During the 2017 World Series, the Texas team began stealing signs, noting what the opposing pitcher was throwing next and properly preparing the batter for it. Stealing signs isn’t technically against official MLB rules, but because the Astros went above and beyond by using a camera and monitor system to gain more information they’ve been heavily penalized.
According to CBS Sports, here are the reported penalties:
- One-year suspension for general manager Jeff Luhnow.
- One-year suspension for manager A.J. Hinch.
- The loss of first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.
- A $5 million fine.
- The placement of former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman on baseball’s ineligible list.
There was no proof until The Athletic published a groundbreaking report where Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, admitted and explained how the team used a centerfield camera to pick up the other team’s signs. The team went as far as to develop a system that included banging a trash can in the dugout to let hitters know an “off-speed pitch” was coming.
After The Athletic’s report went live, the MLB launched an official investigation, and the league was very diligent, to say the least. Over the course of the months-long investigation, the league dug through the 2017, 2018, 2019 seasons, interviewed 60 witnesses and gathered over 76,000 emails.
“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.