Major League Baseball’s biggest scandal used to be performance-enhancing drugs, which a lot of players use. Now, baseball’s biggest scandal is sign-stealing.
The current sign-stealing scandal involves the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic that the 2017 Astros used video from a live camera to steal signs from the other teams’ catchers. Someone in the dugout would bang on a trash can to communicate the pitch type to the batter.
This past Tuesday, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that MLB’s investigations into the Astros are in their final stages and commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to decide on the discipline within the next two weeks.
Also on Tuesday, Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Red Sox used their video replay room to steal signs during the 2018 regular season, a campaign that would see them win the World Series not long after. Red Sox players would go to the replay room and decipher their opponents’ signs and relay the information to the dugout. Someone from the dugout would relay the information to a baserunner who would relay the information to the batter through body language.
So, what will the discipline be? It could include suspensions and lifetime bans. The teams could also receive record-breaking fines. Former player Pete Rose told TMZ Sports that the sign-stealing scandal isn’t a big deal. However, it is a big deal because it’s cheating.
While sign-stealing is technically legal, using technology to steal signs is against the rules. MLB needs to make sign-stealing illegal to end all issues. While sign-stealing can give teams an advantage, it is also cheating.
In addition to the Astros and Red Sox, the New York Yankees have been accused of sign-stealing. In 2017, the Yankees were fined for using Apple Watches to steal signs. The Red Sox also accused the Yankees of using a YES Network camera to steal signs, although those allegations were found to be not credible. If sign-stealing stays legal, then all of the teams will be doing it, if they aren’t already.
As our own Jordan Moore notes, it seems whenever a team in any sports is successful they are involved in a cheating scandal. This is why sign-stealing in baseball shouldn’t be allowed. If teams start stealing signs, the success that they have will be murky thanks to a cheating scandal. A team’s success should be from a result of performance, not because of cheating.
MLB needs to make sign-stealing illegal because otherwise, the league would be full of teams that cheat. Sports teams are supposed to win games and championships without cheating. Allowing teams to steal signs is allowing them to cheat. Sign stealing should become illegal and any team that is caught doing it should face very severe consequences. Those consequences should include suspensions, loss of draft picks, lifetime bans, and huge fines.
It is time to end cheating in baseball by making sign-stealing illegal.