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2020 MLB Sign Stealing Discussion


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36 minutes ago, hailtoyourvictor said:

 

I think that's a silly way to look at it. Giving one team a massively unfair advantage to steal signs at home because the away team can get that advantage at home, too, is not good for the game (in my opinion).

 

 

hes still trying to cover for Boston and their tainted 2018 title. lol.  its comical at this point

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It amazes me the Astros never traded for Brett Gardner... Dude was a perfect fit for their system.

There is, here you go:  

Astros need to stop and apologizing and just turn full heel. This should be their new coaching staff... Head Coach: Carlos Beltran Hitting Coach: Pete Rose Pitching Coach: Roger Clemens

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2 hours ago, hailtoyourvictor said:

I think that's a silly way to look at it. Giving one team a massively unfair advantage to steal signs at home because the away team can get that advantage at home, too, is not good for the game (in my opinion).

I said in a sense as in it evens out.  Not that that is what should happen.  Again, use technology to hide the signals once and for all and stop with the stupid fingers signals.

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5 hours ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

I said in a sense as in it evens out.  Not that that is what should happen.  Again, use technology to hide the signals once and for all and stop with the stupid fingers signals.

 

What about game 163s? What about 1 game wild cards?

 

Not that "it evening out in a sense" is a good argument, anyways.

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So, though it’s been 12 years since I’ve posted on RW, I’ve followed the threads every year. The specious arguments here have compelled me to come out of the woodwork. 
 

No one is denying that sign stealing is part of the game. No one is denying that technology has been involved throughout the history of baseball. But, while technology was occasionally employed (example from 1898 here, 1951, 1987, etc) it seems that it has become so rampant it recent years that multiple teams, including and perhaps spearheaded by the Red Sox, felt compelled to complain to the commissioners office. This led to the commissioners office releasing a memo to the GMs of all 30 teams officially declaring the use of technology to be illegal, and that any violation of said memo would be met with harsh repercussions. 

 

You may feel that this policy is misguided. You may (and I would agree) argue that teams will continue to maximize production using technology and the MLB would best to realize this and incorporate the technology to prevent further scandals like this. What makes the two investigated teams stand out is that they brazenly continued to use technologic means immediately after the commissioner's memo. So brazenly, that players felt compelled to speak openly about it. So brazenly that owners have, reportedly, privately complained to the commissioners office about the leniency of the punishments. And most astonishingly, so brazenly that multiple stars of the game have publicly complained on social media. 

 

The issue is that they directly, and institutionally, disregarded the commissioner's direct memo on the topic. In doing that, they are degrading his authority. That is why the crime is so serious. 

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  Marc Normandin: Jeff Luhnow is Gone. Jeff Luhnow is Everywhere You Look (registration required)

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Whether Luhnow comes back or not is of little concern at present. We’ll set that bridge on fire when we get to it. What matters is that his ideas and his ideals are still in MLB, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Between the growth of the Astros’ management tree, the rise of tanking across the league, the fallout from the sign-stealing debacle, and Luhnow’s plan that helped spearhead the movement for more than one-quarter of Minor League Baseball’s teams to disaffiliate, we’re going to be dealing with the aftereffects of his time in the league for years.

Back in November, Bill Madden of the NY Daily News broke many of the details of the plan to disaffiliate 42 minor-league teams. One of the bits that stood out the most was this, which detailed who was responsible for the motion, as well as who gave it its second and third:

Quote

I’m told that when [commissioner Rob] Manfred presented this plan to the owners a few months ago, the vote was unanimous 30-0 to move forward. It was the Luhnow, the godfather of analytics, and the Astros who first conceived of it, and they were quickly joined by the Brewers and Orioles, whose GMs — David Stearns and Mike Elias — both worked under Luhnow with the Astros. 

 

Luhnow immediately being backed by his former assistant GMs—Stearns became the Astros’ assistant GM after the 2012 season, and Elias replaced him when Stearns was hired by the Brewers after the 2015 campaign—is no surprise. All three come from the same background, and because of that have the same obsession with McKinseyian efficiency, the one that’s led them to want to get rid of minor-league teams and players they believe are a waste of resources. However, none of them want to severely reduce their own number of affiliates if, in doing so, another team might gain an advantage just by having more lottery tickets in their organization. The Astros already ditched two short-season affiliates, but that’s as much as they’d dare for now. If everyone cuts down on their minor-league teams, as Luhnow and Co. want, though, then it’s simply back to who can make the most productive minor-league players with their methods. Given the Astros’ faith in analytics and biometrics and the ability to build players without even having them play games, they and their similarly minded counterparts believe they’d then have the upper hand in player development.

