Major League Baseball is internally handling an incident from Game 1 of the American League Championship Series involving suspicious activity by a Houston Astros employee at Fenway Park, according to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. According to the league’s investigation, the Astros employee engaged in shady behavior to make sure the Red Sox weren’t engaged in similarly shady behavior. But he had done something similar in the ALDS.
There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all over stealing signs. Per the report:
According to the source, the Astros employee had gone into the photo well down the first base line to monitor the Red Sox dugout. An MLB investigation into the matter concluded that the Astros employee was on something of a spy-vs.-spy mission to determine whether the Red Sox were using dugout video monitors to steal signs from the Astros.
The Astros employee was discovered during the early innings of Game 1 of the ALCS and removed from the photo pit by Fenway Park security. He was told not to return to the area. The behavior that was stopped, according to the source, was not believed to have gleaned a competitive advantage for the Astros.
An earlier report from MetroBoston seemed to play up the fact that the removed employee been caught with a camera and frequently texting, and that security had been warned about the employee “because of some suspicious activity in Houston’s ALDS series against the Cleveland Indians.” Additionally, Cleveland.com reported that Indians team officials officially filed a complaint with MLB about the Astros trying to film inside their dugout during the Game 3 of the ALDS. (Houston swept that series, 3-0.)
It turns out that the same Houston employee was involved in both situations, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The Indians reportedly warned the Red Sox of a staffer named Kyle McLaughlin prior to the ALCS. Just like in Boston, security had reportedly removed McLaughlin from the area in Cleveland.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski dismissed any blame of the Game 1 loss on the incident, although that could just be because his team’s now up 2-1 in the series. Both teams’ managers claimed not to know much about what had happened:
“I’m aware of something going on, but I haven’t been briefed,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after Tuesday’s Game 3. “I’m worried about the game.”
“Somebody mentioned (it) to me right now. That’s an MLB issue,” Cora said. “They’ll do what they have to do. But I just heard today.”
It is worth noting that Red Sox manager Alex Cora was the Astros’ bench coach last season. Know any more about this convoluted situation? Drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.