Royals owner on rumors of team being for sale: “Nonsense”

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Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that “the rumors and whispers are escalating again” about Royals owner David Glass potentially selling the team.

However, the former Wal-Mart president and CEO put an end to that speculation immediately:

Nonsense. I’ve never spoken to anyone about selling the club. I have no idea where that comes from. Who knows? But I have not been contacted by anyone. Everybody in baseball knows that I’m committed, and my family is committed; that we’re going to own the Royals, and that the Royals are going to be in Kansas City and that we’re going to make the team a contender again.

Glass added that he’s not even interested in selling a minor stake in the team, of which he became sole owner in 2000. Since then the Royals have had one winning season, going 83-79 in 2003, and have finished in fourth or fifth place in the five-team division 11 times in 12 years.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.