NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 17: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees comes home to score a run on a walk against the Houston Astros during the first inningin game four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Ryan Spaeder claimed extensive sign stealing has been rampant in Major League Baseball for over five years.

Major League Baseball is going through a reckoning, from cracking down on pitchers using “sticky stuff” to fans still smarting from the Houston Astros cheating scandal.

Well, it turns out this might just be the tip of the iceberg. According to MLB analyst and podcast host Ryan M. Spaeder, courtesy of an epic Twitter thread, the Astros’ cheating was not at all exclusive to them.

People can click on the thread to read the rest of Spaeder’s claims, but here they are in a nutshell:

  • The New York Yankees had three cameras stationed in the outfield that focused on opposing pitchers’ grips rather than the catcher’s signs. This explains Aaron Judge performing better at home than on the road in 2018-19.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers had an employee set up cameras at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 World Series, and had the employee installing them wear an MLB polo as opposed to a team one.


  • Chase Utley and Adrian Beltre, two of the best to play the game, also cheated and Utley was apparently “the biggest cheater of all-time.”


  • The Houston Astros’ cheating in 2017 was inspired by Carlos Beltran, who used the same methods with the Yankees and Texas Rangers the prior season.


JB’s Take

Oof. Just when MLB thinks the never-ending PR nightmares are done, another one surfaces. Forget sticky stuff, deadening the ball, or what seems like an all but inevitable strike next season. Cheating on this scale falls not just on teams, but on the league office for allowing it to happen unchecked for so long.

Not to mention, how heartbreaking is this for the fans? I remember the 2015 World Series. The scrappy Kansas City Royals beat a strong New York Mets team that, if we’re being honest, was the better squad on paper. And now the small-market Royals’ moment in the sun could be forever tainted.

It’s unclear what will come of this, if anything at all. But between offense being down across baseball and this new war on sticky stuff, it begs a question.

Is sticky stuff really the problem? Or is it just harder for teams to cheat now as they were for years?


Ryan Spaeder is now apologizing for making “unfounded allegations.” You can find the full details of Spaeder’s apology right here.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.