sox began doing it no later than 2016.

    “Oftentimes it takes a player to show up and be like ‘You f—— morons, you’re not doing this?’” said one American League executive.

    Reviewing past footage before games was legal then, and remains legal today. That includes a study of sign sequences, or pitch tipping — determining if a pitcher looks or acts differently depending on the pitch he is about to throw.

    But in the middle of the decade, MLB had a broad rule forbidding the use of electronic equipment in sign stealing: “No equipment may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage.”

    The league today says that there was some “gray area” in that rule. Information from the replay room was not communicated directly to the hitter; teams needed a runner on second base to serve as a conduit.

    “I’m just telling you from a broad perspective, living it, it didn’t feel that wrong,” said one player who used the replay-room system with the Yankees as far back as 2015. “It was there for everyone, that’s all.”

    Veteran players who were skilled at picking up tendencies by watching on-field action knew what to look for on video as well.

    “If I could figure out the signs from the telecast, I was not going to hold on to that information,” that former Yankee said. “I was going to share that with whomever.”

    By 2017, with rules governing electronic sign stealing still lacking the specificity that would come the next season, the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros were all using their replay rooms to help decode sign sequences in some way, sources said. There are indications other teams did so as well. One National League general manager expressed a feeling that it was fair game.

    Baseball has a long history of tacitly allowing some forms of cheating, as long as players do not cross certain lines. A little sticky stuff on a pitcher’s fingers is basically ignored; the substance helps with a pitcher’s grip, particularly in the cold. But globs of tar on a pitcher’s neck can lead to a fine and suspension.

    Fittingly, it was a dispute between the game’s oldest rivals, the Red Sox and the Yankees, that brought the matter to light.

    The Yankees had video of a Red Sox athletic trainer looking at a wearable device in the dugout and relaying what he was told to players, which MLB deemed impermissible. The Red Sox filed a counter-complaint, suggesting the Yankees were using a YES Network camera improperly. MLB did not substantiate that claim but did find that the Yankees had used their dugout phone improperly in a past season. Both teams were fined, the Red Sox a larger amount.

    Notably, the punishments for both teams centered on means of communication: a phone and a wearable device. They were not based on the act of using the video replay room alone.

    “The Yankees and the Red Sox at the time were saying, true or not, ‘Oh, every club has people walking from the video room to the dugout, so you’re nailing us for a more efficient means of communication,’” a person with direct knowledge of the league’s investigations said. “The answer was, ‘Yeah, the way you were transmitting it was clearly illegal, right?’ … This is September of ’17. Going before that, (MLB) identified walking from the video room as the gray area.”

    By contrast, the commissioner’s office viewed the punishment for the Red Sox and the Yankees as a line in the sand.

    “The clubs were on notice,” Manfred said in November 2019, “that however the commissioner’s office dealt with these issues historically, going forward, I viewed them with a particular level of seriousness.”

    Yet, people with direct knowledge of the league’s enforcement efforts said that even after the 2017 season, team executives at the general managers meetings did not see a pressing problem with electronic sign stealing. Those executives might not have known the extent of the problem. At least in some franchises, the front offices may have been disconnected from these systems.

    Where things stood in the 2019 season

    MLB revised its rules again in 2019, with Torre’s three-page memo from the previous year expanding into a six-page memo with much tighter restrictions. Among them: the continued monitoring of replay rooms, extending the practice that began in the 2018 postseason.

    The in-person monitors made cheating more difficult. But most alarming to MLB might be an assertion that at least one team, again the Red Sox, found ways to occasionally skirt the system.

    “We had (the monitors) in our back pocket,” one Red Sox person said. “If we wanted to whisper something or they walked out, then we could do something if we needed to.”

    Another Red Sox source confirmed this dynamic.

    A video scout with another club who saw the monitors in action said that their efficacy varied widely depending on the city and the monitor on duty. Some would stay in the video replay room the entire game, while others would disappear for periods of time.

    “Some acted like they were your best friend, root you on. Others would tell on you for the littlest things that weren’t even real,” the scout said. “It was very inconsistent how each person took their job and what they were actually doing. … You knew this guy was a stickler, and with this guy you could get away with some stuff.

    “How does it stop cheating? The teams that were going to cheat were going to cheat, no matter what.”

    A year earlier, sources with two teams had questioned the skills and training of the MLB-appointed monitors.

    “So now MLB is saying, ‘Well, should we hire more of these people?’” one AL executive said in 2018. “It’s like, really, we’re going to hire more poorly trained, incompetent people, you’re going to charge clubs back for the cost of these people? And you’re not actually going to succeed in discouraging teams. You’re just going to have them find a new way to do it.”

    In 2019, the assigned monitor did not always remain in the replay room for the entire game. At least in some parks, they also attempted to guard other areas — a potentially correctable situation for 2020.

    “The Office of the Commissioner will assign a representative to monitor each Club’s replay/video review room(s) for the entire game, and also will monitor each Club’s clubhouse, tunnel, and auxiliary areas,” reads the notice MLB sent to its club in the spring of 2019.

    MLB employs more than 100 monitors and says it will continue to improve training and performance going forward.

    Even if MLB completely locked down replay rooms, what would stop a player or staffer from going into the clubhouse, checking their phone and receiving a message about the sign sequences from afar? Locking down not just video rooms, but dugouts — forcing players to stay on the field of play for the length of games, with exceptions for injuries — may be the only way to create a virtually airtight system.

    The league today also faces a potential issue with wearable technology, and the possibility a hitter could go to the plate with something on his body that could be pinged from a remote location, vibrating to tell him what the next pitch will be. Barring a TSA-style security scan before every hitter goes to the plate, such a system would be almost impossible to stop, except via warnings and the threat of major punishment.

    “I am concerned about the impact of technology in and around the field,” Manfred told the media at MLB’s owners meetings in November 2019. “I think it’s a challenge for our sport and all sports to regulate the use of that technology in a way that makes sure that we have the integrity.”

    The league could mandate that pitchers and catchers communicate via a technological innovation such as an earpiece. At the general manager meetings in November, MLB informed GMs of some potentially available technologies. One would give the pitcher, catcher and potentially infielders a wrist device that would let them know which sign mattered on a pitch-to-pitch basis, effectively changing the sign sequence every pitch.

    “This is no joke,” said one member of the 2018 Red Sox. “I think (MLB needs to say), ‘Listen, we’re going to do everything in our capability to crack down on this.’ Because it has to stop.”
     
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