After the Houston Astros hosted a press conference Thursday to address their use of technology to steal signs during the 2017-18 seasons and subsequent punishments handed down by MLB, Nationals starter Max Scherzer was asked by reporters at the teams’ shared spring training facility in West Palm Beach for his initial reactions of the scandal that’s dominated the sport’s headlines this winter.
“We heard what was said,” Scherzer said. “They crossed a moral line and cheated but they gotta answer to it so it’s not really for us to speak for them. They need to speak for themselves so they need to talk to the fans of baseball and explain what happened.”
Scherzer is the Nationals’ representative to the MLB Players Association and has been an active voice in the past on key issues in the game. While he repeated multiple times that the questions being asked to him be directed to the Astros themselves, Scherzer did say that he’s spoken with MLBPA officials about how baseball can prevent a future sign-stealing scandal from unfolding.
“We’re in discussions right now with the union and MLB about what the future is going to look like in terms of tech and what replays and cameras and what’s going to be allowed going forward,” Scherzer said. “We’re in ongoing discussions with the union, union is in discussions with MLB. We’re trying to make sure that this can’t happen again.”
The Nationals beat the Astros in six games to win the 2019 World Series. Fellow starter Patrick Corbin told reporters earlier Thursday morning that Washington “heard things” from other teams about the Astros’ scheme and prepared for it by devising an elaborate system of signs that was more difficult to decode even if Houston was using video in real time.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s report on the investigation into the Astros only found evidence of the scheme being employed in the two seasons prior to last year. Regardless of how long they used it, Scherzer didn’t refrain from speaking frankly about the difference between what the Astros did and what’s considered acceptable sign stealing in the major leagues.
“There’s normal baseball ways of stealing signs and then there’s crossing the line,” Scherzer said. “And we know what each side is.”
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