Sports

As They Vie for Another Championship, Astros Face Allegations of Sign-Stealing

Major League Baseball says it took proactive measures before the postseason began, including a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras

The Astros are hosting the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night in Game 4 of their American League Championship Series.

According to multiple news organizations, security at Boston’s Fenway Park removed a man from the media area who claimed to be with the Astros. It happened during Game 1 of the Astros American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. Sources say the man was taking pictures and texting and may have been attempting to steal pitching signs.

The Cleveland Indians have also filed a complaint with Major League Baseball about a similar incident that reportedly happened at their ballpark during their playoff series against Houston earlier this month.

So what does all this mean for the Astros as they try for another World Series crown?

“It’s sort of a complicated scenario,” said Houston sports reporter Jeff Balke. “Stealing signs is commonplace in Major League Baseball. It has been happening for decades and decades. I don’t think this is any different.”

Balke added that it’s common in baseball for teams to believe their competitors are stealing signs, to determine what the pitcher is going to throw next.

“The League has banned electronic devices to do that. No cameras, no phones, anything like that,” continued Balke. “And there have been some incidents in the past where teams have taken pictures or shot video of what the catcher is showing to the pitcher and then relayed it to the dugout with text messages or things like that.”

Balke pointed out that the allegations come from a team that the Astros defeated and another that they’re playing right now. And, until there is some definitive proof that the Astros cheated, “I feel like this is an argument for how much are we overdoing this concern about things that are done every single day.”

Major League Baseball has now released a statement concerning the sign-stealing allegations:

“Before the Postseason began, a number of Clubs called the Commissioner’s Office about sign stealing and the inappropriate use of video equipment. The concerns expressed related to a number of Clubs, not any one specific Club. In response to these calls, the Commissioner’s Office reinforced the existing rules with all playoff Clubs and undertook proactive measures, including instituting a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras, increasing the presence of operations and security personnel from Major League Baseball at all Postseason games and instituting a program of monitoring Club video rooms.”

Tonight the Astros meet the Red Sox for Game 4 of their championship series. First pitch is at 7:39 PM at Minute Maid Park.

Boston leads the series two-games-to-one.

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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