Indeed, sign stealing has been a practice baseball almost since Abner Doubleday created the sport. Of course – cheating is usually frowned upon – and sign stealing falls under that umbrella.
Now, a report from Bleacher Report tabs the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers as guilty parties in the art of stealing a sign. Equally important is as you read through the story, teams across baseball league-wide are considered to be doing it.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 2, 2019
Here is the most interesting part of the report:
Predictably, nobody in the game is willing to publicly finger those who were cheating or those whom they believe might be cheating. But given assurances of anonymity, several league sources indicate the Astros, Dodgers, Red Sox, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks have been especially adept with technological surveillance. One source mentions the Cubs and Washington Nationals dabble a bit “but not as much as others.” Another source says the Indians, while still another notes the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers once were suspected as well.
In summary, everyone is doing it some. Furthermore, Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen says everyone should be suspected.
“Every team,” Jansen says. “You can’t trust nobody. You don’t know.”
And so the question must be asked: if every team is doing a little here and there to get an edge, is it wrong? Truly, it should inspire an interesting debate. Also, the timing of the story to break is interesting but not surprising; with more eyes on the sport nationally during the postseason than in other months.
While it’s not a great look for baseball, this may not become the black mark that topics like the ‘juiced baseball’ have in recent months. For instance, that looked like the sport itself doing something to affect outcomes and benefit profits. This however is just a method of teams trying to be the best they can be.
Ric Flair or someone of that ilk once said ‘Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat’. Often when that quote is said, whoever hears it grins or laughs. In this instance, it sort of applies. As a true baseball purist, I am not sure if I really mind if my team is doing this or not. Especially when players and figures around baseball are saying that everyone else is.
Should the league look to crack down on sign stealing? Or are there bigger fish to fry?