Following several allegations of teams using cameras and phones to steal signs from catchers last season, including in the playoffs, Major League Baseball is putting rules in place to prevent high-tech sign stealing,
First reported in an SI.com piece, the rules focus on TV monitors, cameras and other pieces of technology at ballparks that could possibly be used to hijack an opposing team’s signs.
“Commissioner Rob Manfred believed the restrictions were necessary because high-tech sign stealing grew more prevalent and slowed the pace of play because of the paranoia it engendered,” according to SI. “Last November general managers thoroughly endorsed the adopting of such rules rather than engage in what they saw as a coming ‘high-tech arms race to cheat,’ according to one source.”
Under the new rules, any outfield cameras that are stationed between the foul poles and unrelated to a television broadcast will now be banned. In a related move, TV monitors in clubhouses will now have to be on an eight-second delay.
Teams will still be able to have a designated replay official watch a live broadcast in order to inform managers about potential challenges, but that official will be monitored by a league security expert.
To help the league enforce the new rules, each MLB club must provide an audit of every in-house camera, including its purpose, its wiring and where its signal can be viewed.
Violators of the new rules will face sanctions such as the loss of both draft picks and international spending money.
All these measures would seek to improve upon the original sign stealing rule which prohibited the practice from any location other than by a runner on second base.