For the Houston Astros, it’s getting higher and deeper. Obviously as the evidence continues to mount, there’s an overwhelming sense that major punishment is coming the Astros’ way.
Now – in an interesting twist – Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic MLB has a story that a front-office executive of the Astros’ sent an e-mail detailing the plan to steal signs in August of 2017. Indeed, the allegations facing the Astros’ are now documented from a team executive in writing.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 17, 2019
Furthermore, here is how the e-mail that The Athletic dug up reads to start:
“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout,” the email’s sender wrote in a message from August of 2017. “What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings.”
While the Astros’ decline comment on this particular angle of the story, Rosenthal writes that ’email at least reflects the mindset of the team’s front office in 2017, when another sign-stealing effort was already underway’.
Without question, that’s pretty damning.
Moreover, there’s another quote from an Astros’ scout who was involved with the sign stealing project of 2017. Undeniably, it spells out what the Astros were up to prior to facing the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.
“It just goes to the story, for 2017, we were asked to electronically cheat in the playoffs.”
Of course, this unnamed scout is talking about the use of a camera to record and steal signs from the opposition. However, Rosenthal’s story touches on several scouts and general managers speaking on sign stealing and it being a common practice. Then, he drops a bombshell quote from a current scout. It deals with sign-stealing with the use of technology.
“That’s (b.s.),” the scout outside the organization said. “When you start bringing in help, that’s when it crosses the line and is unacceptable. … Other guys would call them out. If you’re sitting there with a camera trying to steal signs and somebody saw it, you get ratted out quickly.”
Obviously we all know why this story is hitting us at our respective cores. For example, Yu Darvish talked about the effect that the Astros stealing signs had on a World Series game seven recently. There’s a decent chance the Dodgers have a World Series Title in their trophy case right now if the Astros weren’t using outside help.
Finally, this is an awful story for the sport that we will continue to document as more develops.