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Sign Stealing Scandal

🔒 signstealingscandal.com

This is brilliant, and seems so absolutely fitting for the obsessively data-driven sabremetricians of baseball. ⚾️

My name is Tony Adams. I’m an Astros fan. In November 2019, when the videos of the banging during some Astros 2017 games came out, I was horrified. It was clear within a minute of watching it was true — my team had cheated. To understand the scope of the cheating and the players involved, I decided to look at each home game from that season and determine any audio indicators of the sign stealing.

I wrote an application that downloaded the pitch data from MLBs Statcast. This data has a timestamp for every pitch. I then downloaded the videos from YouTube and, using the timestamp, created a spectrogram for every pitch. A spectrogram is a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in an audio file. I could then playback the video of the pitches and, helped by the visual of the spectrogram, determine if there was any banging before the pitch.

Of course! 🤓 Via great highlight from Daring Fireball.

Posted on January 30, 2020

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