August 8, 2020

Astros’ Jose Altuve denies ever wearing electronic devices; MLB says no evidence to back Twitter rumors

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:

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