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Former Red Sox player says technology takes sign stealing to new level

Mike Stenhouse, who is the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, as well as a member of the Boston Red Sox team in 1986, said that sign stealing has always been a part of baseball, but the use of technology is taking it to a different level. (WJAR)

Mike Stenhouse is the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, but perhaps is better known as a former Major League Baseball player.

Stenhouse, who was a member of the Boston Red Sox team in 1986, said that sign stealing has always been a part of baseball, but the use of technology is taking it to a different level.

"That would have never been allowed," Stenhouse told NBC 10 News on Wednesday. "There would have been enough people who would have said, 'No.'"

The Red Sox admitted to Major League Baseball that the team's video staff would decode catcher signs to the pitcher and then use mobile phones and smartwatches to communicate with training staff members in the dugout who would ultimately relay the information to the Red Sox batters.

Stenhouse said that the extreme focus on winning and the bottom line has led teams like the Red Sox to resort to this. When he played in the 80s, it was different.

"I'm sad the Red Sox did it. I'm sad the Yankees decided to make a big deal out of it. Maybe just a ball over your head would have been the best way to settle it the old-fashioned way," he said.

This all begs the question: is it even that much of an advantage? For Stenhouse, it is not.

"As a hitter, I didn't wanna know if someone thought they knew what pitch was coming," he explained.

But in this day of homeruns and big money contracts, some players want that edge.

Further, Stenhouse said it's a sign of the times. Pitchers taking so long to deliver helps the intricate system of decoding signs and relaying them to the batter work.

"Back when I played, you got the sign, you came to the stretch, and then you threw and there was no time,” he said. “I think it's a combination of technology, really working at it as a system, and these pitcher delays."

Stenhouse said that the Red Sox should be punished for their use of electronics, but because sign stealing is not against the rules, the punishment should not be too harsh.

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