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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Report: MLB has not yet finalized new sign-stealing rules

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have been working on a number of issues related to electronic sign-stealing in the wake of the massive scandal with the Houston Astros. With the start of the 2020 season just days away, those discussions remain ongoing.

Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports that MLB and the MLBPA have yet to finalize new regulations for electronic sign-stealing, in-game video usage and potential disciplinary action. There are some rules in place that will have been made clear to teams and players by Thursday’s opener, but a number of issues remain.

One thing that has been made clear is that any players, coaches and staff members that have been designated as “Tier 1” will not be allowed to access video replay rooms during games. That rule is in place as part of the league’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, but it could also be a factor with sign-stealing. Video replay rooms have been used in an attempt to steal signs during games, which the Boston Red Sox did on a far smaller scale than the Astros.

Several MLB players have expressed to the league that they believe having in-game video is important, as it allows hitters to review at-bats during games and make adjustments. MLB has a partnership with Apple this season that will give players and staff iPads to review video, but as of now the league is not planning to allow players to use the iPads to review at-bats from the same game in which they are playing.

Everything we know about the Astros cheating scandal proves it was an obvious violation of MLB’s rules, but it did highlight the need for the league to clarify some things. Ideally, the updated rules will be in place by Thursday. Adjustments could be made during the season if that doesn’t happen.

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