The Houston Astros are once again under fire amid allegations they electronically stole signs from opponents at Minute Maid Park over the course of the 2017 season.
It prompted a strong response from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who revealed that the league is in the process of conducting a thorough investigation before determining whether any potential punishments will be handed out.
Some have speculated that the Astros could be subject to record-breaking fines, the loss of multiple draft picks and lengthy suspensions if enough evidence is found that proves the organization crossed a line. Others are more focused on the prevention of sign stealing going forward.
Various executives at the General Manager Meetings last week discussed among each other whether cameras should be banned at every MLB ballpark. This includes the usage of recording devices by scouts — a practice that is already barred in certain stadiums.
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Kenley Jansen offered his take and opined that catchers’ signs should be censored on television broadcasts to ensure signs won’t be stolen. “Teams try everything,” Jansen said.
“I said it a long time ago: it’s time for Major League Baseball to control that part and put a blurry sign where fans are not going to see (catcher’s fingers). If you find out that some teams cheated, they have to pay a big fine or someone is going to be banned forever or they lose their job and can’t be in this game.
“If anybody is going to watch the game on TV, no fan is going to worry about what sign is being put down. Blur that, nobody is going to see it and we’re not talking about this anymore.”
While Jansen’s proposal could aid matters, it wouldn’t necessarily be a solution to the Astros’ alleged improprieties. Their video feed was sourced from a camera the team is said to have set up — not that from the broadcast.
Jansen, of course, was a key member of the 2017 Dodgers team that fell in seven games to the Astros in the World Series. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman revealed that the organization was wary of Houston entering the matchup, citing their tendency to steal signs.
Former Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish isn’t sure what to make of the allegations against the Astros, but believes them potentially stealing signs wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the Fall Classic.
Jansen seemingly agreed. “That’s baseball, man,” he said. “They’ve still got to hit it.”
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