Multiple teams are being investigated by Major League Baseball for stealing signs from catchers.
The Houston Astros were exposed by a former player, who anonymously told Atlantic news reporter, Ken Rosenthal, that the team stole signs illegally to help their playoff success in 2017. The Astros would later go on to win the World Series that same year.
The bench coach for Houston, or assistant manager, Alex Cora, is rumored by MLB investigators to be the creator of the sign-stealing strategy Houston used.
The Washington Post reports that the Astros allegedly set up a camera behind centerfield for the team’s replay room, which helped the manager AJ Hinch to challenge a close play by the umpire. The camera behind centerfield would be connected to a video monitor that revealed the sign that the catcher was giving to the pitcher.
Tyler Brown, a business major who plays baseball for Florida Tech, said the news shocked him.
“I could not believe it,” Brown said. “As more evidence was being revealed, I didn’t want to believe it happened, but it did.”
According to multiple news outlets, players would bang on a trash can in the dugout as a form of communication to tell the hitter what pitch was coming. Hinch and the Astros general manager, Jeff Luhnow, are suspended for a full season. also parted ways with the team, leaving them unemployed. The team was fined $5 million and lost their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
“I definitely do not agree with the punishments, I think it is nowhere near harsh enough,” said Dominic Fraticelli, a Florida Tech freshman in software engineering and an avid baseball fan. Fraticelli has followed the scandal since the news broke.
“If you ban Pete Rose, the greatest hitter in all of baseball, for life because he gambled on games and there’s no evidence of him fixing games, then why wouldn’t you ban people who deliberately cheat the game to give themselves an advantage?” Fraticelli said.
Cora was named manager of the Red Sox in 2018. He also led the team to a World Series championship in his first year as manager. The Red Sox are also currently being investigated for illegally stealing signs as well. According to ESPN, Boston had a replay room as well, and players would sneak into the replay room to get the signs from the catcher to help their hitters. There was no one ever monitoring the replay room, so players could freely come in and steal signs. Cora is no longer the manager of the Red Sox, and a replacement for the Red Sox team manager has not yet been chosen.
Carlos Beltran, a former player for the team, was also involved in the scandal. After being named manager of the Mets this winter, he resigned from his position after the cheating scandal escalated.
Houston is being investigated after recently learning they had buzzing devices hidden in their jerseys. Investigations have discovered that the number of buzzes felt alerted what pitch was coming.
“I was stunned to hear this,” Fraticelli said. “Not only because I was a Yankees fan and we had lost to them two out of the last three years in the postseason, but more because it corrupts the integrity of the game.”
“It is still uncertain how the MLB will handle the situation so the cheating scandals do not occur again in the future,” said Jeff Korte, assistant baseball coach for Florida Tech.
“They should randomly pull players from each team and discuss how they could improve the integrity of the game to combat future malpractice,” Korte added.
The league is continuously investigating the scandal, as spring training workouts approach in early February.
“Baseball has had this problem since the 1919 Chicago White Sox to the steroid era,” Korte said. “After thinking about it more, I realized how hard it was to play the game because people are always looking to find ways to make it easier.”