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2020 draft class

MLB Draft Today, 10:42 AM
Obviously, it's never too early to get excited about the upcoming draft. Pipeline has a top 100 up already. http://m.mlb.com/pro...020/?l...
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Josh Donaldson’s swing.... again

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:37 AM
Ok, I know, tired..... but dang that’s pretty! I can’t wait to see that with a TC on the cap. https://m.youtube.co...eature=youtu.be
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Baby Blues Are Back!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:23 AM
I'm so happy!       Here is the press release:     TWINS RETURN TO HISTORY, UNVEIL BABY BLUE ALTERNATE UNIFORM...
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Adrift in a sea of advanced stats

Other Baseball Today, 11:32 AM
Hey all,    I see a lot of advanced stats flashed at Twins Daily.    I was a wondering which among them you all saw a...
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How the internal (back-end) pitching options stack up for...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:32 AM
There seems to be a general consensus that the Twins are in desperate need of at least one additional starting pitcher for their rotation...
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Have the Twins Been Getting Beaten by Cheaters?

On Monday, sanctions came down on the Houston Astros following the revelation of their illegal sign-stealing practices. Soon after, a former Minnesota Twin spoke out and suggested that this issue runs deeper than anyone wants to believe.

One wonders if we're just scratching the surface.
Image courtesy of Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
The penalties levied upon the Astros were fairly severe, especially after the ripple effects played out. Manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow received one-year bans from MLB before being promptly fired by owner Jim Crane. Houston also forfeited several high draft picks and received a fine. Alex Cora, who reportedly helped orchestrate the cheating – and, as you may recall, threw a fit last year by falsely accusing Eddie Rosario of breaking the rules on a bunt – is certainly destined for a lengthy ban of his own.

That's all well and good, but does little to mollify the concerns of a longtime baseball fan like myself.

Ever since this scandal first surfaced – through the exceptional reporting work of Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drelich – I've found myself asking: how deep does this go? It's hard to believe the Astros are an isolated case.

Hours after the bombshell, Logan Morrison weighed in on Instagram, adding some perturbing insights of his own. "So many teams are doing this," he wrote. "I know from first hand accounts that the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Red Sox all have used film to steal signs."



How credible is this latest allegation? Who knows. But the decisive action by the commissioner against Houston leaves no doubt as to the verified gravity of these offenses for at least one team, and we're only starting to learn the truth. Baseball's player association is a brotherhood, and sometimes the loyalty can manifest in negative ways. It did when the steroid epidemic of the '90s ran rampant, unspoken.

Unspoken, that is, until the cracks begin to creep up. By 2003, David Wells was proclaiming that, "As of right now, I'd estimate 25 to 40 percent of all major leaguers are juiced. But that number's fast rising."

Are Mike Fiers and Morrison merely the first to shed light on a lurking corruption at the game's core? You might not be inclined to put these transgressions at the level of PEDs, but the benefit of knowing what pitch is coming? Especially when you're a good hitter, in a big spot? That can't be downplayed. Depending on the depth and extent of these activities, it's entirely possible that history was altered in significant ways by foul play.

As a fan of the Twins, who have not to my knowledge been referenced in connection with any of these activities? Well, I can't help but think about the 123 runs the Astros have scored in 19 games against Minnesota since 2017, when they won a now-tainted World Series.

I can't help but think about the unbelievable hypocrisy of Cora, and the dark cloud that now hovers over Boston's championship in 2018.

And given that New York was the first team mentioned by Morrison in his own remarks, I can't help but think about all those times over the years that Yankees hitters seemed to be sitting on the right pitch, at the right time, and dispatching the Twins with almost surreal consistency. Especially in the playoffs.

Bitterness? You could say so. And maybe my own favorite team will be implicated at some point. No possibilities can be ruled out at a time where offense and home runs have gone absolutely bananas and the once-scrappy Twins are leading the revolution. But for now, I choose to believe in the integrity of this franchise, and the people running it.

Under this belief, the notion that an already disadvantaged team may be having the deck further stacked against it, by rampant and seemingly unrepentant cheating?

It's gut-wrenching. Not just as a Twins fan, but as a baseball fan.

Rob Manfred faces a crisis. To ignore it would be to dismiss any plausibility of a level playing field, in a sport where that ideal has always been under assault.

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133 Comments

 

Also in 2017:

 

Home OPS: .812

Road OPS: .834

 

I have no doubt they were cheating, and I'm not against any or all possible penalties for them, but I don't know that we can draw any definitive conclusions as to what degree the cheating helped.

 

Which if the cheating didn't actually help, getting busted for it and penalized for it makes me smile even more.

