Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
While Joe Torre says he won't be involved in Major League Baseball's investigation into the Astros, the league's chief baseball officer has no problem offering his strong opinion on the accusations that Houston used technology, including cameras, to steal signs during their 2017 World Series run:
"It's disturbing to me, I don't think there's any secret," Torre said Thursday evening. "Sign stealing has always been a part of our game, but in the legitimate way - you get to second base and if you see something the catcher is doing, you try to let the hitter know."
But using tech to gain an advantage is clearly going too far, added Torre, who spoke before the charity gala for his Safe at Home Foundation in Manhattan.
"I always want the ability on the field to determine who the winner is," Torre said. "I just don't think it's a level playing field and it's not good for our game."
While Torre oversees major league operations, on-field discipline, on-field operations and umpiring in his MLB role, the probe into the Astros is being handled by MLB's Department of Investigations.
The scandal, which has also involved new Mets manager Carlos Beltrán, who was a member of the 2017 Astros, isn't going away anytime soon, said David Cone, a guest at Torre's dinner.
"The paranoia is real," Cone said, noting how many times pitchers and catchers change signals during games to fight the espionage.
"I'm interested to see what the investigation brings at the end," Cone said. "But the Astros might not be the only ones trying to do it, either. There's probably others trying to do it. Nobody's been caught yet. This one looks pretty bad."
"It's one thing getting (signals) from a guy at second base," added former Yankee star Tino Martinez. "But to have a camera out there, every home game, every pitch, that's a huge advantage.
"I wish I had every pitch. I might be in the Hall of Fame."
Sometimes, Cone said, players police these kinds of breaches themselves. But purpose pitches aren't as accepted as they once were.
"Pitchers don't throw at batters' heads like they used to," Cone said. "I know what Bob Gibson would've done, guys in the past, when these things came up."
As a former pitcher, Cone noted that having the signals stolen could leave a hurler with a feeling of "helpless, vulnerable, being taken advantage of."
Not every pitcher agrees, though. Former Met John Franco stressed that the best answer if an opponent swipes your signs - no matter how it's done - is to "Make your pitches and throw good pitches," he said.
"Even if they know it's coming, you make good pitches and hit your spot, it's going to be really hard to hit," Franco added.
Beltrán is expected to be interviewed as part of MLB's investigation. Whatever happens as a result of the inquiry, Franco says he doesn't believe Beltrán will face discipline.
"All of it will probably fall onto the Houston organization," Franco said. "I don't think Carlos has anything to worry about."
Cone agrees that "90 percent of the time" when a pitcher is victimized by sign stealing, it's because of "somebody that's skilled with their eyes."
But, he added, "somebody watching a camera in the dugout, that's a little bit of a different story. You're going to want Major League Baseball to come up with some sort of solution. I don't know if it's something like what quarterbacks use in football, with some sort of earpiece or something. I know Joe Girardi believes in that.
"Maybe it's time to start talking about those sorts of things."