Houston Astros: Report finds team has stolen signs electronically

HOUSTON - APRIL 06: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow (R) and owner Jim Crane chat during batting practice on opening day before the game against the Colorado Rockies at Minute Maid Park on April 6, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - APRIL 06: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow (R) and owner Jim Crane chat during batting practice on opening day before the game against the Colorado Rockies at Minute Maid Park on April 6, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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A recent report has found that the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros devised a system to steal signs from opponents electronically.

The Houston Astros were the subject of several accusations of sign-stealing during the 2019 MLB season. So much so, that during the ALCS, the New York Yankees devised a system to prevent the team from stealing any signs from pitchers.

This, of course, didn’t stop the Astros from winning the ALCS in walk-off fashion in game seven of the contest.

Now, even after the season has ended, the sign-stealing saga has reared it’s ugly head. This time, four members of the team back in 2017 have confirmed that the team did, in fact, steal signs, according to a report filed by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich in The Athletic.

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One of those team members happens to be Oakland Athletics starter Mike Fiers who played for the Astros during the 2017 season.

According to the report, the method in which Houston worked to steal signs involved “at least two uniformed players” who used a camera that was set up in the outfield.

How the Astros managed to create this system of sign stealing wasn’t really all that complicated and makes you wonder how many other teams might be doing something similar. The reports states:

"A feed from a camera in center field, fixed on the opposing catcher’s signs, was hooked up to a television monitor that was placed on a wall steps from the team’s home dugout at Minute Maid Park, in the tunnel that runs between the dugout and the clubhouse. Team employees and players would watch the screen during the game and try to decode signs — sitting opposite the screen on massage tables in a wide hallway."

Once someone figured out the sequence of signs, it would be communicated to hitters “via a loud noise” like whistling. This is reminiscent of what the Yankees accused the Astros of doing in game one of the ALCS. Unfortunately, after an investigation, MLB cleared the team of any wrongdoing.

The report also states that two sources confirmed that the Houston Astros utilized the system during the 2017 playoffs while one “adamantly” denies it. What we do know is that they won the World Series that season, now this begs the question of how legitimate it all was.

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As MLB continues its investigation into the Astros, they must also consider prior reports from both the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox of former team employee Kyle McLaughlin, who was caught taking pictures near the dugout prior to games in 2018. They must also take into consideration all of the accusations leveled against Houston this postseason to prevent them, and any team, of wrongdoing moving forward.