A.J. Hinch

Report: MLB 'found no evidence' Astros used buzzers to steal signs

Report: MLB 'found no evidence' Astros used buzzers to steal signs

Just when you thought Major League Baseball's sign-stealing scandal was close to being settled, a whole new can of worms was opened up on Thursday.

Rumors swirled on social media about the Houston Astros using buzzers underneath their jerseys to illegally steal signs. These allegations are separate from Houston's initial sign-stealing scandal that led to the firings of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

But according to Joel Sherman of MLB Network, MLB didn't find any evidence during its investigation pointing to wearable devices being used for sign-stealing.


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Sherman also tweeted a statement from Astros star Jose Altuve, via Altuve's agent Scott Boras. In the statement, Altuve denies ever wearing electronic devices to gain an advantage:

While MLB didn't find anything to suggest the Astros used the buzzers, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. At this point, Houston doesn't exactly have the benefit of the doubt. True or not, it's hard to believe these allegations will go away any time soon.

There already has been plenty of fallout from the initial sign-stealing scandal. In addition to Hinch and Luhnow being relieved of their duties, the Boston Red Sox and manager Alex Cora mutually agreed to part ways. In its investigation, MLB found that Cora played a central role in the Astros' scandal when he was Houston's bench coach in 2017.

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L.A. City Council to vote on resolution asking MLB to strip Red Sox, Astros of titles

L.A. City Council to vote on resolution asking MLB to strip Red Sox, Astros of titles

The Los Angeles City Council will vote on a resolution Friday requesting that baseball commissioner Rob Manfred strip the Boston Red Sox of the 2018 World Series title and the Houston Astros of their 2017 Series title and award both to the team that lost those Fall Classics, the L.A. Dodgers.

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Council members Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz put forth the resolution on Wednesday in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal that led to Red Sox manager Alex Cora losing his job and Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow being fired.

Cora, who was the Astros' bench coach in 2017, was at the center of the MLB report detailing the Astros sign-stealing scheme. MLB is continuing to investigate the Red Sox, managed by Cora, for employing a similar system in 2018.

The Red Sox beat the Dodgers four games to one in 2018, the year after the Astros went seven games to defeat the Dodgers. 

The resolution asks that "the Commissioner of Major League Baseball remove the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles from the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox; and hereby requests that the Commissioner of Major League Baseball recall the World Series Commissioner’s Trophies and award them to the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

“This is an equity and justice thing,” Cedillo told the Los Angeles Times. “Who was the best team in 2017? Who was the best team in 2018? It was the Dodgers."


 

Terry Francona on Alex Cora's downfall: 'You feel like you got kicked in the stomach...'

Terry Francona on Alex Cora's downfall: 'You feel like you got kicked in the stomach...'

Alex Cora played for Terry Francona with the Red Sox from 2005-08 and the two have remained good friends as Francona's managerial career took him to Cleveland and Cora assumed Francona's old job in Boston in 2017.

Francona told WEEI on Wednesday that it hurts seeing Cora let go by the Red Sox after the former utility infielder on Francona's successful teams in Boston - including the 2007 world champions - was implicated in a sign-stealing scandal.

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"Personally, because Alex is such a good friend of mine, you feel like you got kicked in the stomach a little bit. You never want to see your friends -- you know, things happen like that," Francona said on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show. 

Francona said he couldn't comment further on the punishments handed out by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who suspended now-former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a year before they were subsequently fired Monday. Cora, a former Astros bench coach, was the central figure in MLB's report detailing the Astros' 2017 sign-stealing system. 

MLB is continuing to investigate similar charges of the Red Sox employing a similar sign-stealing system that used the video replay room in 2018, Cora's first year as Sox manager. Cora and the Red Sox announced a mutual "parting of ways" on Tuesday night. 

"Even if I was allowed to answer, I'm not too sure what my answer would be, and that's the truth," Francona said. "It's kind of confusing." 

The confusion and crossing the line comes when technology is used to steal signs. Decoding an opponent's signals during a game strictly by observation has always been a part of the game.

"In our game, you go all the way back to the 1950s and some of these things get romanticized. It's part of baseball," Francona said. "And then all of a sudden, you have all of this technology and it gets a little confusing. I think there probably were some lines that were crossed."

Francona took exception to the idea that the Astros, and perhaps the Red Sox, have been caught doing what all teams do. 

"Yeah, I don’t think people should say that because that’s not true," he said. "I would take offense to that."

Francona said the scandal doesn't change his high regard for Cora and Hinch. 

This will pass," he said. "You're talking about two guys in A.J. and Alex Cora that are really good guys. You don't want to see it happen to people, you don't want to see it happen to the game, but they're still really good people, and that's never going to change."