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You can steal signs in baseball. That's not cheating. Meaning you can pick up on what the other team is signaling to the pitcher and then signal to your hitter in real time what kind of pitch you believe is coming. That's part of the game and has been basically since the beginning. Most call it gamesmanship.
What you cannot do is what the Houston Astros have been accused of doing during the 2017 season, where they went on to win the World Series against the Yankees, which is use electronic equipment to get video evidence of signs and then signal that to the hitter in real time. Here's an exert of the story, from an NBC News article:
Four people associated with the Astros during the 2017 season said the team used a camera in the outfield to steal the signs that catchers flash to pitchers during home games, the subscription sports site The Athletic reported. That was the year the Astros won their only World Series title.
The Athletic quoted Mike Fiers, a pitcher who threw a no-hitter for the Astros in 2015, and three other unidentified people affiliated with the Astros as saying that during the 2017 season, players and other employees would monitor opposing catchers' signals using a camera in center field of the team's stadium, Minute Maid Park.
When they decided they had decoded the signals, Astros personnel would signal what pitch was coming to the batter — banging loudly on a trash can if it was a breaking ball or an off-speed pitch, according to The Athletic.
This is far from just accusation. There's video evidence which makes it extremely clear this actually happened:
We don't know how many times the Astros did this during the 2017 season. Maybe every game? We don't know for sure if they did it during the World Series, though its VERY curious that the Astros lost every away game vs the Yankees that year in the ALCS but won every home game.
Banging on a trashcan or whistling or whatever method(s) they used to cheat with this camera system isn't exactly fool proof, if the stadium is too loud it can drown out the banging or whatever. But it would work in a lot of games. And the obvious fact of the matter is they cheated at least throughout the 2017 season.
What do you think the MLB should do about this? Is this grounds for stripping away their title for that year? Can they be punished for this going forward as well somehow, maybe with losing draft picks or trade freezes or something?
We also don't have any evidence the Astros have been cheating in a similar fashion after the 2017 season, but my guess is they have been. And probably were before 2017. The league needs to make an example of the Astros, I agree with this: