San Francisco Giants legend Will Clark recently gave his take on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
San Francisco Giants special assistant to the general manager and former All-Star first baseman Will Clark spoke out on the Houston Astros’ sign stealing scandal on Friday.
However, rather than speak directly against the Astros organization, he instead offered up his own hot take on the broader idea of sign stealing.
Here’s what he had to say during an interview with Julia Lopez of KSEE24 News in Fresno:
Despite the lengths to which the Houston Astros went in their sign-stealing scheme — which has reportedly included live video feeds to the dugout and drum sounds to notify hitters of what pitch is coming — Clark noted that sign-stealing has been a game within the game forever.
"Sign stealing and stuff like that has gone on for a while… you try to get third base coach’s signs, try to get the catcher’s signs, you try to get all kinds of people’s signs to help you do your job."
The final point is perhaps the most important. The job of the players and coaches are to win. When signs are being relayed between the dugout and amongst players on the field, it is undoubtedly to the other team’s advantage to try to decipher those signs.
Clark did acknowledge that the lengths to which the Astros implemented and used technology were extreme.
But even with the threat of more advanced tactics being used in today’s game to capture and relay opposing team’s signs, Clark said it is still on the team whose signs have been stolen to notice this and adapt.
"You need to use a little common sense. If you think that ‘hey look, these guys are taking pretty darn good swings off of us, they might have our signs,’ change the signs."
It is worth noting that these comments are coming from a player who memorably “stole” the plans of Greg Maddux on how to attack him in Game 1 of the 1989 NLDS by reading his lips before stepping into the batter’s box.
In the bottom of the fourth inning with the bases loaded, Maddux was visited at the mound by Chicago Cubs manager Don Zimmer. During the meeting, as the story goes, Clark saw Maddux mouth the words “fastball, high inside” and he crushed that very pitch for a grand slam in the first pitch of the at-bat.
As Clark proved in that moment, it is not just the job of the baseball player to field their position and swing the bat, but also to pay attention to everything happening around them on the field, including communication between the opposition.
Given his own experience and belief that teams in the modern era need to use “common sense” and “change the signs” when suspicious of the opposing team, Clark’s response to being asked if the Los Angeles Dodgers should be crowned the World Series Champions should come as no surprise:
"No, you will never hear me say that."
Though Clark said that with a smile, it’s clear the Giants-Dodgers rivalry is still in his blood.