The Houston Astros were the talk of Major League Baseball this offseason after it was determined the organization electronically stole signs over the course of the 2017 season en route to a World Series championship.
The scandal is considered one of the biggest in MLB history and has cast a negative light on the sport. Some players compared the severity of the incident to the steroid era, while others have grown even more frustrated in recent weeks with the Astros’ lack of remorse for their actions.
As the baseball world attempts to move on, MLB has begun taking measures to ensure a cheating scandal of this magnitude never occurs again.
According to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, MLB plans to take many measures this season in order to prevent future sign stealing, including the banishment of non-uniformed personnel from clubhouses during games:
In the wake of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, Major League Baseball is informing clubs about planned in-game protocols to bar non-uniformed personnel from the clubhouse, close video rooms, turn off all live video feeds except for the replay review monitor, and crack down on the use of “engineered” substance mixtures by pitchers specifically designed to create more spin, not just a better grip—all under the threats of suspensions or firings.
Under MLB’s proposed plans, according to several managers and coaches who have heard the presentation, access to the dugout and clubhouse during the game will be limited to players, seven coaches and necessary interpreters and trainers. The measure will be “seriously policed” by an increase in MLB security agents, according to one club staff member present at one of the meetings. Under that proposal, front office staff members—or in the case of the Houston scandal, what commissioner Rob Manfred called the “lower-level baseball operations employees” who originated and executed the scheme—are banned from the clubhouse during games.
MLB still is working with the union on how far to take the ban on in-game video. In the most extreme measure, all clubhouse televisions will be turned off during games in addition to the video room, as well as a ban against players using their phones during games. (Trainers are allowed to carry phones for medical emergency uses.) One possible allowance, according to several sources, would be to permit one television in the training room that carries the game broadcast, but only on an eight-second delay.
The logic behind MLB proposing a ban to non-uniformed personnel from clubhouses during games is a response to the lower-level employees that devised the Astros’ scheme.
The potential shutdown of video rooms would also prevent team employees from trying to pick up signs of opposing players in real time.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our live shows, and more!