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USATSI

Prior to the start of the 2020 season, Major League Baseball announced that it would be shutting down team video replay rooms as part of the league's coronavirus health and safety protocols. But, it's worth noting that the shutdown also came after the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros were found to have improperly used the video replay room to decode the opponent's signs, which were then relayed to the hitter.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash isn't too happy with the new restrictions. According to Cash, the prohibition of players and coaches entering the video replay room this season deprives the club of being able to use video as a way to make mid-game adjustments. Here's what Cash told MLB Network Radio:

Without being too controversial, I think it's absolutely ridiculous. It's probably one of the worst things that I've seen Major League Baseball do in take video away from players. Video is what makes us good. It helps us learn, it helps us coach, it helps us attack. And it's been taken away from us because of one team, or a couple teams' stupid choices.

We can't even watch a game, we cannot watch our own game. Our players cannot come in and watch a game in the clubhouse. It is asinine. The entire protocol system, how they came up with that, it is wrong. They're doing an injustice to players.

When Cash was asked what he believes is the best solution, he suggested penalizing the team(s) that broke the rules and then allowing the rest of the teams to have access to what helps them during games. Here's more from Cash:

It's unfair to all players, not just our players with the Rays. It's unfair for guys that really care about their careers and are passionate to learn and passionate to make in-game adjustments and it's not available. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Kyle Snyder and Chad Mottola, our hitting coach and pitching coach, they do a tremendous job and some of their best work is done in-games. When they can go back in between innings and look at what a pitcher is trying to do or what one of our pitchers is doing mechanically or is just off, we can be really good coaches with some video and help and give the right messages. But, when that's taken away, we're done hitting, we just kind of sit there. There's no information to give the hitter and vice versa for the pitcher.

Additional rule changes to police the video room this season also included

  • the video room operators being limited to communicating with just the manager or coach regarding a challenge
  • the league adding security to watch the clubhouses and entrances to video rooms
  • players instead being provided with pre-loaded iPads instead of granted live, in-game access. 

Our own Mike Axisa suggested the elimination of in-game video access as the best way for MLB to stop electronic sign-stealing altogether.