The Sign Stealing Saga Continues: It’s Looking Pretty Bad For Beltran

If you’re a baseball fan and you’ve been following the sign stealing scandal, by now you’ve likely heard about or read the article posted by The Athletic detailing Carlos Beltran’s prominent role in orchestrating the whole thing. For those that don’t want to pay to read an article from The Athletic (hey, support writers and artists, people!), here are the main points:

  • Beltran pretty much brought the system to the Astros, saying they were “behind the times”
  • In a team with a lot of young players and a relatively new manager (Hinch was still getting his bearings, apparently), people were afraid to stand up to Beltran to stop the over-the-top methods used to steal signs
  • The system included cameras, monitors, and an algorithm called “Codebreaker” to relay signs in real time to players
  • Other teams, namely the Yankees and Red Sox, used similar methods, as early as 2015, and Beltran and Alex Cora were likely using the same methods after their time with the 2017 Astros

I’m not going to deep dive into all of the details, but the gist of the article is that Beltran was the driving force behind the scheme. Players called him ‘el jefe’ and ’the Godfather’ – half of the players (and manager AJ Hinch) were either too young/scared to stand up to him, and the other half either believed that sign stealing at this level was widespread through the majors, or just plain liked the competitive edge. But whether the players liked it or not, most of them were taking part in (and benefitting from) the sign stealing. The Astros front office was also aware of the scheme, and nobody put a stop to it.

It is also heavily implied that the Yankees were doing this for a long time, specifically during the time Beltran was there toward the end of his career. This isn’t exactly new information – Logan Morrison posted (and then deleted) on Instagram that teams that were doing it well before 2017. Astros 2017 bench coach/Red Sox 2018 manager Alex Cora brought the Astros system with him to his new (and ultimately World Series Champion) team. MLB didn’t implement strong rules regarding electronic sign stealing until the end of the 2018 season, so when the Red Sox and Yankees got a slap on the wrist for using Apple Watches (Red Sox) and cameras from the YES Network (Yankees), nobody took electronic sign stealing very seriously.

What isn’t clear at this time is how the Astros will handle scrutiny in 2020, just how deep the investigation will be going into other teams, or how seriously players/management will be punished. Astros owner Jim Crane will be holding a meeting with his players today to address how to handle media and questions that we all know will be coming. Some former Astros players (Dallas Keuchel, Marwin Gonzalez, Charlie Morton) have all apologized and want to move on, but current players have kept mum.

For now, the Astros are the ones under everyone’s microscopes, but they were clearly not the only teams cheating at this level. The investigation into the Astros has uncovered so many more layers of who did what and when they did it, and the heaping piles of steaming, stinky shit keep coming to light. The Mets were smart to distance themselves before things really came to light. We have yet to hear about any investigations into what the Yankees may or may not have done, and we haven’t heard much about Alex Cora and the Red Sox since he was canned they mutually parted ways. But we all know they were doing it – so why are the Astros the ones taking most of the heat?

Some people are calling for the 2017 and 2018 World Series wins to be vacated, and some want permanent bans for all involved. Many are even saying this is on the same unforgivable level as the Black Sox scandal. I mean, who would have thought that Trevor Bauer would become a voice we are turning to this week? But how will it actually shake out? Will MLB and Rob Manfred start doling out lifetime bans to Beltran, Cora, Hinch, and the entire Astros squad? Will the Yankees finally be outed for whatever schemes they may have orchestrated? Will we finally hear confirmation that the Red Sox won it all in 2018 by cheating, just as the Astros did in 2017?

Can we just focus on the fact that pitchers and catchers are now flooding the spring training facilities? Because I’d kind of like to have more enjoyable things to be writing about.

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.