The owner of the Houston Astros announced Monday that he is dismissing the baseball team's general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and manager, A.J. Hinch, over an elaborate sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
In perhaps the most most brazen example, several months into the 2017 season, the players and staff involved would use camera footage from center field to decode signs from the opposing team about what pitches were coming. The Astros would also forfeit first and second round picks for the 2020 and 2021 drafts. That fine prompted commissioner Rob Manfred to issue a memo to all teams clarifying the rules around technology: "All Clubs were put on notice as of September 15, 2017 that any use of electronic equipment to steal signs would be dealt with more severely by my office".
The WFAN radio host believes Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow "got what they deserved" and were "too smart for their own good". While Mets manager Carlos Beltran was part of it, he was a player at the time and thus was not suspended.
Indians dugout reporter Andre Knott commented on the fact that Major League Baseball knew about the allegations DURING the playoffs in 2017 and yet it did not act until the scandal blew up this offseason. Sometimes the information was communicated via text message to a staffer wearing a smart watch on the bench or a nearby phone.
Manfred said Hinch was aware of the system but did not bring it to the attention of Luhnow.
"Virtually all of the Astros' players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability", Manfred wrote. The runner would decode the catcher's sign and signal the batter. That season, Boston reportedly used its video replay room to illegally steal signs. "Generally, one or two bangs corresponded to certain off-speed pitches, while no bang corresponded to a fastball".
Taubman can apply to Manfred for reinstatement after the World Series, and any future violations of Major League Rules would lead to a lifetime ban.