Did former Chicago White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell just implicate his former team in MLB’s cheating scandal?
If you are a fan of the Chicago White Sox or Major League Baseball, have access to Twitter, or just haven’t been living under a rock for the past few days, then you have heard about the latest on the cheating scandal that has dominated the news.
The latest involves speculation that Jose Altuve may have been wearing an electronic buzzing device in the 2019 playoffs and that was the reason he did not want his teammates to remove his jersey after hitting the series-winning home run off of New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman.
As of yesterday, neither the Chicago Cubs nor the White Sox had been dragged into the discussion. That changed today when former pitcher Jack McDowell blew the whistle on his former team.
While on WFNZ 610AM in Charlotte, North Carolina, McDowell blew the whistle on a similar cheating practice pioneered by former manager Tony LaRussa. He indicated that in the “Old Comiskey Park in the late ’80s, the Gatorade sign out in right-center field” housed a camera that was used to zoom in on the catcher. There was also a light which was controlled by a “toggle switch” in the manager’s office. You can listen to the excerpt here. One additional tidbit is that McDowell’s first year with the Sox was in 1987, while LaRussa’s final year was in 1986. Therefore, if McDowell believes it was LaRussa who was responsible for the camera’s existence, he likely learned that second-hand.
Obviously, the system McDowell describes was not nearly as elaborate or even effective as those employed by the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox. However, the point McDowell was making is that this type of cheating — the kind that goes beyond traditional sign-stealing on the field and uses electronic surveillance — has been a part of the game for longer than many would like to admit.
It also sounded like he took exception with the manner in which some teams and players were being held accountable while others were not.
Regardless of where you come down on McDowell’s revelation, or whether you believe this has been a part of the game going back to the late 1980s, the fact remains that Major League Baseball has a scandal on its hands that appears to be growing in scope by the day. At some point Commissioner, Rob Manfred may have to expand the original investigation in the face of criticism from both fans and players. If that happens, everything could be fair game for investigation.