Internet sleuths are pointing to documentary footage from the Houston Astros’ run to the 2017 World Series as potential proof of an alleged sign-stealing operation that is subject to an ongoing Major League Baseball investigation.
A video clip taken from the documentary and posted online by Twitter user @Jomboy_ showed Astros players walking past a table set up between the team’s dugout and locker room, with a laptop, cable and trash can on display, as well as a towel blocking the line of sight between the field and the table. The scene’s contents matched a description from The Athletic report earlier this month that detailed the alleged sign-stealing and prompted league officials to look into the matter.
An Astros spokesman declined to comment on the post. Jomboy Media had previously posted other videos detailing possible evidence of sign-stealing.
Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic the Astros used a camera in centerfield to capture signs from opposing teams. The video footage was allegedly relayed to a setup between the Astros’ dugout and locker room, where team officials used signals, such as a series of bangs on a trash can, to inform their batters what pitch was coming next.
The Astros said at the time that the team has “begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball.”
MLB is investigating alleged sign-stealing by the Astros during the 2017 season and was expected to expand the case in a bid to determine whether similar tactics were used by other teams, including the Boston Red Sox, ESPN reported. MLB updated its rules prior to the 2019 season in a bid to crack down on sign-stealing – a longstanding practice in baseball that is nevertheless considered a form of cheating by most.
In a subsequent report, The Athletic detailed an August 2017 email in which an Astros executive told the team’s scouting department to attempt to steal signs.
“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout,” the executive wrote, according to the outlet. “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.”