"The allegation that the Houston Astros used electronic surveillance equipment to steal signs during their championship 2017 season could become a legal problem for the club and Major League Baseball.

As reported by The Athletic, the Astros are accused of surreptitiously positioning a camera in the centerfield area of the club’s home ballpark, Minute Maid Park. The camera recorded opposing teams’ catchers signaling signs to pitchers on the mound. Imagery captured by the camera was then relayed to a monitor near the Astros’ dugout. Astros staff reviewed the imagery live and loudly banged on a trash can in coded sequences in order to inform batters which type of pitch was coming. In essence, the alleged plot made it easier for Astros batters to hit.

The claim appears to be credible. The Athletic’s story relies on remarks by Oakland A’s starting pitcher Mike Fiers. Fiers, 34, pitched for the Astros from 2015 to 2017. The veteran righthander signed with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent in early December 2017, about five weeks after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

Former White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar is also quoted as saying that his team detected a unique pattern of the Astros banging whenever a Sox catcher called for an off-speed pitch. Farquhar further explained that the Sox changed their approach to calling pitches in order to disrupt the Astros’ apparent sign stealing.

There is no obvious reason why Fiers or Farquhar would falsely concoct these claims—particularly since they were willing to go on-the-record with their names. Subsequent reporting by Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci highlights that “another former Astro” may have information to share. Meanwhile, video evidence seems to support the allegation. MLB is investigating the matter." - Michael Mccann

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