Cuppa Joe – stealing signs? fogettaboutit!

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Katie Couric calling for... the deuce. The Blue Jays are knockin' off signs says ESPN. So what. Stealin' signs is neither fair nor foul in baseball. It's ubiquitous and it's been a part of the game since Abner Doubleday was sucking... on his thumb. That's a sign. For ESPN to SHUT the Hell up! Photo by Bryant Gumbel.

BY CUPPA JOE – JOE SIMONSKY IN VANCOUVER

Here’s a sign for you. The Blue Jays are 210 games out of first place.

If they’re stealing signs and you’re the New Yahk Yankees? Or the Boston Red Sox?

Why the hell do you care?

Take a hint from Katie Couric. Steal her sign.

She’s telling you to shove it. Then shove off.

Take a look at the following piece from ESPN and tell me if you notice something.

Names. Names are important. It makes me uncomfortable when I see some White Sox pitchers presenting their case against the Toronto Blue Jays and their mysterious man in white – the sign stealer – and those players don’t have the nuts, balls or cohones to have their names stand beside the story.

Stories built on unattributed quotes? Get an index and a pinkie. That’s signage for BS. Or crap. Or manure. ESPN? You get the downward thumb. Sit on that breaking digit.

Stealing catcher’s signs is a science. And it’s accepted. No rule against it. So quit whining.

An excerpt from the ESPN convo by  Amy K. Nelson and Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine

“Not too easy, is it?”

 From the visitors bullpen at Rogers Centre in Toronto, an American League pitcher screamed at Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista as he took his position late in a game in the spring of 2010.

 “It’s not too fucking easy to hit home runs when you don’t know what’s coming!”

 The enraged player and his teammates could hardly believe what they had seen in the previous inning. As they sat on the perch above the right-field bullpen at Rogers, they caught sight of a man dressed in white about 25 yards to their right, out among the blue center-field seats. And while the players watched, the man in white seemingly signaled the pitches the visiting pitcher was throwing against the Jays, according to four sources in the bullpen that day.

Toronto’s home run rate on contact was 5.4 percent at home in 2010, meaning Rogers Centre boosted the Jays’ rate by 1.8 percentage points, or about 50 percent. Their opponents’ rate was 0.2 percentage points less than at a neutral park.The players weren’t exactly sure how the man in white knew what was coming — maybe, they thought, he was receiving messages via his Bluetooth from an ally elsewhere in the stadium who had binoculars or access to the stadium feed. But they quickly picked up the wavelength of his transmissions: He was raising his arms over his head for curveballs, sliders and changeups. In other words, anything besides fastballs.

 A few of the players in the bullpen turned their backs to the field to fixate on the man in white, while others watched the stadium’s radar gun. As soon as each pitch was thrown, those watching the man would call out what they thought he was signaling, and those focused on the radar gun would confirm his signal. Sure enough, the man in white was raising his arms above his head before every off-speed pitch and doing nothing when the pitch being called was a fastball.

 Some guys on that team had actually seen the same man making the same motions in 2009. But that had been in the last series of the season against Toronto, and they let it go. Now, stunned not only that the man in white was back but that he was accurately calling every pitch, a call was made to the dugout, and the coaching staff was given the following message: Start using multiple signs, even with no one on base.

 When Bautista next came up to bat, he struck out. After the inning, he ran to right field, adjacent to the visitors ‘pen, and the livid player issued Bautista a warning.

 “We know what you’re doing,” he said, referring to the man in white, according to the player and two witnesses. “If you do it again, I’m going to hit you in the fucking head.”

Step up to the plate White Sox. Give us a sign. That you have the nuts to back it up. Who are you?

Stealing catcher’s signs is a deft science. And it’s accepted. The flap continues.

So what? The Jays have a guy in centerfield waving his arms in the air when a change is coming and doing nuttin’ honey when the heat is on the way.

Joe Girardi of the Yanks says he thinks the Jays are stealin’ signs. Fine, but show me Joe, I’m from Missouri. And those unnamed White Sox pitchers?

Well they can go fungo baby.

Cos’ if you ain’t gonna’ stand beside your bullshit?

Go home. Quit whining.

But let’s break this down. Why do we have signs anyway. We have signs because a ball is easier to hit if you know what’s coming.

We need signs in baseball because otherwise the pre-pitch regimen would go something like this.

Catcher Opie: Okay Beetle give me the heat.

Beetle: Are you fucking crazy Opie? That’s Albert Pujols. I’m coming with the deuce.

Opie: Beetle. You ain’t got your curve today. Albert will punch it to kingdom come.

Beetle: Pujols just pulverizes my heater. I’m coming with the split-finger.

Opie: Jeezuz no Beetle. Albert sits on that wanker. He loves your splitter. He’ll kill it.

Beetle: Fuck you Opie. Hey you! Albert?

Pujols: Yeah? Whatcha’ want?

Beetle: Who’s right here Albert. Me or Opie.

Pujols: I’m better with the heat. But Opie’s right, you ain’t got your curveball today and your splitter? It’s the shit.

Opie: See that Beetle. Thanks Albert.

Beetle: Okay so here comes the heat. Albert?

Pujols: Yeah?

Beetle: You never heard any of this right!

Pujols: Whatever. Just throw the damn ball.

Pitch is down and in. Heater. Lickspit. Goodbye baseball! Shoulda’ thrown the deuce!

That’s what baseball would be. Without signs.

I know the mysterious white shirted guy in center field. He’s an OCDC baseball nut. A genius.

His name is Rummy Jumdrape. He’s been doing this nut for years. he works for no one. He’s a dot com millionaire who loves baseball.

“For the record. Are you stealing signs Rummy,” I asked him.

“Of course I am,” says Rummy.

“Are you relaying them”? I asked.

“Of course I am,” says Rummy. “What’s the use stealin’ ’em if you’re not going to use them?”

“Do the Jays know?” I asked.

“Know what? That I’m stealing signs? I don’t have the foggiest.”

“So you just do it?”

“Yep. Part of the game.”

“What about those White Sox pitchers?”

“What about ’em?”

“Have you spoken to any of them.”

“I’d be happy to,” Says Rummy. “but they won’t give up their names. Fuck ’em.”

“They’re calling you a cheater.”

“No rule against it.”

“Really?”

“You could look it up,” smiles Rummy. Some guy named Yogi used to say that. A lot.

I did.

There ain’t.

So take the a sign White Sox. Joe Girardi, ESPN and the rest of you lingering signage pedants.

It’s from a Catholic Nun. But the sentiment… is clear and universal.

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Bless me Blue Jays. For I have sinned. It's been ten years since my last confession. No sin. No foul. No penance. Take this! Sign. And shove it. Photo by Ram Das.

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