Two people familiar with the situation say the Houston Astros attempted to get a second person next to Cleveland’s dugout during Game 3 of the AL Division Series after another man was removed earlier by security for taking pictures with his cellphone.
The second person tried to gain access to the field photographer’s pit but was turned away, said the people who spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The Indians have filed a complaint with Major League Baseball, which is investigating Houston’s actions.
MLB said in a statement that the matter “will be handled internally.”
The same man, who had been issued a credential before the Oct. 8 game in Cleveland, was removed from an area near Boston’s dugout for taking photos during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, according to a report by Metro Boston and Yahoo Sports.
The Red Sox had been warned before their series-opening game, the AP was told by the people.
The Indians, who were swept by Houston and eliminated in the first round for the second straight year, were concerned the man was attempting to view scouting reports Cleveland had on Houston’s players, one person said.
During the early innings in Game 3, the Indians became aware that the man standing near their dugout in Progressive Field was aiming his cellphone into their dugout and taking pictures. He stood out because he was wearing a suit jacket in a restricted area reserved for photographers, a member of the team’s social media department and where TV reporters are permitted to stand, one of the sources said.
After being approached by security, the man left without incident but a second person attempted to replace him several innings later and was denied access to the field area, the AP was told.
The Indians entered the series concerned the Astros, who have been accused of deceit in the past, had stolen some signs or had other useful information about them, one person said.
On Tuesday, the Metro Boston report said a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed from a credentialed area near Boston’s dugout during the third inning of Game 1.
Stealing signs has been part of baseball since the invention of the game. Teams routinely try to gain an advantage by trying to detect patterns, whether it’s a catcher showing signs to a pitcher on the mound or a third-base coach relaying signs to a batter.
However, new technology may have given teams an unfair advantage as the use of high-definition, high-speed cameras allows teams to peer where they couldn’t before.
The Red Sox were fined last season by MLB for using an Apple Watch to try to steal signs from the rival New York Yankees.
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