2020 MLB Season Discussion Thread

maflynn

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Houston Astros' Jeff Luhnow, AJ Hinch suspended 1 season

Seems like the Astros get off easy.

Alex Cora is coming and is going to be harsh, sources told ESPN. Cora was the Astros' bench coach during the 2017 season.

Cora is identified throughout MLB's report as the ringleader along with Beltran. Commissioner Rob Manfred said that discipline for Cora will be announced at the completion of its investigation into the Red Sox's alleged use of the video replay room to steal signs during the 2018 season.
With the news that the Red Sox had a replay room dedicated to stealing signals, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cora gets a stiffer punishment.
 

oneMadRssn

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Disclaimer: I am a Red Sox fan. But I honestly don't care what happens to Cora. If he gets a lifetime ban, I will forget he ever existed pretty quick. I think the role of managers in general is overrated by fans and sports media.

But more importantly: No amount of punishment will deter future cheating by electronic sign stealing. The people responsible should be punished as retribution, but not for reason of future deterrence.

Why? It's just too dam easy to cheat this way and too dam tempting. As the stats show, it could make a huge difference, and since signs themselves are so unsophisticated, it's suuuuper easy to cheat. All punishment will do is incentivize future cheating by electronic sign stealing to be more sophisticated to reduce the chances of being caught. In other words, the lesson of the punishments will be: don't be stupid like the Astros and Cora: don't do it in the open and get caught.

For example: Battery-powered camera hidden in the outfield wirelessly transmitting video signal of the catcher to someone outside the park (in a neighboring building or a van), who reads and steals the signs, and then communicates the sign wirelessly to small battery-powered vibrating devices worn by the batters somewhere under their uniform - inside of their thigh or something. It would be nearly invisible and undetectable. A computer-science and electrical engineering undergrads can whip up that kind of system in a few days using off-the-shelf parts; none of it is overly difficult. No amount of officials in the dugout or the clubhouse or any other anti-cheating measures I've heard proposed would be able to find it.

The ONLY way to actually stop this kind of cheating is to eliminate the need for using hand signs. Amend the rules to let pitchers and catchers wear electronic devices to communicate with each other without using signs, if they want. It can be wireless earpieces and mics in the gloves, or it can be small vibrating wrist-bands with buttons for a pseudo-morse-code. Whatever it is as long as it's relatively invisible in their uniforms/pads/gloves and it doesn't delay the game at all. No signs means no easy and tempting way to cheat. It's the only way.
 

maflynn

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Wow espn is reporting that the Astros fired both Luhnow and Hinch. That in my opinion needed to happen. Cora needs to be fired as well (if the MLB) states he is guilty as well
 

ucfgrad93

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Wow espn is reporting that the Astros fired both Luhnow and Hinch. That in my opinion needed to happen. Cora needs to be fired as well (if the MLB) states he is guilty as well
The Astros were were also fined $5 million and lost their first and second round draft picks in 2020 & 2021.

Edit: clarify the loss of draft picks
 
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oneMadRssn

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Wow espn is reporting that the Astros fired both Luhnow and Hinch. That in my opinion needed to happen. Cora needs to be fired as well (if the MLB) states he is guilty as well
I want to see them fire Cora preemptively. Send a strong signal that regardless of what the investigation turns up the guy cannot be trusted to manage again.

Then make Varitek manager and Pedroia player coach!
 

oneMadRssn

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Yeah they ought too but I doubt it will happen
Other than some contractual obligation, I really don't see any reason not to do it. Maybe they need the MLB to make an official ruling before they can invoke some out clause in his contract, but other than that, there are only upsides from doing it ASAP and not waiting.
 

MacNut

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Other than some contractual obligation, I really don't see any reason not to do it. Maybe they need the MLB to make an official ruling before they can invoke some out clause in his contract, but other than that, there are only upsides from doing it ASAP and not waiting.
They most likely need to see MLB come out with their findings first. He has to be fired. The Red Sox will get a huge fine as well.
 

oneMadRssn

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They most likely need to see MLB come out with their findings first. He has to be fired. The Red Sox will get a huge fine as well.
Honestly, the fines so far support what I wrote above about punishments in this cheating scandal.

If the $5mil Astros sets the universe of what the MLB things is punitive for this cheating scantal, then it's not going to be effective at preventing future cheating at all.

Red Sox revenue is $500+mil / year recently. If the fine is 7 figures, the Sox can probably pay it in Ortiz jersey sales alone.
 

MacNut

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Honestly, the fines so far support what I wrote above about punishments in this cheating scandal.

If the $5mil Astros sets the universe of what the MLB things is punitive for this cheating scantal, then it's not going to be effective at preventing future cheating at all.

Red Sox revenue is $500+mil / year recently. If the fine is 7 figures, the Sox can probably pay it in Ortiz jersey sales alone.
What will hurt is firing the manager and the draft picks. $5 million on top of their luxury taxes will hurt. I expect a harsher punishment for Cora.
 
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MacNut

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Agreed, the loss of draft picks for two years will hurt. Astros should just clean house and get rid of all the managers/coaches.
Not to mention the label of cheaters, that will live much longer than a fine or draft picks.
 

MacNut

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How long do you think Hinch and Luhnow will be unemployed in MLB?
Luhnow will get a job first. Hinch might get a coaching job but not manager for a while. Eventually some team will be desperate enough. These guys are poison right now. Cora might never get another coaching job.
 

ucfgrad93

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Luhnow will get a job first. Hinch might get a coaching job but not manager for a while. Eventually some team will be desperate enough. These guys are poison right now. Cora might never get another coaching job.
I haven't followed this closely. Why is Cora so much worse?
 

MacNut

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I. Rules Violations in the 2017 Season
At the beginning of the 2017 season, employees in the Astros’ video replay review room began using the live game feed from the center field camera to attempt to decode and transmit opposing teams’ sign sequences (i.e., which sign flashed by the catcher is the actual sign) for use when an Astros runner was on second base. Once the sign sequence was decoded, a player in the video replay review room would act as a “runner” to relay the information to the dugout, and a person in the dugout would notify the players in the dugout or signal the sign sequence to the runner on second base, who in turn would decipher the catcher’s sign and signal to the batter from second base. Early in the season, Alex Cora, the Astros’ Bench Coach, began to call the replay review room on the replay phone to obtain the sign information. On at least some occasions, the employees in the replay review room communicated the sign sequence information by text message, which was received on the smart watch of a staff member on the bench, or in other cases on a cell phone stored nearby.
Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter. Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout. (The center field camera was primarily used for player development purposes and was allowed under MLB rules at the time when used for that purpose.) Witnesses have provided largely consistent accounts of how the monitor was utilized. One or more players watched the live feed of the center field camera on the monitor, and after decoding the sign, a player would bang a nearby trash can with a bat to communicate the upcoming pitch type to the batter. (Witnesses explained that they initially experimented with communicating sign information by clapping, whistling, or yelling, but that they eventually determined that banging a trash can was the preferred method of communication.) Players occasionally also used a massage gun to bang the trash can. Generally, one or two bangs corresponded to certain off-speed pitches, while no bang corresponded to a fastball.