October 16, 2018

MLB Closes Investigation Into Claims Astros Cheated In ALDS Game 3 & ALCS Game 1

Metro Exclusive: Astros May Have Been Cheating In Game 1 Against Red Sox
Danny Picard, Metro Boston, October 16, 2018
In the third inning of the first game of the [ALCS], security removed a man claiming to be an Astros employee from the media-credentialed area next to the Boston Red Sox dugout, according to multiple security sources ... The man had a small camera and was texting frequently, but did not have a media credential.

After the man was removed another Astros staffer intervened - according to sources who were on the scene - and tried to convince security that he was authorized to be in the area next to the dugout. The man was not allowed back into the credentialed area, but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.

Security sources say they had been warned about the man, because of some suspicious activity in Houston's ALDS series against [Cleveland]. It's unclear as to whether or not that warning came from Major League Baseball or the Red Sox.

MLB Chief Communications Officer Pat Courtney acknowledged Saturday night's incident in an email on Tuesday afternoon, saying, "We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally."
Updated: Astros Possibly Got Caught Cheating In Game 1 Of ALCS Against Red Sox; Source: 'This Is A Big Story'
Lucy Burdge, WEEI.com, October 16, 2018
After the Red Sox' 8-2 win over the Astros, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that the matter had been taken care of early in Game 1 and did not impact the outcome in any way. Dombrowski said he had been briefed on MLB's investigation Tuesday but has been instructed by Major League Baseball to not to comment on any of the situation's particulars.

"That was taken care of very early in the game," he said. "That didn't have anything to do with the game. Really, all I can say is it's in Major League Baseball's hands. It was done early in the game, caught early in the game. There are things they were dealing with. It's in Major League Baseball's hands. But it did not cost us anything."
Rob Bradford (WEEI.com) posted two tweets:
"Just talked to Major League exec about this: 'This is a big story' Insinuated feeling in baseball that this is far from an isolated incident"

"To be clear, source was exec with another MLB team who was familiar with the situation"
Evan Drellich (NBC Sports Boston) posted three tweets:
"Sources: in a similar incident with someone affiliated with the Astros, the Indians suspected there was an attempt by the Astros to gain information impermissibly in Cleveland during the American League Division Series"

"Sources: the Indians tipped Red Sox off to Astros employee attempting to impermissibly gather info. The same individual was involved both in Cleveland and Boston. That same employee was seen again at Minute Maid Park today, but not in a suspicious capacity."

"The Astros employee involved works for the team essentially in his free time, sources said. He has a connection to Astros owner Jim Crane."
Astros Employee Removed From Photo Pit Near Red Sox Dugout In Game 1 Of ALCS
Alex Speier, Boston Globe, October 16, 2018
Fenway Park security identified an unauthorized Astros representative monitoring the Red Sox dugout with a cellphone camera from the first-base photographer's well during the early innings of Game 1 of the ALCS. ...

As first reported by Metro Boston, the Astros were described as initially uncooperative when the security team questioned the employee.

An industry source told the Globe that MLB's investigation concluded the Astros employee was trying to determine if the Red Sox were using dugout video monitors to steal signs from the Astros. ...

The man, identified by Yahoo! Sports as Kyle McLaughlin, was discovered during the first three innings of the game. He was removed by security and told not to return.

The behavior that was stopped, according to the source, didn't provide a competitive advantage for the Astros.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch claimed he was unclear of the details of the incident.

"I'm aware of something going on, but I haven't been briefed," he said. ...

Yahoo! Sports reported that the [Clevelands] caught McLaughlin taking photographs of their dugout during Game 3 of their Division Series against Houston and had him removed.

The [Clevelands] are believed to have warned the Red Sox.
Cleveland [Baseball Team] File[s] Complaint To MLB About Astros Trying To Film Inside Their Dugout During ALDS
Paul Hoynes, Cleveland.com
The [Clevelands] have filed a complaint with MLB about the Houston Astros trying to film inside their dugout during the Game 3 of the ALDS at Progressive Field.

An employee of the Astros, holding a cellphone camera, was removed twice by security from the photographer's pit next to [Cleveland's] dugout during Game 3 on Oct. 8. The Astros completed a three-game sweep ... with an 11-3 win that day.

