The Yankees accused the Astros of whistling from the dugout as a means to steal signs during Game 1 of this year's ALCS. Houston Manager A.J. Hinch called those accusations "a joke." A new report, though, suggests those accusations -- first reported by SNY's Andy Martino -- probably weren't "a joke."
In a wide-ranging report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and unnamed sources shed light on an elaborate sign-stealing operation the Astros used during their championship season in 2017.
According to the report, the Astros utilized a camera in center field to relay signs, which is a violation of MLB rules. Once the signs were known, someone would bang on a trash can near the Astros' dugout to relay the kind of pitch that was coming.
In the breakdown below from @Jomboy on Twitter, the banging sound can be heard before each time a changeup is thrown. Before a fastball is thrown, there is no banging. The noises clearly disturbed the White Sox, who changed their approach during the at-bat.
Astros using cameras to steal signs, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/rncm6qzXxw- Jomboy (@Jomboy_) November 12, 2019
The Yankees fell to the Astros in seven games in the 2017 ALCS (with the final two games taking place in Houston), and Aaron Judge was incredulous on Tuesday upon learning about the alleged electronic sign-stealing.
Wait... what....? https://t.co/z4i9MHTAVr- Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) November 12, 2019
Asked about the report on Tuesday at the GM Meetings, Brian Cashman was more measured, saying he doesn't think it revolves around "a technological question alone."
"You decide to play by the rules or you don't," Cashman said. "And if you don't, there's consequences. You're putting yourself at risk whether it's future employment, current employment, or sanctions or what have you. It's not a technology question as much as how you want to operate."
In Rosenthal's report, a "broader issue" for MLB and sign stealing is touched on, meaning this is not something that is limited to Houston.
Sign-stealing is accepted and legal as long as it does not involve using technological means. But what the Astros are accused of doing crosses both an ethical and rule-breaking line.
Later on Tuesday, the Astros released a statement in response to the accusations.
"Regarding the story posted by The Athletic earlier today, the Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball," the report said. "It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."
After the statement was released, Astros GM Jeff Lunhow also weighed in.
"I have heard what you all have heard, which is allegations," he said, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. "This isn't the first one I heard and it's not the first one you all have heard. Like I said, I think the best course of action is not to speculate right now. We are going to look into it with cooperation of the MLB and we will find out what there is."