Could the Angels be moving north?

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The Angels lease in Anaheim is up in 2016. Today this from the Los Angeles Daily News:

Angels officials have had preliminary talks about moving the Major League Baseball franchise from Anaheim to Industry, according to a source with close ties to Industry City Hall … Angels owner Arte Moreno has said in the past that he would need to know this year or next whether he should stay in Anaheim or move the team.

This is not the first rumbling we’ve heard of the Angels moving. Back in April there was chatter about Moreno meeting with AEG, who has long been linked to a potential downtown football stadium and already developed the Staples Center and other downtown delights.

As we mentioned then, there were all kinds of problems with the Angels and AEG hooking up for a downtown ballpark, and I suspected at the time that part of what was going on there was Moreno trying to make it look like he has other options, thereby enhancing his negotiating position with Anaheim for a new lease in the old park.

As Rob Neyer noted today, there are also problems with moving the Angels to Industry, and he suspects just like we did back in April, that this is another instance of Moreno trying to create leverage. Or for a third party to try to create leverage regarding a possible NFL site.  Because, on the merits, it makes little sense for the Angels to move anyplace.

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.