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Ryan Spaeder’s statements on Sign Stealing

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Taking a look at the accusations and my beliefs on responsibility in reporting

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MLB: Game Two-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If you have not heard the news, Ryan Spaeder came out with a litany of accusations against other teams in regards to Sign Stealing / Cheating. Below are the statements that were made:

The Royals were the first team with a full analytics and video department close by their dugout, doing so in 2015, their World Series Championship year. How they used it, I do not know.

The Yankees had cameras in left, center, and right, all pointing at the pitcher’s glove, rather than the catcher, to pick up his grip . Aaron Judge 2017-18 home - .312/.440/.725 Aaron Judge 2017-18 road - .256/.404/.531

The Dodgers had an employee who was caught setting up cameras at Minute Maid Park wearing an MLB Polo Shirt, when he should have been wearing a Dodgers Polo, during the 2017 World Series.

This one hurts to say... my favorite player ever... ‘Chase Utley was the biggest cheater of all-time.”

As insane as this sounds, I’ve heard this from multiple players, Adrian Beltre had a buddy with binoculars in dead center who would wave a beater (undershirt) if he was getting something off speed in 2017.Beltre 2017 home - .362/.440/.586Beltre 2017 away - .271/.333/.489

Everything Kratzie already said about the Rockies...

The Astros “sign stealing” method all came from Beltran, New York and Texas.

The Dbacks used humidor balls when pitching and non-humidor balls when batting at home — I do not have a time frame on this, but I’m confident it happened.

Some of the above has been rumored before, and some of the above seems to be new (at least to me).

Additionally, he was on an interview with Sports Talk 790 , and a few others listed below discussing this in more detail.

First off, let’s start with who Ryan Spaeder is.

From a baseball perspective, his twitter profile lists himself as MLB Analyst, Author, Host, Statistician, Writer. He is verified on twitter with ~60k followers.

Additional details in his about me provides some additional details that he contributed to NBC Sports, The Sporting News, and covering the Buffalo Bills for The Buffalo News. He has been featured on High Heat and MLB Now at MLB Network.

He was the author of Incredible Baseball Stats: The Coolest, Strangest Stats and Facts in Baseball History.

He appears to be a far more reputable source than someone like “Beltran’s Niece”. There are past and current players who reacted, liked, retweeted, commented, etc. as well as some other notable verified accounts. After seeing this, I retweeted, commented, and shared the information as it seems legitimate and obviously is huge news.

As the day progressed, I began to worry about the lack of details in Ryan’s reporting. The lack of details and clarifications makes the information feel far less credible . And while I do understand protecting players who would have reported this to him, without any additional information, I feel like the tweets are more inflammatory than informative.

I hated through-out the Astros scandal people using home vs away, or very small sample sizes to present easily skewed information. Additionally, it’s been fairly well documented that the Astros scheme was at best not overly effective. I’m not sure why we would assume this would be different in other teams’ cheating schemes.

But more than that, I’ve struggled with the way Altuve has been made the face of a cheating system that he didn’t even use. Which stemmed primarily from an irresponsible social media personality popularizing ridiculous claims, and not pushing retractions when proven incorrect.

The way Spaeder has approached this, feels wrong. He’s calling out specific players and using the same flawed methodology of “proof”, with no indication of additional sources forthcoming.

Now if there was reasoning behind naming those specific players, that is completely fine, but with the details that we’ve seen up to now, it does not feel justified.

With this said, I want to specifically clarify, I have no idea if Ryan is right or wrong. I don’t want this article to sound like a condemnation of his claims. But I want people to be careful as irresponsible reporting puts an undeserved stain on players’ careers.

I hope there is additional research that goes into fact checking this information. If it’s true, I truly respect and honor Ryan for coming out in regards to these topics. But at this moment, I felt like TCB sharing or promoting it felt wrong. At the end of the day, we’re a fan blog. None of us are Pulitzer prize winning writers, we don’t have research teams, and obviously the standard we are held to compared to some outlets is lower. But with that said, we do have tens of thousands of people who read our site daily, and ~15k followers on twitter with who our opinions get shared with - so I do feel there is a responsibility for us to make sure we give as accurate of information as we can.

(Erik Kratz was the one to recently break that the Colorado Rockies had a very similar sign stealing scandal to the Astros but instead used a massage gun and metal bench)

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As an update, Ryan Spaeder has come out and apologized, which feels particularly strange given all of his public speaking and tweets up to this point.