The rest of the league might not share the exact same reasoning as this trio, but they still enthusiastically endorsed the plan to get rid of 42 clubs. Between a mix of owners who were happy to save any amount of money, to ones who believe cutting more than 1,000 minor-league jobs will put a stop to those uppity minor-league players asking to be paid more than poverty-level wages, there were plenty of reasons to join forces with Luhnow and his former assistant GMs. They don’t need Luhnow around to still enjoy the fruits of his plan, nor do they need him to push to keep fighting this fight: the owners already smell blood in the water, and that’s all it takes.

 

 

Normandin goes on to call out the Orioles, Brewers, and Dodgers, among other clubs, for adopting aspects of Houston's organizational philosophy, concluding with a dire warning for the future:

Quote

Were the Dodgers cheated by the Astros and Red Sox in consecutive World Series, or were they just worse at cheating? Are player breakouts from the last few years real, or are they a product of intricate, tech-based sign-stealing? Will these punishments slow said thievery through fear, or will teams simply adjust their schemes? Are we going to wonder if every magically timed home run, every breakout season in 2020, is real or illicitly aided by some kind of tech that shouldn’t be utilized on the field? How do we separate what’s sign-stealing from the affects of a constantly changing baseball? 

I don’t know. You don’t know! All we can know for sure, other than that MLB must hate all of these pesky questions being asked as they enter into sports gambling agreements, is that our skepticism is in large part thanks to Luhnow and the attitudes he brought to the Astros and to MLB as a whole through them. He might be gone, for one season or forever, but the aftershocks he leaves behind will shake the very integrity of the game. No mere suspension is going to change that.

 

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2 hours ago, cdg02001 said:

So, though it’s been 12 years since I’ve posted on RW, I’ve followed the threads every year. The specious arguments here have compelled me to come out of the woodwork. 
 

No one is denying that sign stealing is part of the game. No one is denying that technology has been involved throughout the history of baseball. But, while technology was occasionally employed (example from 1898 here, 1951, 1987, etc) it seems that it has become so rampant it recent years that multiple teams, including and perhaps spearheaded by the Red Sox, felt compelled to complain to the commissioners office. This led to the commissioners office releasing a memo to the GMs of all 30 teams officially declaring the use of technology to be illegal, and that any violation of said memo would be met with harsh repercussions. 

 

You may feel that this policy is misguided. You may (and I would agree) argue that teams will continue to maximize production using technology and the MLB would best to realize this and incorporate the technology to prevent further scandals like this. What makes the two investigated teams stand out is that they brazenly continued to use technologic means immediately after the commissioner's memo. So brazenly, that players felt compelled to speak openly about it. So brazenly that owners have, reportedly, privately complained to the commissioners office about the leniency of the punishments. And most astonishingly, so brazenly that multiple stars of the game have publicly complained on social media. 

 

The issue is that they directly, and institutionally, disregarded the commissioner's direct memo on the topic. In doing that, they are degrading his authority. That is why the crime is so serious. 

 

Great post, made even better by the fact you still have the team in your sig from presumably the last time you posted.  I completely forgot about Billy Butler. 😄

Edited by 89Topps
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22 hours ago, MrBrown said:

You could see Bregman had more to hide with his response to questions.  "The commissioner made his report"  What a chump.  Altuve warning everyone not to ripoff his jersey and then beelining into the dugout to change his shirt.  I'm glad Judge removed his congratulations tweet to Altuve.  No one respects those chumps anymore

Bregman’s public response was especially galling - taking nothing away from Altuve.  Wow, it’s crazy that no one coached these kids on how to answer questions about this before now.  I am worried for their physical health this upcoming season.

Edited by BMcP
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On 1/22/2020 at 9:25 AM, fletch44 said:

I disagree here. Sign stealing has been going on since the dawn of baseball. The only difference in this case is 1) the tools being used 2) they were caught on video and 3) we're living in an era of constant feigned outrage backed up by 24/7 media spraying gasoline on it to drive traffic. If someone was caught stealing signs 40+ years ago, I'm guessing someone would have gotten beaned, it would have been noted in a game write up and it would have been forgotten in a week.

Connie Mack: “The object is to keep your signals secret so that your opponents won’t get wise to them."

Sparky Anderson: “If you can’t hide your signs, you’ve got problems.”

Orel Hershiser “Winning and losing is a cutthroat business, and stealing signs is a fair part of  gamesmanship. It’s not cheating.”

