Top Stories
  1. How Your iPhone May Soon Replace Your Car Keys - How-To Geek
  2. SpaceX set to launch NASA astronauts first after Boeing narrowly avoids catastrophe in space - Teslarati
  3. Instagram's Made it Easier To Ditch Those Accounts You Don't Know Why You Follow - Gizmodo
  4. New Details Emerge On Astros Sign-Stealing Scandal - MLB Trade Rumors
  5. Service restored after another Spectrum outage - Press Herald
  6. 'Marriage Story' and '1917': Dissecting the Long and Short of a Modern Oscar Campaign - Hollywood Reporter
  7. Stunning 'Wheel of Fortune' answer - CityNews Toronto
  8. Tesla Creates Advanced Aluminum Alloys for Die-Casting Electric Cars - Interesting Engineering
  9. ViacomCBS is working on yet another streaming service - Engadget
  10. Someone Needs To Put Ford's Massive New Godzilla 7.3-Liter V8 In A De Tomaso Pantera - Jalopnik
  11. 2020’s Batch of Cult IPA Pliny the Younger Is Finally Available - Eater SF
  12. Washington increases tariffs on aircraft after EU subsidy row - BBC News
  13. Controversial film 'The Hunt' gets green light, set for March release after delay - Fox News
  14. 'Devastating' Fire Threatens Worldwide Vinyl Record Production - Ultimate Classic Rock
  15. Nvidia is no longer attending Mobile World Congress, citing coronavirus risk - The Verge
  16. What does it take to use 1TB of Mac Pro RAM? Try 6,000+ Chrome tabs - 9to5Mac
  17. Lori Loughlin daughter Olivia Jade's fake athletic profile released - NBC News
  18. T-Mobile beats quarterly estimates as Sprint merger decision looms - Reuters
  19. Did Apple accidentally just leak a new Apple TV model? - BGR
  20. Noah's suddenly closes, leaving brides-to-be without a venue - KAKE
  21. Southwest flight attendants tell passengers to call out 'unwelcome behavior' as part of new policy - Fox News
  22. Shannen Doherty under 'enormous emotional distress' after State Farm peddled 'lies' about her smoking habits - Fox News
  23. Does Metformin contain a cancer-causing contaminant? The FDA has the results - KPRC Click2Houston
  24. An Artist Used 99 Phones to Fake a Google Maps Traffic Jam - WIRED
  25. AT&T CEO Says US Govt. Investment Into Nokia, Ericsson Is a Bad Idea - Light Reading
  26. Ohio Department of Health reporting coronavirus numbers on website - NBC4 WCMH-TV
news-details
Sports

New Details Emerge On Astros Sign-Stealing Scandal - MLB Trade Rumors

By | at

Much as we’d all rather focus on other matters, it’s impossible to ignore the still-fully-emerging Astros sign-stealing scandal. Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch lost their jobs; the club was penalized with sacrificed draft picks and a fine. But that didn’t close the book on the matter. Developments this evening contributed significant new information, potentially impacting both the interpretation of the events and the evolution of the fallout.

First came an eye-popping new report from Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal that unveiled the role of the Houston front office in the sign-stealing effort. Though commissioner Rob Manfred had characterized it as a player-driven scheme — even as he worked out a deal that exempted players from punishment — he also sent a letter to Luhnow detailing a host of facts about the front office’s involvement that were not previously known publicly.

You’ll need to read the detailed story for the full account, but we’ll touch upon a few key points. The scheme is said to have been hatched before the 2017 season when the Astros analytical department cooked up a program — deemed “Codebreaker,” if you can believe it — that enabled swift sign deduction. As Diamond puts it, this “laid the groundwork” for the eventual trashcan-banging signaling effort that was utilized by Astros players, coaches, and video room staffers. “Codebreaker” was utilized in 2017 and 2018; it was deployed both in home and road contests.

So far as Luhnow’s knowledge and involvement goes, he was assuredly aware of “Codebreaker.” And there’s a fair compilation of evidence suggesting he knew just how it was being used on a game-by-game basis, including an email that Luhnow received (but claims not to have fully read) in which Astros director of advance information Tom Koch-Weser referred to “our dark arts, sign-stealing department” (a moniker he also used in other circumstances).

There are loads of scandalous details involving Koch-Weser, with Luhnow disputing them. Other junior employees involved in the efforts indicated that Luhnow was likely aware “Codebreaker” was being used in real-time during games, though it seems there was at least some amount of plausible doubt.

So far as is known publicly, lower-level Astros front office employees involved or potentially involved in the scandal have not been punished or removed from their jobs. Manfred found that there was a larger cultural problem in the Houston baseball operations department, but owner Jim Crane has disputed that characterization. Crane hired new GM James Click to take over for Luhnow an otherwise generally unchanged department (apart from voluntary departures, so far as is known).

The scope of the scandal remains an important element in understanding and assessing the matter. As noted above, today’s news suggests that the illicit actions were broader than had previously been known.

There’s one other item that hints at potential expansion of the known bounds of the overall sign-stealing/signalling effort.

Hinch, who has been more forthcoming with contrition for his role in failing to intercede with the scheme as the club’s top uniformed employee, held an interview with Tom Verducci for MLB Network. (Video and write-up via MLB.com’s Alyson Footer.) He accepted without condition that the team was wrong for its actions and that he personally failed to exercise his leadership power and responsibility to halt the cheating.

Curiously, though, Hinch declined an opportunity to shut the door fully on a theory that has been floated with varying levels of evidence and seriousness regarding the Astros’ 2019 season. When asked whether Houston players had utilized buzzers to convey signs to hitters in the just-concluded campaign, Hinch chose to stand on the proposition that “The Commissioner’s Office did as thorough of an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible.”

It would certainly be foolish to read that oblique statement to mean that the Astros were indeed utilizing buzzers and that Hinch was aware of it. Precisely why Hinch chose to state things that way isn’t evident. But the guarded phrasing does seem to leave ample cause for exploring the topic further, to the extent that’s possible. At a minimum, it leaves some room for doubt with a team that has already proven it doesn’t deserve any. If only to eliminate that doubt, the possibility of more recent cheating now seems a matter worthy of further examination (or, if that has truly already been completed, elucidation) from the league.


Read More