Carlos Delgado kept meticulous notes on pitchers during his career. Does that mean he was cheating during his time with the New York Mets?
News came out on Sunday that the Houston Astros used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets as part of their scandal. They would track the pitches a pitcher would throw, any tells the pitcher had, velocity, and break. It was all a setup to better identify pitches that would be thrown so the camera could better identify them.
The use of technology makes this cheating. Most baseball fans can agree on that without issue. Is it cheating if it was in a notebook though? Andy Martino of SNY raised the question when he called out former New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado for keeping a notebook with the exact same stats during his playing career.
Astros’ “Codebreaker” stuff – this is almost exactly what Carlos Delgado once did with his notebook, just in Excel form. Delgado used a pen to record pitch sequences, signs and other info. Of course, he didn’t write “Dark Arts” on the cover like he was taking a class at Hogwarts
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) February 8, 2020
It seems clear that Martino doesn’t think the Astros’ Excel spreadsheet was cheating. If players do it with pen and paper, why can’t a team do it on a computer? If a team can’t do it in Excel, then why wouldn’t pen and paper be illegal as well?
It’s a fair question. What makes this technological aspect worse than the low-tech version? Both versions record the same stats. One just does it by hand and the other on a computer. Is it the computer that makes it illegal, if so why? The information is exactly the same.
Well, Carlos Delgado has an answer,
— Carlos Delgado (@carlosdelgado21) February 9, 2020
It’s the codebreaking part that’s illegal. It’s what the stats were used for that made it illegal, not the tracking of the stats themselves. The two situations are nowhere near alike, so why should Delgado even be brought up in the first place?