A new report from The Athletic details how the Houston Astros reportedly stole signs during 2017 to give their hitters a significant advantage behind the plate. The Astros had 101 wins and defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series that season.
The report cites former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and three unnamed individuals affiliated with the team, who claim the Astros were alerting hitters when the opposing pitcher was planning to throw an off-speed pitch.
Fiers, who now pitches for the Oakland Athletics, said that the team had a camera in centerfield that was hooked up to a monitor in the clubhouse. The camera was able to pick up the catcher's signs, and the employee would tell somebody in the dugout if the catcher was calling for an off-speed pitch. That employee would then bang something to alert the hitter that an off-speed pitch was coming.
A Twitter user who goes by the name Jomboy found multiple examples of banging in the dugout coinciding with an off-speed pitch, including one time in the World Series.
Fiers explained that he decided to speak publicly about the Astros stealing signs because he wants other players to be aware that it is happening.
"I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they're going in there, not knowing," Fiers told the website. "We had a lot of young guys with Detroit trying to make a name and establish themselves. I wanted to help them out and say, 'Hey, this stuff really does go on. Just be prepared.'"
The Houston Astros told The Athletic they have launched an internal investigation into the allegations, and Major League Baseball said they are looking into the claims. While stealing signs is not generally against Major League rules, the league does not allow teams to use electronic technology to do so.
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