Stealing signs is a part of the game. If you want to say we're not going to allow some forms of it, then fine. Give them a slap on the wrist and move on. This was done. But let's not act like this is some next level form of cheating that calls for sweeping player bans and major reforms. That is silly and reactionary and does far more damage to baseball than the "crime". It's not even in the same ballpark as players taking money to intentionally lose !

Action item for the league: Start researching and testing digital forms of communication for the catcher and pitcher to signal with.

In the mean time, action item for players . Change your signs.

Problem solved.

 

 

Holy smokes dude, there's a massive amount of context withdrawal in those quotes lmao.

Those guys are talking sign stealing in the traditional sense, which is all well and good. 

The issue here isn't just run of the mill sign stealing, which is fine. It's baseball espionage. Massive massive difference.

Anyone beating the drum on merely sign stealing is just a strawman. The issue here is an organized scheme of technologically advanced espionage.

I suppose hacking opposing teams computer networks for stealing scouting reports is okay too?

Edited by StevieStats
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13 hours ago, BMcP said:

Bregman’s public response was especially galling - taking nothing away from Altuve.  Wow, it’s crazy that no one coached these kids on how to answer questions about this before now.  I am worried for their physical health this upcoming season.

Bregman is just a douche. Coaching answers isn't the issue 😄

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On 1/23/2020 at 12:50 AM, jfazz23 said:

 

hes still trying to cover for Boston and their tainted 2018 title. lol.  its comical at this point

Hey I'm a Sox fan, and been with you lockstep on this and I have even stated if the Sox used a similar scheme the banners need to be taken down by the team and not acknowledged -- really they should be stripped but the league won't.

However, it's premature to call 2018 tainted because we don't know yet if they employed a similar scheme and if they did so in the playoffs... If they did, have at it, but as of now we have only seen Cora's wrongdoing in Houston -- Sox investigation ongoing.

Just saying... Not tainted... Yet... But if it is team needs to remove all mention of that 2018 season and not acknowledge it.

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29 minutes ago, StevieStats said:

Hey I'm a Sox fan, and been with you lockstep on this and I have even stated if the Sox used a similar scheme the banners need to be taken down by the team and not acknowledged -- really they should be stripped but the league won't.

However, it's premature to call 2018 tainted because we don't know yet if they employed a similar scheme and if they did so in the playoffs... If they did, have at it, but as of now we have only seen Cora's wrongdoing in Houston -- Sox investigation ongoing.

Just saying... Not tainted... Yet... But if it is team needs to remove all mention of that 2018 season and not acknowledge it.

I’m sure all we need to do is ignore the fact that Cora got canned and the results of the investigation are still pending.

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42 minutes ago, BMcP said:

I’m sure all we need to do is ignore the fact that Cora got canned and the results of the investigation are still pending.

He got canned for the Houston report.  That report made him the mastermind and chief henchman there.  I'm sure stuff will come up in Boston but even if nothing comes up he would still be gone for that Astros report.  Period.

Also the Red Sox investigation is into the use of the official MLB video tape room installed and used for manager challenges.  That room was not monitored by MLB during the regular season.  But it was monitored during the playoffs so no nothing would have gone on then for sure.  So the regular season only is under investigation as far as I've read.

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1 hour ago, StevieStats said:

Holy smokes dude, there's a massive amount of context withdrawal in those quotes lmao.

Those guys are talking sign stealing in the traditional sense, which is all well and good. 

The issue here isn't just run of the mill sign stealing, which is fine. It's baseball espionage. Massive massive difference.

Anyone beating the drum on merely sign stealing is just a strawman. The issue here is an organized scheme of technologically advanced espionage.

I suppose hacking opposing teams computer networks for stealing scouting reports is okay too?

I never said it was "okay". My response was mostly to point out the absurdity of comparing this to the Black Sox scandal. Sign stealing is a part of the game. This is a new variant of sign stealing that is not aloud. OK. So fine them, suspend the people who organized the system and maybe dock them a couple draft picks. To this point I think the response by MLB has been appropriate. But let's not act like this is some new concept introduced to baseball that requires sweeping lifetime bans. It's not. Existing concept - just a more effective variant.  
 
And speaking of straw men, no I don't think stealing signs with a camera is comparable to hacking into computer systems and stealing scouting reports. Hacking into a private computer system is literally illegal and subject to arrest and potentially punishable by prison time . Surely you don't think the participants in this should be arrested or jailed. I hope not. I need Springer in my keeper league !
 
 
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25 minutes ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

He got canned for the Houston report.  That report made him the mastermind and chief henchman there.  I'm sure stuff will come up in Boston but even if nothing comes up he would still be gone for that Astros report.  Period.

