The AL powerhouse Houston Astros have long been suspected of stealing signs, but new information came to light Tuesday.
In a feature from The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported that the Astros used a camera in center field during their 2017 World Series run to help steal signs electronically.
Yankees star Aaron Judge summed up the report succinctly.
A's pitcher Mike Fiers was on that Astros team, and earned a World Series ring of his own. Now with Oakland, he not only confirmed the setup of technology but also commented on how it was affecting the game.
“I don’t know if we really had any hard proof, but I’m sure there was (some evidence of other teams’ conduct),” Fiers told The Athletic. “Going into the playoffs, we had veterans like Brian McCann -- we went straight to multiple signs (with our pitchers). We weren’t going to mess around. We were sure there were teams out there that were trying certain things to get an edge and win ballgames. I wouldn’t say there was hard evidence. But it’s hard to catch teams at home. There are so many things you can use to win at home.”
Fiers then added how there were some players who didn't like it, as they would prefer not to know what was coming. But clearly, there were guys that benefitted as well.
“I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they’re going in there not knowing,” Fiers said.
After the story was released, the Astros released the following statement:
A former player told NBC Sports California on Tuesday most teams participate in stealing signs in some fashion, but the Astros flirt with the line of what is legal and what is not.
"The Astros are super talented," the player said. "But ... they will do whatever they need to do to get an edge."
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"In my honest opinion, they got beat by their old bench coach Alex Cora," he continued. "He knew all the Astros secrets, weaknesses, everything. Then, this year it seemed like the Astros only hit well when pitchers were tipping pitches. It happened with [Stephen] Strasburg the first two innings of Game 6. He cleaned it up in between innings and Houston couldn't hit him."
"Teams steal signs, it's been happening for years," the former player added. "Astros take it to another level."
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