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Astros executive suggested using cameras to spy on # 17, sources say

A senior Houston Astros officer asked scouts to spy on the hideouts of opponents leading up to the 2017 post-season, hoping to steal signals and suggest the potential use of cameras to do so, sources familiar with the request said. ESPN.

The reaction of those who received an email from Kevin Goldstein, special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, was mixed, sources told ESPN. Some were intrigued by the idea, sources who received the e-mail said, while others were bothered by the thought of pointing cameras from the stands toward the hiding places of opposing teams, a plan that could have made them despise the Boy Scout community. if they got caught.

The e-mail, which was first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by ESPN recipients, is the first indication of Astros' involvement in possible cheating and further reveals the scope of Houston's attempts to gain advantage through intercepted signals. Major League Baseball is investigating the organization's methods of stealing signals after pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic that during their 2017 World Series season, the team used a live video feed to steal signals from catchers and pass them on to the hitters by tapping the trash. can.

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Goldstein, who did not return a message seeking comment, wrote in the email: "One specific thing we are looking for is to pick up signals from the hiding place. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would see things log if we need to." cameras / binoculars, etc. So go to the game, see what you can [or can’t] make and report your findings. "

MLB's investigation increased this week as interviewers talked to Astros' field and front office staff and other teams. As investigators try to confirm Fiers' allegations, they continue to lay the groundwork for other tentacles of alleged cheating, which people around baseball fear have turned into an epidemic in recent years.

"Technology and information theft will be the black eye of this generation," said a long-time Astros employee. "It's really the last frontier that isn't prohibited. It's a way to gain a competitive advantage without changing the real players."

Pandora's technology use box, even with the new rules implemented before the 2019 season, continues to irritate a sport that encourages teams to enter gray areas. Plate theft has long been a part of baseball, supported by players and scouts, mostly second base runners, watching the signals from the catchers and passing them on to the batter.

Using cameras to do this is considered unethical by many and, due to recent rule changes, is coded as illegal by MLB. The level of punishment for those involved in Astros' alleged 2017 signal theft may depend on Commissioner Rob Manfred's interpretation of a rule against using technology to "steal signals or transmit information". In 2017, the league fined the Boston Red Sox for using an Apple Watch in its hiding place.

The breadth of Astros' willingness to use technology for field advantage remains in focus. During the 2018 post-season, Kyle McLaughlin, an Astros baseball operations officer, was removed from camera shafts next to the Cleveland Indians and Red Sox hideouts during the post-season after he pointed a cellphone at the shelter. Luhnow said the Astros were running a counterintelligence operation against the teams to make sure they weren't cheating.

Goldstein's 2017 plans involved a professional search department that has since been destroyed, with the search and analysis balance of the Astros since tilted to the "99 to 1" analysis side, according to a familiar person. with team resources. Much of Astros' reconnaissance work today, sources say, involves cameras and video.

Among the field players who have piqued the league's interest are Red Sox coach and former Astros bank manager Alex Cora, New York Mets manager and former designated hitter Carlos Beltran, Astros manager AJ Hinch and Red Sox coach Craig Bjornson. same work with Houston in 2017.

MLB's investigation follows years of allegations of team fraud regularly reported to the league office because of suspicious actions or anomalous results. The league analyzed the past allegations against Astros by Oakland Athletics and the McLaughlin incident and ruled Houston out of wrongdoing. The scope of the investigation should include other Astros teams, including the 2019 version that lost the World Series in seven games.

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