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Cal Ripken Jr. recalls how he used to deal with sign-stealers

Cal Ripken Jr. recalls how he used to deal with sign-stealers

Before the coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the 2020 season, the main storyline across Major League Baseball was the Astros' sign-stealing scandal. 

There was a widespread rage aimed at players like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa for their involvement — and lack of punishment — in a sign-stealing scheme involving a camera in center field feeding a catcher's signals to Houston's clubhouse in real-time, which would then be relayed to the batter before the pitcher delivered. 

Sign-stealing in baseball is nearly as old as the game itself, but introducing technology into the equation gave the Astros an unfair advantage that helped them win a World Series in 2017. Before, baserunners on second base would look at the catcher's signs and try to deliver them to the batter if they could figure it out. 

It wasn't a perfect system by any means, especially compared to the Astros, but on some occasions, it would work out for the hitter. Shortstops like Cal Ripken Jr., who noticed a baserunner trying to steal signs, had his own form of sign-stealing justice. 

"In a really harsh way, you tell the pitcher to put down a curveball, the guy on second tells the hitter that a curveball's coming, and then you throw a pitch [at the batter's head]," Ripken said on The Takeout podcast with CBS' Major Garrett. "And I'll tell you that you break the trust between that sign-stealing scheme that's going on with the hitter." 

Nothing sends a message like a 90+ mph fastball headed straight for your head. 

Still, almost by baseball fan alive would rather deal with the Astros' mess than live in a world without baseball. MLB has not yet returned from its delay, though commissioner Rob Manfred has said on multiple occasions he expects baseball to return in 2020

Once the game returns, Ripken believes it'll have a calming effect on the public and serve as a means of escape from the challenges of everyday life during a global pandemic. 

“I think the big thing is, they just want to get back and provide people with the chance to escape or look at something in an entertaining sort of way,” Ripken said. “It makes them feel good, it makes them feel comfortable.”

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Orioles add former No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman to 60-man player pool

Orioles add former No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman to 60-man player pool

Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 pick of the 2018 MLB Draft, was among six players the Orioles added to their 60-man player pool for the 2020 season, manager Brandon Hyde announced Friday.

Keegan Akin, Michael Baumann, Isaac Mattson, Cedric Mullins, Taylor Davis and Rutschman joined the team’s main camp in Baltimore on Friday and will be relegated to the Orioles’ alternative site once it opens. DL Hall, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, is expected to join the secondary group as well.

Rutschman, 22, was named a consensus top-five overall prospect in the minor leagues by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus last winter before spring training began. It was the first time a No. 1 overall pick was already a unanimous top-five prospect in his first year of eligibility since Bryce Harper in 2011.

RELATED: ONE YEAR LATER, ADLEY RUTSCHMAN STILL WARRANTED THE PRE-DRAFT HYPE

Though he only played 37 games across three levels of the minor leagues last season, Rutschman finished the year at Single-A Delmarva with a .254 batting average and .774 OPS across 154 plate appearances. He was invited to the major-league club’s spring training camp, during which he went 1-for-9 with a walk but provided plenty of fireworks during batting practice.

Following Friday’s moves, the Orioles’ player poll now sits at 53 players.

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Orioles name John Means 2020 Opening Day starter

Orioles name John Means 2020 Opening Day starter

The Orioles announced lefty pitcher John Means will start on the mound on Opening Day.

Orioles second-year manager Brandon Hyde made the announcement Friday.

Means is entering his third year in MLB after a breakout year in 2019. After pitching only three innings his rookie season, Means recorded 155.0 last year. In his sophomore season, Means started 27 of his 31 games played, finished with a 12-11 record and a 3.60 ERA. 

Last July, he was the Orioles lone representative in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.

The Orioles will face the Boston Red Sox on the road on July 24 to open their season. The game will mark the first of a three-game series and five-game road trip before the O's return to Baltimore for their home opener against the Miami Marlins on July 29. 

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