MLB's sign-stealing scandal continues to rock the sport this week, and it doesn't appear it's going to slow down any time soon. MLB released a nine-page report and issued sanctions against the Astros on Monday for a technology-driven sign-stealing scheme they used during their 2017 World Series run. That system involved players picking up the opposing catcher's signs on a video monitor and relaying them to the hitter by banging on a dugout trash can.
Was that the only system the Astros used to give their hitters an advantage? Some Twitter users don't think so. In this era of social media, we're going to have legions of fans poring through every photo and video available on the internet to try and find a smoking gun that "proves" there's been wrongdoing. Rumors were flying on social media Thursday afternoon, suggesting the Astros used a system during the 2019 season that included vibrating bandages to tip off the hitter as to whether a fastball or off-speed pitch was coming.
The latest movement became such a big deal that Major League Baseball decided to issue a statement, saying it did not find evidence of the Astros using any wearable devices during a months-long investigation. Here's the full MLB statement (via Joel Sherman of the New York Post):
"MLB explored wearable devices during the investigation but found no evidence to substantiate it."
One of the most widely circulated clips that suggested Astros players were wearing some sort of device was one of Jose Altuve's walk-off homer that clinched the ALCS against the Yankees. A common way to celebrate after a walk-off at home plate is for the hero's teammates to rip off his jersey. Altuve made sure his teammates didn't do this after his pennant-clinching blast:
WOWOWOW Here’s Jose Altuve telling his teammates NOT to take off his jersey after the HR off Chapman pic.twitter.com/8PuUIjQylD— Joey Merkel (@Joseph_Merkel) January 16, 2020
At the 49-second mark here, Ken Rosenthal asked why he asked his teammates to not rip off his shirt:
The searches didn't stop there. Is this a device that Josh Reddick forgot to remove before his TV interview following the win? Reddick's wife tweeted that it was a piece of confetti.
#scorchedearth pic.twitter.com/gKH4OUdI6u— Bryan Arthur (@bryanarthur) January 16, 2020
Unsurprisingly, Altuve's agent, Scott Boras, had a statement ready:
Reach out to Scott Boras about his client Jose Altuve: “When this came up today, Jose Altuve immediately contacted me and this is his statement: ‘I have never worn an electronic device in my performance as a major league player.’” #Astros— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 16, 2020
Just as we suspected Monday when the suspensions for then-Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were announced, this scandal isn't something that's going away any time soon. Three managers have lost jobs this week and the league is still looking into sign-stealing allegations against the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox.