Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich report that MLB and the MLB Players Association are in discussions on new rules to combat electronic sign-stealing. The talks come in the wake of a winter dominated by the revelations that the Astros cheated by using tech to steal signs on their way to winning the 2017 World Series, and widespread speculation that the cheating continued in one way or another into the 2019 season.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer, a prominent figure within the MLBPA and Washington’s union rep, is one of the players taking a leading role in the talks. He spoke with Rosenthal in an interview on MLB Network about the players’ goals for the new rules. Scherzer made it clear that while he takes no issue with players using the video room during games to things like analyze their swings, he has a problem with the implementation of algorithms like the Astros’ Codebreaker system. The three-time Cy Young Award winner also stated that he feels that there are too many cameras on the field.
The discussion of new rules about the proper use of video is a much-needed step for a sport that has seen its credibility damaged by cheating. While the complicated nature of the issue may prevent new rules from going into place before the start of the season, the mere fact that they’re being talked about at all is a plus. Having a universally respected player like Scherzer as the public face of the initiative is also a boon.
Here’s my take. Unless there’s going to be league-appointed hall monitors patrolling every video room at every stadium to ensure that nobody’s doing anything wrong, it may just make the most sense to turn everything off once the games start. Players might complain that they can’t check their arm angles or see if there’s a hitch in their swings, but it’ll stop the nonsense.
This feels like one of those can’t-put-the-toothpaste-back-in-the-tube situations. Scherzer and his team know more about this stuff than I do, but that’s my two cents.