Cincinnati Reds pitchers Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray joined Ryan Ruocco and CC Sabathia of the R2C2 podcast this week to talk all things baseball. You can watch the video below, but be warned that there is plenty of adult language used within. If you want to listen to it later, here’s the podcast page with links to just about every podcast platform you can think of.
There’s some interesting stuff within, but one part really jumps out from Sonny Gray. He begins to talk about coming to Cincinnati and working with Derek Johnson and Caleb Cotham, and the kind of data that the Reds had and how they were not only able to show it to him, but explain to him how it works and how to use it. He referred to it as basically “having the cheat code”. CC Sabathia then chimed in noting that the Yankees didn’t have that kind of stuff for the pitchers (in 2017 and 2018).
They got into the Houston Astros stuff a bit, too. All three pitchers faced off against Houston in the playoffs. You’ve heard from Trevor Bauer on the topic before, probably quite a bit. Sonny Gray talked about it a little bit, but it was CC Sabathia that had some interesting things that at least I haven’t heard mentioned before about stuff happening in 2019. Bauer brought up the Astros guy recording in their dugout – a story we’ve all heard before. But Sabathia noted how Astros credentialed people were in and out of their bullpen in the ALCS, and how stuff like that never happens.
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing we learned about the Astros (and the Red Sox) this week, though. Buster Olney’s podcast had Karl Ravech on Friday morning, and he dropped a pretty big piece of information on us about a meeting that happened in the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.
I don’t know if I told you this, but there was a meeting before the LCS between the Astros and the Red Sox that involved A.J. Hinch, it involved (Jeff) Luhnow, it involved (Dave) Dombrowski, it involved (Alex) Cora, and Joe Torre was in that meeting and Torre basically said to the teams, both of them, to all those people and anyone else who was in the room, ‘Look: if you are inclined, or have gotten away with, or are doing anything that would violate the rules that you are all aware of or should be aware of, um, you’re gonna have to understand, at some point there’s gonna be a player or players or front office person that’s going to leave your team, go to another team, and basically rat you guys out. Basically tell, you know, the dirty secrets.’
So whether Joe Torre was aware, at that point, what was coming from Mike Fiers, and there’s no evidence to believe that, but I was told that that message and that meeting basically scared the heck out of those guys in that room. To the point where they acknowledged ‘we’re in trouble, we’re dead, so we cannot continue this particular behavior.
Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports wrote more about it than I am going to dive into here, but this is just another mark against Major League Baseball as this essentially shows that they knew what was going on – even if they didn’t specifically know how it was being done – in October of 2018 from both of these teams, and wasn’t going to actually do a thing about it. And of course, we know that they didn’t until it all became public.
I will say this. . .
I was having a discussion about this with another guy. He was trying to say that, with this data, it’s cheating, just like stealing signs.
I don’t believe it’s cheating at all. There is a huge difference between cheating and what this data and sabermetrics is. Trying to use a layman’s analogy, it would be the difference between someone robbing a bank and a bank actually handing out “some” free money. If a bank is handing out “some” free money, you are going to get every bit you can. But, you shouldn’t go steal “all” of the money out of the bank.
What the Astros did was try to steal all of the money out of the bank. What the data and sabermetrics try to show are what’s a player’s tendencies for success and failure, strengths and weaknesses, all based on data that is free to everyone.
Spot on. Self evaluation is not external evaluation, or even observation .
Loved this, and also the Jim Day/Votto podcast. The relaxed spring training atmosphere help personalities come out and it is fun.