Nearly two months have passed since Major League Baseball punished the Houston Astros for improperly using technology to steal signs during the 2017 season. The fallout isn't over, however. Rather, the league and the players union are still discussing new guidelines about the in-game use of video, as well as the potential punishments for those who violate the new rules, even with Opening Day less than three weeks off, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
The main areas of concern are "discipline and editing," per Drellich. Or, in other words, how rule-breakers would be punished, and how the league can stop players from abusing in-game video.
On the discipline front, the two sides don't want to preset penalties the way they have for performance-enhancing drugs, Drellich reports. The sanctions would vary based on the individual and the alleged offense. Operating without precedent or a consistent scale is tricky, however -- look no further than the league's scattershot approach to punishing players who violate the league's domestic violence policy, or those who engage in beanball wars that spur brawls.
As for the "editing," it appears that a compromise will need to be put into place. Players want to be able to review their previous at-bats or innings, as an evaluation and coaching tool. MLB is concerned that permitting the players to do so could open the door for bad-faith actors. Some possible solutions, as suggested by Drellich, include the league either editing or blurring out the signs, with the latter requiring new technology.
It's worth noting that this topic isn't going away. MLB still has to release its report on the Boston Red Sox and their alleged improper use of technology during the 2018 season. The penalties handed down from that investigation are likely to be less severe than those given to the Astros, in part because the Red Sox have since parted ways with their general manager and skipper.