 

The X factor here is the 2017 Astros team was REALLY good to begin with.It's not like they were an average talented team who needed cheating to win.

 

Postseason stats in 2017:

 

Alex Bregman: Road – .154 BA, .508 OPS; Home – .273 BA, .857 OPS.
Carlos Correa: Road – .211 BA, .626 OPS; Home – .371 BA, 1.164 OPS.
Jose Altuve: Road – .143 BA, .497 OPS; Home – .472 BA, 1.541 OPS.
Brian McCann: Road – .037 BA, .198 OPS; Home – .300 BA, .849 OPS.
Evan Gattis: Road – .200 BA, .533 OPS; Home – .300 BA, 1.014 OPS.

 

    • glunn and h2oface like this

 

While agreeing with all of the above, I also can’t help thinking that if pitchers weren’t taking so much time to deliver the pitch, this type of cheating would be minimal. I don’t know, let’s see what turns up.

Knowing what pitch is coming is huge, but I doubt batters would have much time to look away from the pitcher, decode the signal, and then bring their eyes back to the pitcher’s delivery slot before the pitch comes. And that’s the last step in the process. Illegal sign stealing like this... I think it would work only under the right conditions.

 

You know ... I think a LOT of batters take way too much, time ... in and out of that batter's box. 

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

The X factor here is the 2017 Astros team was REALLY good to begin with. It's not like they were an average talented team who needed cheating to win.

Postseason stats in 2017:

Alex Bregman: Road – .154 BA, .508 OPS; Home – .273 BA, .857 OPS.
Carlos Correa: Road – .211 BA, .626 OPS; Home – .371 BA, 1.164 OPS.
Jose Altuve: Road – .143 BA, .497 OPS; Home – .472 BA, 1.541 OPS.
Brian McCann: Road – .037 BA, .198 OPS; Home – .300 BA, .849 OPS.
Evan Gattis: Road – .200 BA, .533 OPS; Home – .300 BA, 1.014 OPS.


Doesn’t matter. We can’t definitely say roids helped guys like Bonds, either. Bottom line, they cheated. If it didn’t help them enough, then they’re just dumb for doing it.

 

Should the Twins have to void any games won in 2019 in which Pineda appeared?

 

Apples and oranges, man.

While agreeing with all of the above, I also can’t help thinking that if pitchers weren’t taking so much time to deliver the pitch, this type of cheating would be minimal. I don’t know, let’s see what turns up.

Knowing what pitch is coming is huge, but I doubt batters would have much time to look away from the pitcher, decode the signal, and then bring their eyes back to the pitcher’s delivery slot before the pitch comes. And that’s the last step in the process. Illegal sign stealing like this... I think it would work only under the right conditions.


The batters didn't need to look away.
They were using sounds (specifically banging on trash cans) to indicate the pitch to the hitter from the dugout.

 

50 game ban for every player who served more than 120 games on the major league roster of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Astros. It would turn them into a AAA team long enough to eliminate them from playoff contention and there would be no 1st or 2nd round picks to show for the lost season. This would have been fair in my opinion and can guarantee no team would risk this type of cheating again.

Say goodbye to Marwin for 1/3 of the season, then....eeeks.

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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 14 2020 12:29 PM

 

Doesn’t matter. We can’t definitely say roids helped guys like Bonds, either. Bottom line, they cheated. If it didn’t help them enough, then they’re just dumb for doing it.

 

You're not wrong about this... whether it helped or not, they did it. I'm not quite sure what the right answer is... The reason MLB didn't punish players is that level of culpability was not able to be determined... If Marwin, for example, verbally voiced his concern to coaches... how do you punish him? If he did it in writing, that's something else if by chance someone still has the email (and data retention polices are often in place to prevent those exact type of issues). That's why it gets so sticky...

 

I don't have a problem though, after reading your posts, agreeing that this was probably a bit too light. Not sure I'd call it a lifetime ban like Rose since to be fair that penalty wasn't in place in advance like it was for Rose, but I can definitely see where it should be harsher. Beltran in particular should get punished, and he's going to get off scott free.

 

You're not wrong about this... whether it helped or not, they did it. I'm not quite sure what the right answer is... The reason MLB didn't punish players is that level of culpability was not able to be determined... If Marwin, for example, verbally voiced his concern to coaches... how do you punish him? If he did it in writing, that's something else if by chance someone still has the email (and data retention polices are often in place to prevent those exact type of issues). That's why it gets so sticky...

 

I don't have a problem though, after reading your posts, agreeing that this was probably a bit too light. Not sure I'd call it a lifetime ban like Rose since to be fair that penalty wasn't in place in advance like it was for Rose, but I can definitely see where it should be harsher. Beltran in particular should get punished, and he's going to get off scott free.

 

IMO how do you punish players without hard evidence of who it helped and who it didn't?You cannot just suspend everyone, that turns into a witch hunt.You can go by word of mouth of who said what, but that's a pretty slippery slope when it comes to punishment, especially as harsh punishment as some people in here are suggesting.

 

Are you going to suspend everyone who put on a jersey because they didn't report it and immediate put their own career and future in jeopardy?It's easy to yell right now at the players from the sidelines.  

 

In the end the commish works for the owners.He gave the biggest monetary fee allowed by the constitution and threw down a pretty big penalty for the first ever punishment of this kind.While I agree, it's kinda sad to see the player's get off scott free.....I really don't know what would be appropriate, or what you could possibly do.

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tony&rodney
Jan 14 2020 12:44 PM

The best explanation for anyone interested to know about what effect this cheating has is a video by Matt Antonelli on page 3 of the post concerning the Astros.

In short (if you won't watch it), there isn't anything in baseball that results in a better advantage for a hitter than knowing what pitch is coming. 

Please don't insert steroids as a similar advantage. We all know someone who has taken steroids and can't hit a softball. Yes, steroids are huge for recovery of injuries.

Yes, steroids must be eradicated from baseball, but they do not belong in the same conversation. Also, betting? C'mon, there is definitive proof and knowledge by hundreds of former players, as well as the league, concerning Pete Rose. 

The Twins most likely were affected by teams using technology against them. To collect and prove that assertion becomes necessary for any penalty to be levied, however. Several times in the last couple of year, while watching the Twins, I have commented out loud about a catcher going through complex signs when the bases were empty. Until such time as firm evidence is presented, we will have to accept that the Yankees just were really good at laying off tough pitches and guessing.

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sweetmusicviola16
Jan 14 2020 12:45 PM

 

Well, when you lose 20 playoff games in a row (which is impossible in baseball) to a team that has been implicated in this mess by former players (the Yankees), I think it’s clear how the Twins were “cheated out of something.”

Also, the Yankees beat the Twins for home field last year by 2 games, including losing a series at home to the Yankees. You don’t think illegally using video analytics to steal signs for the entire season could’ve changed that outcome?

It’s not bad enough to have the umps calling doubles 3 feet inside of the line foul....you also have to beat the most potent offense in the game when they know what pitch is coming.

I’m not sure how it would work, but I’m pissed if I’m a pitcher like Berrios or Odorizzi. I’m going to players association and elsewhere to see if there is any sort of grievance I can file against the alleged teams or MLB. These guys just negotiated contracts. Playoff victory’s vs playoff losses to the Yankees on their record could cause a difference of millions.

And I don't get a union that will tolerate this. Beltran is guilty and gets nothing because the players union will resist punishment? What a crock. Hang Beltrans *** out to dry. Now he's a manager. Kick him out. No to him and others who are cheating for HOF either. This imo is as bad as Rose. Honestly, worse.

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twinkiesfan11
Jan 14 2020 12:47 PM

Say goodbye to Marwin for 1/3 of the season, then....eeeks.


Love Marwin but would be fine with that, punishment should apply to all players and personnel that participated or were aware and looked the other way. I don’t feel MLB came down nearly hard enough, every team and player in the league should be scared ****less to attempt or continue this type of behavior.
    • SQUIRREL, Mike Sixel, beckmt and 1 other like this
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Ex-Iowegian
Jan 14 2020 12:48 PM

How about suspend their franchise for a year? No schedule, no games. Nothing.

That would leave a lasting mark in the record books. Let the Players Union work out what happens as far as the current players go.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco, bighat and sweetmusicviola16 like this
Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to speed up the game. Make every hitter abide by the pitchers pace. Mark Buerhle wasn’t having his signs stolen as it couldn’t happen in the brief second it took him from sign to delivery
    • SQUIRREL, spycake, Hosken Bombo Disco and 1 other like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Jan 14 2020 12:55 PM

Crane also knew darn well what was going on too. What a farce. Reap millions with a WS and get a slap on the wrist.An organization that turns a blind eye and Hinch gets to fall on the sword.

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sweetmusicviola16
Jan 14 2020 12:58 PM

 

How about suspend their franchise for a year? No schedule, no games. Nothing.

That would leave a lasting mark in the record books. Let the Players Union work out what happens as far as the current players go.

I'm for this. Let Crane pay his players for nothing. What a crook. Won't happen of course.

 

Crane also knew darn well what was going on too. What a farce. Reap millions with a WS and get a slap on the wrist.An organization that turns a blind eye and Hinch gets to fall on the sword.

 

That's an assumption.He very well could have.He very well might not have known a damn thing.  

