The Astros’ sign-stealing story has captured the attention of sports talk radio titans Mike Francesa, Michael Kay, and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, but each of these well-known voices this week has had their own unique take on the controversy.
On Tuesday, the Astros announced their intention to cooperate with Major League Baseball in investigating allegations they illegally, electronically stole signs from opponents in 2017 by utilizing a center-field camera in Minute Maid Park focused on the other team’s catcher and then deploying methods — most notably relying on employees or players to bang on a trash can to signal when a breaking pitch or offspeed pitch was coming — to alert the hitter at the plate.
Francesa said he thought this matter has been overblown.
“I get so tired of these stories,” the longtime WFAN host said, interrupting a caller who wanted to talk about the topic. “I’m telling you. I’ve never been a big believer in this stuff. … It’s silly. It’s silly.”
Francesa also said he didn’t believe it’s so easy for the players to cheat for technological reasons and that most players don’t like to get signs.
“After watching on TV, do you know a lot of times that the game’s are on s delay.” Francesa said. “Depending on whether the game is a real line or a satellite line. The game can be on a three-to-five second delay.
“The idea that it’s in real time you have to tell me … whether they transmit it off of satellite or not. This idea that (they players) wouldn’t have hit because they stole the signs, give me a break.”
ESPN’s Michael Kay, along with his his co-host, Don La Greca, gave an in-depth rundown of the situation, saying the Astros 2017 World Series win now has a taint on it.
“Here’s how the Astros did it,” Kay explained. “They positioned a camera in center field that was zeroed in on the catcher’s sign. That camera had a direct feed to a monitor that was put on the wall between the dugout and the clubhouse.
“So, essentially in the runway there would be people standing in there throughout the game trying to decipher the signs. And once they got the signs, what they would do is they would bang a medal garbage when they saw the sign for a breaking ball or a changeup. So the batter knew when it wasn’t going to be a fastball.”
Kay didn’t say the sign-stealing was the reason the Astros won the series, but added that their title will have an asterisk on it now.
“It worked because the Astros won a championship,” he said. “Now you can say they won Game 7 in L.A. OK, yeah, they’re also a pretty good team, but they have espionage somewhat behind them.”
As for Sirius XM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, he went off on one of his signature rants, blasting MLB and the Astros players while adding that severe punishment is needed to stop this growing problem.
“It’s about time you wake up baseball get moving,” Russo ranted. “My god, stop worrying about all this nonsense and stop with the investigations. Come down hard on them.
“Every guy who does this from now on you get an automatic suspension and your team is in trouble. And you take away their draft picks. Take them away.”
Russo also said players should be embarrassed trying to get an edge by using this kind of help.
“You should be disgraced yourself if you need to know what pitch is coming to be successful in the big leagues,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to win that way. Let me beat you straight up.”
“I should quit if I need that. Find out something else to do with my life.
The “Mad Dog” also said he feels this is really hurting baseball.
“My God! I’m down on the Astros,” he yelled. “I’m down on all of these teams doing this garbage. It’s ruining the sport.”
He also had a parting shot for the commissioner, calling for him to come up with a solution — and fast.
“My, god. It’s about time baseball. Get going, Rob (Manfred), now!”