Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Yankees players and coaches became angry with the Astros during Game 1 of the ALCS when they noticed a whistling sound in the Astros' dugout -- which they believed was an over-the-line example of sign stealing, and a violation of the game's unwritten rules.
According to three sources, a Yankees coach noticed a whistling sound in the opposing dugout on certain pitches on Saturday night in Houston. The Yankees started yelling across the field, and people in the dugouts argued back and forth.
"The whole dugout was pissed," said one source. "Everyone was chirping."
For several years, widespread suspicion has followed the Astros about aggressive sign stealing, especially at Minute Maid Park. Although most teams engage in some form of this activity, several executives and current and former players said on Wednesday that whistling was over the line.
"They've been doing it for years," alleged an executive from another team, when asked about the whistling.
"I would consider whistling a tired act that goes beyond what is acceptable," said another major league executive. "If the Astros or anyone else was doing it, it would be considered a break in the unwritten rules. I have not been part of any team that used a whistle from the dugout for pitch type or location."
A major league coach -- not for the Yankees -- noted the unproven suspicions that the Astros use cameras to get signs.
"They are NASA," the coach said. "If a pitcher is tipping and the players can see from the dugout, no biggie. If they get it from somewhere else, that's dicey."
Said another coach: "Baseball, traditionally, doesn't like audio signs. For some reason we are more comfortable with the opposite. So did the Astros go over the line? Probably. But honestly I don't know where to draw the lines anymore."
The sign stealing did not appear to impact Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched six shutout innings in the Yankees' 7-0 Game 1 win.
According to sources, the Yankees' loud objections on Saturday night led to the Astros cutting the whistling act in Game 2.
In that game, starter James Paxton and catcher Gary Sanchez frequently changed the signs with no one on base, a clear indication that they were worried about sign stealing from a mysterious location.
An Astros spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.