Definition of Sign Stealing

What does the term "sign stealing" mean in the world of baseball? What is meant by "sign stealing"?

"Sign stealing" in baseball is almost as old as the sport itself.

Sign stealing is in the spotlight again in the sport of baseball.In baseball, a catcher will communicate to the pitcher using finger signals when they are in the squat position. The catcher is indicating to the pitcher what type of pitch should be thrown and where it should be thrown.

Now, if an opposing player is standing on second base, they may try to see what the catcher is signalling and relay that information to the batter. So, if they think that a fastball is coming on the outside corner, they may slap their thigh and lean in a certain direction.

That is sign stealing.

In recent years, sign stealing has been taken to an entirely different level. In the past, stealing signs was frowned upon, though it wasn't considered explicit cheating by most.

When the right to challenge calls was introduced to baseball, teams were given video feeds so that they could review the games and potentially request that the disputed plays be reviewed. Unfortunately, access to this technology led to cheating. In recent weeks, Major League Baseball came down hard on the Houston Astros, suspending their GM and manager, issuing fines and rescinding draft picks.

Here is what the Astros were doing:

1. One employee would be watching the video feed. They would try to steal the signals from the opposing teams catcher.

2. This employee would relay their information to another team employee in center field.

3. The employee in center field would bang on a garbage can when a change-up was coming.

This is sign stealing in the 21st century.