Wed. Feb 26th, 2020

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… Because we all have opinions.

The Astros Saga – A Player’s Perspective

Yesterday, via Twitter, I openly invited current or former MLB or MiLB players to message me privately their thoughts on the Astros cheating saga which remains the hottest topic in baseball. I wanted to get a players’ insight into:

  • the behavior itself
  • the punishments handed out (so far)
  • the spread of such cheating – is it rampant in baseball?
  • the future impact

In return for their thoughts I’ve promised full anonymity, with their names and organizations played for fully protected.

I’ve since had 21 players – past or present – message me their thoughts. You can find them – raw and unedited – below.


“I haven’t been in the lg [sic] yet but I’m trying. I simply think it’s taking the game for granted honestly. You don’t know what other guys go through to get the spot on a major lg [sic] baseball team. I’ve rehabbed for almost 24 months to better myself and train to get back the right way. And I got to deal with guys who know exactly what is coming because they are good at cheating and not baseball…? Yeah sorry. And you’re taking money away from me and my family. I got a problem with that. It’s called stealing. Not just signs. But careers, it’s hard to play anyway. I went through a lot. I ain’t afraid to tell anyone that. I don’t already like the opposing team now I find out that there’s cheating going on? What if you hit someone with a comebacker cause you were sitting on a 1-1 chg [sic] that the guy throws 11% of the time.. it’s dangerous.. oh and I did mention you just took from my family…. I have a lot of people counting on me. Baseball is hard enough. And the baseball gods hold grudges…”

– anon. current MiLB player


“My concern is we do not feel supported by baseball or the media to speak out. Baseball is more concerned about saving its reputation. I have heard many stories from other players who have seen cheating like this occur but we feel powerless.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“Im [sic] sure you’ve heard it a lot.. sign stealing has always been part of the game, everyone does it. Obviously doing it through means of tech is against the rules but it’s not a new thing. There was suspicion as far back as 2008-2009 that teams were using cameras to relay signals to hitters, the means of transmission has just evolved a bit and the Astros did it in a [sic] illegal and obnoxious way which pissed off a lot of people. The funny part is that it’s easily preventable, as an opposing team you just need to be smart about it and change up your signs against each team, and always use more than one signal even if runners aren’t on. Unfortunately most young players don’t do it because they are afraid to make things complicated for the catcher or don’t have the ability to focus that well in when they are first pitching at that level. So it’s the young pitchers who get taken advantage of the most. But yeah I fee like everyone knew a-lot of teams were doing it for years.. It just wasn’t worth making a big stink about, You couldn’t actually prove other teams were doing it and nobody would bother investigating anyway. Most players could never get away with saying something as it would hurt your career, you’d be blacklisted by mlb owners. Plus MLB likes the action.. small strike zone, tightly wound balls.. they would prefer hitters know what’s coming. Only reason they are doing something now is because their hand was forced by the uproar online. They don’t care about fixing a problem just covering it up as clean as possible.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“Hi Dan, to address each of your points, I think the behavior itself is terrible and risks ruining all the hard work we put in year after year to improve. Facing a hitter who potentially knowns what pitch is coming has the potential to ruin careers. I don’t think MLB has really factored that into the punishments given. That’s concerning for me and I know some of my teammates feel that way too. I don’t think the spread is rampant as I don’t think other ballclubs are dumb enough to risk being caught. As for any future impact, I hope this saga cleans baseball up and we never see or hear of such cheating again.”

– anon. current MiLB player


“Our ballclub pushes boundaries and always looks for a competitive advantage. But we never break the rules. We are all angry about this and hope there are more suspensions coming from MLB. As far as I know no other teams do this.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“Hey Dan, I played four years in college and two more in the [organization hidden] and [organization hidden] org. My take is simple. Stealing signs by pitchers/catchers tipping pitches and or picking up a coaches [sic] sequence is and always will be apart of the game (I’m fine with). To go as far as adding video guys and monitors then using buzzers or whatever to relay is flat wrong. I’d be ok with any punishment given.”

– anon. former MiLB player


“You want my thoughts on it? Okay. Baseball has a way of policing itself. Remember what happened when ARod return [sic] to Fenway after his suspension?”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“Hello Dan, I trust you will keep this anonymous as you have said. Attempting to stealing [sic] signs has always been around as you know, but never have I seen or heard of such an elaborate system as the Astros have been doing. I don’t think the punishments are adequate, but the firings which have come since will hopefully act as a deterrent for others in future. I’m not happy how the media has treated Mike Fiers either.”

– anon. current MiLB player


“If you think the Astros are the only ones doing this your [sic] being ignorant. Welcome to the big show my dude, win at all costs.”

– anon. former MLB player


“Its [sic] cool bro. Im [sic] just gunna [sic] bean these mothafuckers [sic].”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“Hi Dan, thanks for the opportunity. We have all been briefed by the [organization hidden] and told not to comment. I have never seen such methods used within the [organization hidden] and it would definitely be frowned upon. Greed has caused this and I hope the suspensions handed out and the firings which have occurred since will prevent it ever happening again.”

– anon. current MiLB player


“I don’t think the suspensions are long enough and I don’t understand why players haven’t been suspended. Maybe that is still to come? The whole saga has been embarrassing for baseball.”

– anon. current MiLB player


“Stay out of things that don’t concern you. You don’t play in the big leagues bro, so your opinion don’t matter.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“The Astros will get what they deserve. 2020 is going to be a long season for them. Painful to [sic].”

– anon. current MiLB player


“This isn’t a new thing. It’s been happening for years and I’ve seen it within teams I’ve played for in the past. The media is driving it and social media has blown it up. I think it’s been an overreaction and people are only talking about it because there’s nothing else to focus on right now.”

– anon. former MLB player


“Hey man, nice idea for a story. Sing [sic] stealing is obviously a part of the game but I’ve never seen it taken to this level. As a pitcher nothing worries me more than a hitter knowing what’s coming next. I would rather pitch to a guy on juice than this. It’s too big an advantage and I’m glad its [sic] been exposed. Hopefully baseball learns and grows from this.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“The thing that I find most disappointing is how poorly MLB has handled the entire situation. They haven’t handed down punishments that fit the crime and they haven’t been fully transparent with fans. They have focused more on saving their reputation than actually setting an example for future. This will happen again. It will be in some other form but the motive and result will be the same.”

– anon. former MLB player


“The biggest advantage my catcher and I have over a hitter is knowing what’s coming next. As soon as we lose that advantage, the contest ceases to exist. This has been a horrible look for baseball and not enough is being done to prevent it happening again. That’s my biggest fear, that it will happen again.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


“We have known about this since 2017 but nobody took the claims seriously. Mike spoke out and deserves a lot more credit than hes [sic] getting.”

– anon. former MLB player


“The cheats are going to get there [sic] fucking heads blown off.”

– anon. current MiLB player


“Sorry to tell ya bro but none of this is new. The Stros [sic] took things to [sic] far and got busted for it but other team be [sic] doing this as well ya know. I think therell [sic] be a few hit batters early in the season but well [sic] all gunna [sic] just move on and play ball. Yall [sic] writers just bored on Twitter in winter.”

– anon. current MLB rostered player


 

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