Are the Houston Astros up to some of their old tricks? Chicago White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera certainly thinks so, recently accusing the Astros of stealing signs. But Chicago manager Tony La Russa has an idea he believes would put an end to that.
La Russa suggests that runners on second base be forced to turn their backs to the catcher, thereby preventing them from stealing signs — something that’s widely accepted across baseball and not considered against the rules.
Re sign stealing: Tony's idea to the league was to require the runner on second base turn towards CF when the sign is given to the catcher. Then turn back.
The idea was ignored
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) October 11, 2021
MLB has not acknowledged La Russa’s recommendation and they likely won’t.
With the length and pace of MLB games already considered a significant problem, forcing a runner to turn his back in order for the catcher to relay signs becomes more like a game of "Simon Says."
Simon says, “turn your back.” Simon says, “face the the field of play.”
And what of taking a lead? Attempting a pick-off? Would the runner be forced to keep a foot on the bag? Would there be a time interval where he could take a lead before the pitcher delivers the ball? Would it all be in good faith?
La Russa’s “solution” would create more questions than it would answers. It would lengthen games, eliminate momentum and put both the pitcher and runner at different disadvantages.
Perhaps there’s an easier solution out there, but until that’s found, teams just need to do a better job at switching up their signals.