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Cal Ripken: Throwing at hitters would fix sign-stealing issue

Rob Carr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Hall of Fame infielder Cal Ripken Jr. isn't a fan of sign-stealing in baseball, and he offered a suggestion to counter the illegal tactics that became a hot topic after the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox were punished this offseason.

"In a really harsh way, you tell the (catcher) to put down a curveball (sign), the guy on second tells the hitter that a curveball is coming. And then you throw a pitch right here," he told CBS' Major Garrett on "The Takeout" before gesturing to his chin.

"Then, their life flashes in front of their eyes," Ripken added. "And I will tell you that you break the trust between that sign-stealing scheme that's going on and if you're a hitter, and that guy gives you the next sign, you gotta say, 'Hmm, I wonder if that's really going to be a fastball or a breaking ball.' And then I think you win."

Ripken also offered his support for commissioner Rob Manfred following the punishments handed to both teams, and he agreed with Garrett's suggestion that real-time video and replay rooms be banned.

MLB handed the Astros a significant punishment in January following a league investigation into their illegal sign-stealing in 2017. Manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were both suspended for a year without pay, and Astros owner Jim Crane subsequently fired them.

Former Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who moved on to manage the Red Sox in 2018, mutually parted ways with Boston in January due to his involvement with Houston's illegal tactics. MLB later suspended him through the conclusion of the 2020 postseason.

Two weeks ago, Red Sox video replay operator J.T Watkins was suspended for the 2020 season and playoffs after an investigation determined he violated league regulations by illegally utilizing game feeds in the team's replay room.

The Red Sox also forfeited a second-round draft pick as part of the discipline.

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