‘Jeopardy!’ Had a Sign-Stealing Clue the Same Day the Astros Allegations Came Out

In Wednesday’s Hot Clicks: A big “Jeopardy!” coincidence, a closer look at the Astros allegations and more.
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What is, a wild coincidence?

Split image of Alex Trebek and AJ Hinch

Maybe the writers for Jeopardy! have a camera in The Athletic’s offices. 

Last night, just a few hours after Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported that the Astros had been stealing signs during their 2017 World Series season, Jeopardy! aired a very, very appropriate clue: 

“This sneaky alliterative baseball action has been done using a telescope (1951) and an Apple watch (2017).”

The correct response: “What is, stealing signs?”

Contestant Steven Grade, a sports industry consultant, was quick to buzz in with the correct response. 

Grade was live-tweeting his game and was well aware of the irony. 

Jeopardy! episodes are filmed months in advance and the categories for each game are chosen at random (or at least that’s how they did it when I was on Sports Jeopardy!) so there’s no way the writers could have synced this up with yesterday’s news. 

Here’s how the Astros did it

Anyone who follows baseball fairly closely knows the Astros have been doing something fishy with their pitchers and now we know they’ve been up to no good with their hitters, too. 

As reported in The Athletic, during the 2017 season, Houston had a scheme involving a video feed and a garbage can to tell hitters what pitch was coming. 

A camera in centerfield would focus on the catcher’s signals and a video feed from that camera would be sent in real time to a screen just outside the dugout. Once the signals were decoded, someone in the dugout would bang on a trash can whenever an off-speed pitch was coming. 

I was skeptical of how well this could work until I saw this video. 

(Here’s another one of George Springer sitting back on a slider and smashing a home run. You can clearly hear a loud noise before the pitch is thrown.)

Think of how quiet a baseball stadium is during the middle innings of a regular season game. Any loud noise from close enough to the plate wouldn’t be too difficult to hear. But would the system work in a loud playoff environment? People on the Dodgers Reddit board seem to think so. A video posted by Reddit user Infraready claims to show the Astros using a whistle to signal when Clayton Kershaw was going to throw a curveball

The Astros aren’t the only team to steal signs—the Red Sox were busted for using Apple watches to steal signs that same year—but this is just another example of how ruthless Houston is. The Astros are already a great team. What makes them a dynasty (for better, but mostly for worse) is their willingness to do anything to win, no matter the cost. No we just wait to find out what the cost will be for this transgression. 

Give it a rest already

The most grating aspect of ESPN’s incessant promotion of the new Disney+ streaming service was certainly having reporters and personalities tell their millions of followers to subscribe

Just as bad, though, was this video that went out on all of ESPN’s social media feeds (34.5 million followers on Twitter, 14.2 million on Instagram, 19.5 million on Facebook) where the network edited footage of its studio shows to seem like analysts were talking about Disney properties. 

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Email dan.gartland@simail.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to seeprevious editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.