MLB Opening Day 2014: Expanded Replay Could Lead to Widespread Sign-Stealing
One of the hot topics in baseball going into the 2014 season is the expanded use of instant replay. There will be plenty more plays that teams can “challenge” or at least review now, and the league hopes that this will lead to getting more calls right on the field. Plenty of people have their problems with the new format as it will slow games down in all likelihood, but people seem to be ignoring a bigger potential problem: sign-stealing.
Teams are starting to add positions within their organizations to be up in a booth and advise coaches on which calls to challenge. That being said, teams will have to have their own cameras set up somewhere in the stands in order to get a better look at plays they may want to challenge. With that comes an ability for teams to steal signs even easier.
Say the team’s camera is placed in center field. That camera could easily pick up the signs of the opposing catcher, which could then be relayed down to the field. Clearly, that could be a huge advantage in any given game. The league is going to have to think of ways to ensure this doesn’t happen because it could get sticky quickly if they don’t.
Sign-stealing has always been part of America’s pastime. In fact, it’s looked at as somewhat of an art form to a lot of baseball people. However, with the increased use of video capturing equipment, sign-stealing would be flat-out cheating. It could take away from the integrity of games even more than the expanded replay rules themselves. This could be a major problem that not enough baseball people are paying attention to.