On Oct. 9, the day after Houston's sweep, Boston officials called the [Cleveland Baseball Team] to find out what happened. Four days later a similar incident took place at Fenway Park during Game 1 of the ALCS ...

For almost two weeks before the ALDS, the [Clevelands] worked hard to protect their signs because of Houston's reputation for stealing signs. The Astros reportedly try to train cameras on the opposing catcher, manager and bench coach in an effort to steal signs and pick up tendencies.

[Cleveland's] preparation was so intense that those close to the situation said it bordered on paranoia. ...

The Astros, according to one school of thought, may have just planted the man in the photographer's pit next to [Cleveland's] dugout as a smokescreen. Manager Terry Francona, bench coach Brad Mills and other coaches are located at the other end of a crowded dugout. So what exactly could he decipher from the camera pit?
Sources: Red Sox Were Warned By [Cleveoland] About Astros Attempting To Steal Signs And Information
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports, October 16, 2018
The Boston Red Sox were warned that a man credentialed by the Houston Astros might try to steal signs or information from their dugout after [Cleveland] caught him taking pictures of their dugout with a cellphone camera during Game 3 of the American League Division Series, sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports.

A photograph obtained by Yahoo Sports showed a man named Kyle McLaughlin aiming a cell phone into Cleveland's dugout during [Cleveland's] 11-3 loss that ended their season. McLaughlin was the same man caught taking pictures near the Red Sox's dugout during Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, which was first reported by the Metro Times. McLaughlin was removed by security in Cleveland and Boston, sources said.

While McLaughlin is not listed publicly as an Astros employee, photographs on his Instagram account show him wearing an Astros ID badge as he posed for a picture in 2016 with Astros owner Jim Crane. In another photo, McLaughlin is standing next to a private plane with logos for the Astros and two companies owned by Crane ... McLaughlin removed "Houston Astros" from his biography on his Instagram page Tuesday night.

It was the culmination of a series of events that cast aspersions on the defending World Series champions, who have been accused of cheating by at least one other organization this season, sources told Yahoo Sports. Major League Baseball, which was made aware of McLaughlin taking the photograph in [Cleveland's] dugout before the ALCS, declined comment. ... McLaughlin did not respond to messages left on two social-media accounts.

MLB significantly beefed up its security presence at Game 3 on Tuesday, according to a league source with knowledge of its staff, sending three people from its baseball-operations office and another six security personnel to monitor the game. The league stationed an employee in each of the teams' video-review rooms, according to the source. The paranoia among teams, the source said, "is like the NFL these days. Every club thinks the other club is cheating."

This is not the first investigation into the Astros' attempts to gain competitive advantages this season, three sources told Yahoo Sports. During a late-August game against Oakland, A's players noticed Astros players clapping in the dugout before pitches and believed they were relaying stolen signs to pitchers in the batter's box, sources said. The A's called the league, which said it would investigate the matter. It's unclear what the result of the investigation was or whether it remains ongoing.

Two major league players said they have witnessed the Astros hitting a trash can in the dugout in recent years and believe it is a way to relay signals to hitters. The Los Angeles Dodgers also believed the Astros were stealing signs during the World Series last season, according to two sources. ...

Teams around the league are perhaps more wary of the Astros than any team, fearful that their employment of cameras – they use high-speed models made by Edgertronic to help evaluate players, according to sources – allows them to steal signs. MLB has not punished the Astros for any illegal behavior, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Jason Bristol, KHOU-TV (Houston) posted four tweets:
"This isn't good optics ... 'McLaughlin removed "Houston Astros" from his biography on his Instagram page Tuesday night.'"

"But what's really interesting is inside that Zoominfo search, that same Kyle R. McLaughlin has work experience at Floridian National Golf Club...which is owned by Astros owner Jim Crane."

"What's interesting is the person identified by Yahoo's Passan, Kyle R. *McLaughlin*, is identified as part of 'Baseball Operations' for #Astros via @ZoomInfo, though he's not listed in Astros directory (i.e. media guide)"

"Two diff reports now say MLB has closed the matter on the Astros; "the person in question was with the Astros, he was actually trying to ensure that the Red Sox were not the ones cheating," per @Forbes"

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