On Tuesday, The Athletic reported that the Houston Astros engaged in an elaborate sign-stealing scheme that involved cameras, electronic transmissions and trash cans during their 2017 World Series run.
On Wednesday, the same reporters — Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich — reported that current managers of two other MLB teams joined A.J. Hinch in devising the scheme.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán both “played a key role in devising the sign-stealing system the team used that season,” according to the report.
Cora, Beltrán were members of ‘17 Astros
Cora was the Astros bench coach and Beltrán was a designated hitter and outfielder in Houston in his final season as an MLB player in 2017. Hinch was and remains the Astros manager.
Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers was among four people associated with the team in 2017 to expose and explain the system to The Athletic. The other three sources remained anonymous.
How the alleged scheme works
According to the report, a camera in center field would relay signs from opposing players to a TV in the Houston dugout.
Astros players and employees would then bang code on trash cans for hitters to hear that relayed what pitch to expect.
Beltrán’s sign-stealing reputation
According to another report from The Athletic published earlier in November and unrelated to the sign-stealing controversy, Beltrán had developed a reputation “as one of the best in the game at stealing signs,” an asset in his role as Mets manager.
That characterization was made in terms of traditional, legal sign-stealing that relies on players using their own eyes — without the aid of electronics — to decipher opponents’ strategies and exploit weaknesses.
Wednesday’s report sheds new light on that characterization.
Beltrán: ‘I don’t call that cheating’
Beltrán responded to The Athletic’s latest report.
“We took a lot of pride studying pitchers in the computer – that is the only technology that I use and I understand,” Beltrán told The Athletic via text. “It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details.
“(In) the game of baseball, guys for years have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn’t cover the signs from second base, of course players are going to take advantage. I don’t call that cheating. I call that using the small details to take advantage. I think baseball is doing a great job adding new technology to make sure the game is even for both teams.”
Cora and Hinch declined comment to The Athletic.
The Astros announced after the initial report that they are conducting an investigation alongside MLB into the accusations.
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