The Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez took a shot at the Houston Astros for using technology to cheat.
With less than one month remaining in the 60-game MLB season, the Chicago Cubs have surprised the baseball world by holding a significant lead in the NL Central division, despite their lack of moves this past winter. Even though the team is winning, shortstop Javier Baez has been struggling as of late, where he’s batting below .200 as of this writing.
When asked about his low production following Chicago’s 5-1 win on Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Baez attributed it to the lack of in-house video during the game, which is no longer allowed thanks to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox for using said technology to illegally steal signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Baez didn’t mince any words about it, saying they’re getting punished for something the Cubs didn’t even do:
Javier Baez wants in-game video back
Baez isn’t the only player to be outspoken about this new ruling by the league. Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez was heavily opposed to the league’s ban on the BATS (Baseball Analysis and Tracking System) consoles, saying that batters rely on them to study their swings and make the necessary changes in their next at-bat. That’s no longer allowed due to the actions of the Astros in 2017 and Red Sox in 2018, and because the league deemed replay rooms as a “COVID-19 concern.”
Houston placed cameras in center field of Minute Maid Park that would go to a television feed in the dugout. From there, someone would relay pitching signals to the batter by banging on a trash can. This was the season where the Astros happened to win their first-ever World Series. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred punished the organization by banning manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season (both were subsequently fired by team owner Jim Crane), fining the team $5 million and forfeiting their first- and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021.
Boston was also punished for using video replay rooms to steal signs in the 2018 season, but the league determined that they didn’t do anything as severe as the Astros. Then-manager Alex Cora, a former Astros bench coach in 2017, was banned for the 2020 season.
Even though teams can’t use the aforementioned consoles, Baez can take a bit of solace in the fact that he’s not the only player struggling this year. Entering Monday’s game against St. Louis, Baez owned a .191 batting average, .233 on-base percentage and .355 slugging percentage, while hitting six home runs and 17 RBI. Those numbers are set to increase shortly, as Baez notched three hits and scored one run in four at-bats.
MLB had a good thing in their in-game clubhouse video, but that’s now gone due to the actions of the aforementioned teams. While players like Baez and Martinez want it back, it’s unknown if the league will comply with their requests in the near future, especially if they want to combat electronic sign-stealing.