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#pounditSunday, October 1, 2023

Astros reportedly had sign-stealing system for when they couldn’t hear banging noises

AJ Hinch

There has been no shortage of video evidence supporting the claims that the Houston Astros stole signs and relayed them to hitters by banging on a trash can back in 2017, but what would happen in situations where the crowd was too loud? Apparently they had a separate system in place for that.

Free-agent third baseman Trevor Plouffe says he was told by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Carson Smith and a separate source that the Astros incorporated their bullpen catcher if the environment at Minute Maid Park was too loud for hitters to hear the banging noise being relayed from between the home dugout and clubhouse. According to the claim, the Astros would have someone watch the live feed of the camera that was focused on the opposing team’s catcher and then relay the signs to their bullpen catcher, who was wearing an ear piece. The bullpen catcher would then put his hands up on the outfield fence if a fastball was coming and keep them down if it was an off-speed pitch.

It almost seems hard to believe that the information would be relayed quickly enough when going from a camera, to a TV, to a person watching the TV, and then out to the bullpen catcher. However, that would really only be one extra small step compared to having someone bang on a trash can to indicate an off-speed pitch, and video footage from several games in 2017 appears to show the Astros were doing exactly that.

Now that the lid has been blown off, we can expect allegations like this to keep rolling in. Some will probably be fiction, but it’s obvious the Astros broke the rules. Every new claim against them just makes them less and less credible.


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