Also the Red Sox investigation is into the use of the official MLB video tape room installed and used for manager challenges.  That room was not monitored by MLB during the regular season.  But it was monitored during the playoffs so no nothing would have gone on then for sure.  So the regular season only is under investigation as far as I've read.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/amp/MLB-told-video-monitors-to-listen-for-Astros-14844792.phpI’m 

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7 hours ago, fletch44 said:
I never said it was "okay". My response was mostly to point out the absurdity of comparing this to the Black Sox scandal. Sign stealing is a part of the game. This is a new variant of sign stealing that is not aloud. OK. So fine them, suspend the people who organized the system and maybe dock them a couple draft picks. To this point I think the response by MLB has been appropriate. But let's not act like this is some new concept introduced to baseball that requires sweeping lifetime bans. It's not. Existing concept - just a more effective variant.  
 
And speaking of straw men, no I don't think stealing signs with a camera is comparable to hacking into computer systems and stealing scouting reports. Hacking into a private computer system is literally illegal and subject to arrest and potentially punishable by prison time . Surely you don't think the participants in this should be arrested or jailed. I hope not. I need Springer in my keeper league !
 
 

Spying on people with spy cameras is illegal and also subject to arrest and penalty as well, just so you know.

But anyway, forget the hacking... This is not about sign stealing, it's about espionage and spying on opposing teams.

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5 minutes ago, GC Tacos said:

Keuchel said they didn’t cheat EVERY game. We need to cut them some slack. 

And he is sorry and he feels his former teammates should too while some in this thread say the Astros did nothing wrong and teams have been stealing signs since 1898... 

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12 hours ago, shakestreet said:

And he is sorry and he feels his former teammates should too while some in this thread say the Astros did nothing wrong and teams have been stealing signs since 1898... 

Keuchel has been the smartest of the bunch to this point by actually coming out and apologizing. I mean, he is only doing so to help save face and probably doesnt regret it in the least. He has kinda gone forgotten in the whole thing because he is no longer part of the Astros organization, and i feel most pitchers will go forgotten in this ordeal because they didnt really benefit from the situation. 

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Saying ur sorry after u get caught does not mean it was the only time u did it. All the Astros players and organization are under a cloud now. There is a term called mob mentality. It means people do things just because they get caught up with other people. Baseball wimped out focusing only on management and ex players. Every Astro should have been punished who was involved in the scandal. Maybe MLB should make them start every game behind 1-0 this year to actually punish the team and players?

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23 minutes ago, hailfire4 said:

Saying ur sorry after u get caught does not mean it was the only time u did it. All the Astros players and organization are under a cloud now. There is a term called mob mentality. It means people do things just because they get caught up with other people. Baseball wimped out focusing only on management and ex players. Every Astro should have been punished who was involved in the scandal. Maybe MLB should make them start every game behind 1-0 this year to actually punish the team and players?

That would be interesting, lol. It def wouldnt fly though when considering the money being thrown around in the gambling world.

I wonder if MLB would have ever considered suspending literally every player on the roster for 'x' amount of games? Even those no longer with the organization and playing else where?

Me personally? If i was the commish, i would have opted to go that route. I would place further punishment on the organization having to field minor league rosters for 'x' amount of games, as well as punishing the players by not participating in the games which means less $ per paycheck, lack of AB's which would translate into a loss of ASG votes, MVP votes, incentives in their contracts, along with many other things.

MLB came down way too soft in this situation.

Edited by jonninho
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Here's the pattern I see in American sports cheating history:  cheat to lose - banned for life.  cheat to win - who cares.

Are we supposed to believe that those meting out the punishments are moralistic or is it that the billionaires are completely intolerant of a style of subversion which psychologically paints them in a negative light?  After all, we ask ourselves, how could a satisfied employee(s) even dream of contradicting that most fundamental of sporting virtues, playing to win? 

Or have we rationalized cheating to win as an integral part of our culture, and thus, a lesser crime?

 

 

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[Posts removed.  Until there is confirmation from a reputable source, rumors on Twitter about Mike Fiers being involved with an underage girl are not going to be a topic of conversation here.  The motives to discredit him are obvious, and even if it were true, it would not change anything about the sign stealing, which is the topic of this thread.]

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Stop the presses...Looks like we were all wrong considering the outlook on the light punishment MLB handed out to HOU. In a wicked twist of fate Dusty Baker has become the Astro’s manager...Toothpick included. Suddenly the punishment seems to have fit the crime considering Baker’s lack of managerial acumen. The rest of the league rejoices while quietly HOU weeps...

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