Allegations of digital sign-stealing have dominated a lot of headlines during baseball’s offseason, and they resurfaced again this week with reports that the World Series-winning 2018 Boston Red Sox that won 108 games may have used technology to decipher sign sequences -- after being warned by the league the previous season.
The Brewers are again a part of the conversation, too, although in a different way than they were back in November.
When the topic of digital sign-stealing came up earlier in the offseason with the Houston Astros, the Brewers were casually mentioned by a St. Louis sportswriter as a team that was also suspected of cheating in some way. That claim was strongly refuted by multiple players and other
Houston is one of three teams I’ve had multiple players identify to me as the most egregious with electronic sign stealing. The others: Milwaukee and Texas. https://t.co/sb4764mFDB— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) November 12, 2019
People within Brewers organization adamantly denying this report. Said one team official: “Total fabrication and complete bullshit.” https://t.co/mxTnVVQpBV— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) November 12, 2019
A couple days after that tweet, Christian Yelich and Yu Darvish got into a Twitter dispute over sign-stealing, with Yelich dropping a “nobody needs help facing you” one-liner on the Cubs right-hander.
Questions about the Brewers and possible sign-stealing have cooled down since then, but with the Red Sox being brought into the conversation, former Red Sox and Brewers third baseman Will Middlebrooks seemed to take the “you can’t blame them for taking advantage of the technology” angle to the argument.
You can dig into every organization and find this.... with the technology available in this era, you can’t expect teams not to use every bit of it to gain an edge. No one is looking into the teams that lose 95 games a year, but I promise they do it too. https://t.co/gWFyPhgSuZ— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) January 7, 2020
Zach Davies decided to respond to his old teammate, saying the “everyone does it” line doesn’t mesh with what he saw during his years with the Brewers.
And tells from pitchers is common. But it’s my job as a pitcher to repeat my motion and mechanics to not give up that information to the hitters. So not all teams exploit the system.— Zach Davies (@ZDavies3) January 7, 2020
While there are almost certainly more teams that looked for that competitive advantage — or at least would say they were just looking to keep up with the real cheaters — it looks like even now-former Brewers are sticking up for the team, saying that didn’t happen despite claims from rivals who have had a hard time winning at Miller Park.