Jaffe: MLB’s current sign-stealing saga carries echos of the game’s PED problems

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on January 8, 2020:

A new avenue to pursue a competitive advantage, a gray area as to whether it’s considered cheating, a paper ban that goes unenforced, bad behavior spreading around the league through player movement, executives shocked — shocked! — that such behavior is happening on their teams, a commissioner sounding out of touch as he publicly downplays the severity of the problem, once-celebrated achievements now tainted… if the outlines of baseball’s current sign-stealing scandal sound familiar, it’s because they’ve followed a pattern similar to that of the performance-enhancing drug problem that enveloped the game in the 1990s and early 2000s. Of course, there are key differences between the two, but both found Major League Baseball well behind the curve and struggling both to catch up and regain credibility on the issue.

That thought came to mind on Tuesday, as the sign-stealing saga took a new turn when The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drelich reported that in 2018, the Red Sox used their video replay room in an attempt to decipher opponents’ sign sequences, a practice that proliferated after instant replay reviews were introduced in 2014, one that was broadly prohibited but generally unenforced until 2018.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mlbs-current-sign-stealing-saga-carries-echos-of-the-games-ped-problems/

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Originally published: January 9, 2020. Last Updated: January 9, 2020.