Perhaps no player’s legacy was affected more by the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal than Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw is known as the best pitcher of his generation, but the one thing that has evaded him is winning the World Series, and 2017 was his best opportunity. The southpaw was masterful in Game 1 of that series, tossing seven innings of one-run ball while striking out 11 to earn a victory at Dodger Stadium.
He took the mound again in Game 5 at Minute Maid Park but wasn’t able to hold onto two separate three-run leads, allowing six runs in 4.2 innings in what ended up being an all-time classic game that the Astros won, 13-12, to take a 3-2 series lead.
They then ended up winning the series in seven games despite Kershaw pitching four shutout innings of relief in the decisive Game 7 back at Chavez Ravine.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred recently confirmed that the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scheme continued through the entire postseason, so Kershaw and the Dodgers were essentially robbed of the opportunity to win their first World Series since 1988 fair and square.
When looking back on that series, Kershaw admits to regretting not using multiple signs, even when there wasn’t a runner on second base, via Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated:
“If you don’t change your signs up every few pitches with a guy on second base, it’s on you,” he said. “I just don’t want to have multiple signs with a guy on first base, you know? That slows the game down. Slows the rhythm down. And I didn’t do that in Houston. I used one sign. And I should have known. They were using multiple signs all the time.”
The fact of the matter is that if there isn’t a runner on second base, it should be impossible for the opposing team to see a catcher’s signs. Unless technology is involved. That is why Kershaw did not feel that it was necessary to use multiple at the time:
“To me, it’s like, ‘Well, I’m not tipping my pitches, I give one sign, and they shouldn’t be able to know what’s coming because they’re not getting it from the catcher and they’re not getting it from me.’ They shouldn’t know. And that’s probably just me being naive as well about how they can use technology.”
Obviously, if Kershaw could go back in time then he would change how he and his teammates went about things, even if they shouldn’t have had to.
The Dodgers aren’t the only players upset with the Astros for not only cheating but their lack of remorse since being caught as various players throughout the league have voiced their opinions in recent weeks.
MLB is currently in the process of coming up with new rules to prevent electronic sign-stealing from ever happening again, which is essential to ensure the integrity of the game remains intact.
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