Major League Baseball said it investigated allegations that the Houston Astros were attempting to steal signs during the postseason and found no violations.
The Astros were suspected of having an employee near the field to study the signs of opposing teams, but MLB determined the person in question was monitoring opposing teams to make sure they weren’t up to wrongdoing.
The investigation ramped up after the Houston employee appeared to be shooting video from the photographer area next to the dugout of the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Cleveland Indians reportedly filed a complaint against the same person, stemming from an incident during Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the Astros.
“With respect to both incidents regarding a Houston Astros employee, security identified an issue, addressed it and turned the matter over to the Department of Investigations,” MLB said in a statement. “A thorough investigation concluded that an Astros employee was monitoring the field to ensure that the opposing club was not violating any rules.
“All clubs remaining in the playoffs have been notified to refrain from these types of efforts and to direct complaints about any in-stadium rules violations to MLB staff for investigation and resolution. We consider the matter closed.”
The ALCS incident took place Saturday night in Boston. According to the Boston Metro, a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed from the media-credentialed area next to the Red Sox dugout. The man, who did not have a credential, had a small camera and was texting frequently, per the report.
Security was tipped off to the man by the Indians, according to multiple reports.
A separate report from Yahoo Sports identified the man as Kyle McLaughlin and says he aimed a cell phone into the Indians’ dugout during their Game 3 loss to the Astros in the AL Division Series. McLaughlin was removed by security in Cleveland and Boston, according to the report. The Indians were swept by the Astros in the ALDS.
McLaughlin is not listed as an Astros employee and is reportedly connected with team owner Jim Crane.
The Yahoo Sports report adds the Astros were suspected of stealing signs by the Oakland Athletics during a series in late August and by the Los Angeles Dodgers during last year’s World Series, which Houston won in Game 7.
Prior to the postseason, teams were concerned about sign stealing, according to MLB.
“Before the postseason began, a number of clubs called the Commissioner’s Office about sign stealing and the inappropriate use of video equipment,” MLB said. “The concerns expressed related to a number of clubs, not any one specific club. In response to these calls, the Commissioner’s Office reinforced the existing rules with all playoff clubs and undertook proactive measures, including instituting a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras, increasing the presence of operations and security personnel from Major League Baseball at all postseason games and instituting a program of monitoring club video rooms.”
--Field Level Media