Warning: Video contains coarse language
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and newly appointed New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran played key roles in devising the sign-stealing system used by the Houston Astros in 2017, report The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich.
Cora was a bench coach under manager AJ Hinch for the World Series-winning Astros in 2017. Beltran was a designated hitter and outfielder on the same team.
The Astros' setup apparently involved a camera in center field that monitored opposing catchers' signs, with the camera's feed shown on a wall-mounted television monitor steps from the team's home dugout. Team employees and players would watch the screen to try and decode opposing teams' signs, sources said.
If viewers believed they'd figured out the signs, they'd reportedly use a loud noise to notify the batter - usually banging on a trash can in a tunnel near the dugout.
Neither Hinch nor Cora has commented on the sign-stealing allegations, but Beltran did address them Tuesday.
"I'm not aware of that camera," he wrote in a text message. "We were studying the opposite team every day."
He added: "We took a lot of pride studying pitchers (on) the computer - that is the only technology that I use and I understand. It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details.
"(In) the game of baseball, guys for years have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn't cover the signs from second base, of course players are going to take advantage.
"I don't call that cheating. I call that using the small details to take advantage. I think baseball is doing a great job adding new technology to make sure the game is even for both teams."
Major League Baseball's Department of Investigation will interview current and former Astros employees, including players, regarding the alleged sign-stealing, sources told Rosenthal and Drellich. MLB could determine penalties for those involved should it discover the Astros violated league rules.
The Astros issued a brief statement Tuesday afternoon concerning the allegations.
"Regarding the story posted by The Athletic earlier today, the Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball," read the statement. "It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."
MLB prohibits clubs from using electronics to gain an unfair advantage by stealing a catcher's signs. Teams are also prohibited from signaling to their hitters from the dugout through whistling or other means.