In the third inning of the first game of the series, security removed a man claiming to be an Astros employee from the media-credentialed area next to the Boston Red Sox dugout, according to multiple security sources who were on the scene at the time of the incident. He also had a 3-run double in Game 2 to give Boston the lead.
However, a league source said Tuesday night that the investigation concluded the Astros employee was not trying to steal signs, but was acting on suspicions the Red Sox had been stealing Astros signs, and was there to try to catch them in the act.
On Wednesday, two people familiar with the situation said the Astros attempted to get a second person next to the Indians' dugout during Game 3 of the AL Division Series after another man was removed earlier by security for taking pictures with his cellphone.
Cora said he has been concerned throughout the season about Red Sox signs being stolen.
During the Astros' series-clinching win on October 8 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, a man with a cellphone standing by the photographer's pit was removed "several times" by security personnel, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday night.
He also noted that he doesn't believe MLB's investigation is completely closed. Picard's initial report even indicates that McLaughlin wasn't removed from the stadium - only the media area in which he'd been set up.
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Stealing signs is nothing new in baseball. Picard reached out to the Major League Baseball, which acknowledged the incident from the Houston Astros-Boston Red Sox game.
Yahoo! obtained a photo of the man in question from Game 1 of the ALCS, Kyle McLaughlin, pointing a cell phone into the Indians' dugout during Houston's 11-3 series-clinching win. The man was not allowed back into the credentialed area, but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.
The utilization of technology in sign-stealing efforts isn't likely to go away, and it'll continue to force teams and players into more rigorous efforts to protect signs.
Dave Dombrowski doesn't think MLB's investigation into the Astros has been closed. We feel like it's a value-added thing for us to do. Red Sox manager (and former Astros bench coach) Alex Cora agreed.
Perhaps the greater issue in all of this, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes, is Major League Baseball's lack of transparency on matters of this regard.