    • USAFChief, nicksaviking and h2oface like this

 

How about suspend their franchise for a year? No schedule, no games. Nothing.

That would leave a lasting mark in the record books. Let the Players Union work out what happens as far as the current players go.

 

That doesn't only effect the players union though.There are thousands of players and employees in the Houston franchise that had nothing to do with this.You are effecting so many people doing something rash like that.Not to mention, the league isn't going to hurt itself.Doing something like this is a great way to push fans away from your sport/league.Manfred and commissioner's office works for the league and the owners of the league, not the other way around.

    • nicksaviking, Riverbrian and Hosken Bombo Disco like this

Let's say this is the tip of the iceberg, it turns out at least half the teams in mlb has been doing exactly what Houston did and it's been an open secret for years within clubhouses.

 

Are you more mad if you find out the Twins are one of the teams that did or that didn't do it?

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twinkiesfan11
Jan 14 2020 01:13 PM

Let's say this is the tip of the iceberg, it turns out at least half the teams in mlb has been doing exactly what Houston did and it's been an open secret for years within clubhouses.

Are you more mad if you find out the Twins are one of the teams that did or that didn't do it?


More mad if the Twins were found to be one of the cheaters...although if they were doing it prior to 2019 it clearly didn’t pay off very well for them...
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birdwatcher
Jan 14 2020 01:18 PM

 

Any mention of Marwin Gonzalez in the report? Marwin was among the Astros batters who knocked Darvish out of the second inning in both games 3 and 7 of the 2017 World Series, despite a largely ineffective postseason at the plate otherwise.

 

Good point. In my view, each and every one of the position players on those teams should be given an opportunity to go on record: tell the public if you participated, if you knew, or otherwise be singled out for your "no comment" thing. But they'll be let off the hook, by fans and owners and the union.

Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to speed up the game. Make every hitter abide by the pitchers pace. Mark Buerhle wasn’t having his signs stolen as it couldn’t happen in the brief second it took him from sign to delivery


I appreciate the effort, but most pitchers aren't Buehrle. They are often happy to slow the game down, just like most batters. I don't want *any* players being able to set the pace of the game, that's the problem.
    • SQUIRREL and SwainZag like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Jan 14 2020 01:42 PM

The batters didn't need to look away.
They were using sounds (specifically banging on trash cans) to indicate the pitch to the hitter from the dugout.

I know there are one or two video clips floating around of banging on trash can lids. I’ve got to think there was more to it than that, or we would have dozens of clips. That particular sound would be pretty obvious and I think people would catch on pretty quickly. But you are right, it could still be an audio signal that hasn’t been revealed yet.
    • Blake likes this
FWIW, Marwin had his crazy outlier career year at the plate for the 2017 Astros too...
    • USAFChief likes this

 

Any mention of Marwin Gonzalez in the report? Marwin was among the Astros batters who knocked Darvish out of the second inning in both games 3 and 7 of the 2017 World Series, despite a largely ineffective postseason at the plate otherwise.

 

I remember multiple articles about the possibility of Darvish tipping his pitches as an explanation for his poor World Series Performance that year. 

 

Obviously... it can no longer be assumed that by "tipping pitches" it was something that he was doing... like holding the ball or glove in a different location or something with this new can of worms opened up. 

 

Now, I realize that Darvish got paid decently by the Cubs the following year in free agency but in consideration of that World Series performance and in consideration of the latest news out of Houston.

 

Here's a question that no one has the answer to but...Potentially how much money do you think the Astros garbarge can banging cost Darvish in Free Agency that year? 

 

If he has a strong world series right before hitting FA... isn't it possible he gets a bigger contract? 

 

 

 

    • glunn and Blake like this

 

You can cheat, get caught, and then keep your title? What? Like the 1997 Final Four Gophers, they should have their post-season appearances and any titles eliminated and struck from the record.

 

The 2017 Championship Astros banners (and possibly the 2018 Red Sox banners) should be taken down from the stadium and the titles should be vacated.

Sorry, but can’t disagree more.  I personally think that the NCAA system is ridiculous.  We all know that the Gophers went to the Final Four - we saw it.  Fine the team, take draft picks, hit them where they hurt....but take away the championship??  Do we really know that the Astros wouldn’t have won the Series?  Their team was STACKED; cheating or no.  Of course they cheated, but how do you connect causality?  If a great team has to cheat to get a title, if that’s your assumption, then how do surprise teams win, like the ‘06 Cards or the ‘10 Giants??

The ‘87 Twins won A LOT of home games on their way to a title; did they cheat....or did they ride two pitchers, a couple hot hitters and a bunch of HRs?  I think we all know the answer to that.

    • SwainZag likes this