The Houston Astros are being raked over the coals over an incredibly detailed new report in The Athletic that claims the team stole signs using cameras in 2017. Despite rumors to that effect, Astros manager A.J. Hinch and the franchise have laughed off those allegations previously. Well, now we have video proof as well.
The piece details how the Astros had a feed from a camera in center field fixed on the catcher's signs. It was hooked up to a television monitor just outside the team's dugout. Team employees and players would watch the feed and decode signs, then communicate them through loud noises. Loudly banging on a trash can in the tunnel was the preferred method.
In one story from the piece, former Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar remembered this incident from two September appearances against the Astros at Minute Maid Park:
"“There was a banging from the dugout, almost like a bat hitting the bat rack every time a changeup signal got put down,” said Farquhar, who is now the pitching coach with the White Sox’s High-A affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C. “After the third one, I stepped off. I was throwing some really good changeups and they were getting fouled off. After the third bang, I stepped off.”"
Farquhar and his catcher changed the signs up because he had noticed the banging.
Popular baseball Twitter personality Jomboy has found video of such an incident involving Farquhar and broke it down. It's pretty damming.
I mean, that's pretty definitive. The Astros are clearly stealing signs with technology and relaying them to the hitter, which is wildly illegal.
Some have suggested this behavior is likely widespread in baseball. That may be true, but that doesn't make it any less illegal or any less obvious the Astros were doing it.