Rosenthal/Drellich: MLB’s sign-stealing controversy broadens

From Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich at The Athletic on January 7, 2020:

When Major League Baseball punished the Red Sox and Yankees in September 2017 for conduct related to electronic sign stealing, the league touched on the epicenter of a problem that had been growing for years: The video replay room.

These rooms, intended to help managers decide whether to challenge umpires’ calls, were established after baseball introduced replay review in 2014. But some teams quickly realized the rooms also were easy places to learn a key piece of information: The sign sequence used by opposing pitchers and catchers.

Before the 2018 season, after years of barely enforcing its broad rules regarding replay rooms, the league made it crystal clear: Replay rooms cannot be used to help steal signs. The newly clarified rules, in combination with the fines the league levied on the Red Sox and Yankees and warnings it issued in ’17, were intended to end the replay-room chicanery. 

For the Red Sox, and possibly other clubs, it did not.

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