Zeile: Stealing Signs Is Like Having All The Steroid Users On One Team

Other teams may have been stealing signs, Todd Zeile says, but no one did it as successfully – or as blatantly – as the Astros

The DA Show
February 25, 2020 - 11:08 am

The Houston Astros made their spring debut on Monday, beating the Detroit Tigers 11-1 in Lakeland, Fla. Jose Altuve was booed loudly before his first at-bat, which ended in a strikeout, and was grazed in the foot by a pitch from Tigers reliever Nick Ramirez.

One must wonder how long fan anger will persist this season – or whether it will persist after this season. But for many fans, the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is on par, if not worse, than using steroids.

Is sign-stealing a bigger advantage than using PEDs?

“I don’t know that it’s a bigger advantage,” former MLB veteran Todd Zeile said on The DA Show. “But if it’s one-sided, if it literally is the Astros were doing it and nobody else was, then it’s like having all the steroid players on one team. So I guess in that sense it creates a greater advantage. I get it. You still have to hit the baseball. But there’s a huge, huge advantage in knowing what’s coming from the opposition. Some teams teams recognize that they seem to be on their pitches and they try to switch up signs and do things to combat it. That may be a little bit of a nuanced difference between this and PEDs; you can keep switching signs, and it causes delays and more meetings at the mound. But it is something that I think is so uncharacteristic of the integrity of the game. I think it is a real black eye for the sport right now – and certainly for Houston.” 

There are rumblings that the Astros were not unique in stealing signs, that all teams do it – or at least try to do it. If that were the case, however, would so many players be speaking out against the Astros? Especially this angrily?

“I think this is the one thing that I’ve ever seen in my experience that has guys really being vocal about their disgust for the actions of other players,” Zeile said. “It’s very rare that you see players going after players in a public setting like this and showing that kind of anger. I, like you, had heard a lot of rumblings that . . . there was a level of this that was permeating throughout the game. I just think that it wasn’t done as successfully, I think it certainly wasn’t done as blatantly, and you have the added factor that the Astros have been winning and winning in a very demonstrative fashion. I think that adds to the anger, and you’re seeing guys that were knocked off by the Astros and feel slighted more than they just feel disgusted about the process.”