My name is Tony Adams. I’m an Astros fan. In November 2019, when the videos of the banging during some Astros 2017 games came out, I was horrified. It was clear within a minute of watching it was true — my team had cheated. To understand the scope of the cheating and the players involved, I decided to look at each home game from that season and determine any audio indicators of the sign stealing.
I wrote an application that downloaded the pitch data from MLB’s Statcast. This data has a timestamp for every pitch. I then downloaded the videos from YouTube and, using the timestamp, created a spectrogram for every pitch. A spectrogram is a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in an audio file. I could then playback the video of the pitches and, helped by the visual of the spectrogram, determine if there was any banging before the pitch.
I initially thought it would be quick work, and the application did make it pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of pitches in an MLB season. I ended up watching and logging over 8,200 pitches. And some more than once to be sure I was as accurate as possible.
The commissioner’s statement specifically mentioned the trash can banging, and we have undeniable evidence in the videos of the games. The commissioner also stated they used clapping, whistling, and yelling early in the season before settling on the trash can banging. Due to the crowd noise and announcers on the broadcast, these signals are difficult — if not impossible — to detect consistently.
The buzzer rumor seems pretty far-fetched, in my opinion. But even if it’s true, I know of no way to detect it on the videos of the games.
I’m not. I’m only presenting the data. You can draw your own conclusions.