- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Houston Astros used a camera to steal pitchers’ signs during the 2017 season, the year they won the World Series, The Athletic reported Tuesday.

Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers was one of four sources cited in the report. Fiers, now with the Oakland Athletics, wants MLB to clean up instances of cheating.

“That’s not playing the right way,” Fiers said. “They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win.”

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The Athletic reported that a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park was focused on home plate to capture opposing catchers’ signs, and it was connected to a TV screen in the Astros‘ dugout to show the home team a live feed.

MLB is supposedly investigating this practice while looking into the team’s broader culture in the wake of the firing of assistant general manager Brandon Taubman during the 2019 World Series.

The Astros were at the center of a similar controversy during the 2019 playoffs. In the divisional round against the Tampa Bay Rays, Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow felt he was somehow ripping his pitches in Game 5 after Houston scored four runs off him in the first inning.

It went a step further in the American League Championship Series, when the New York Yankees accused the Astros of stealing signs using a system of whistling from players in the dugout to the player up to bat. But MLB investigated and concluded that no rules were broken.

It was less of a central concern during the World Series, when the Washington Nationals beat Houston in seven games.

But in Game 6, Stephen Strasburg admitted he was doing something during his setup to tip his pitches — and he corrected it after the first inning by shaking his glove before delivery, “so they didn’t know what I was throwing.”

The Athletic’s sources were mixed on whether the Astros continued this practice during the 2017 postseason or whether it stopped before then.

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