|Sign Stealing too Simple for Jays||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 19, 2011
I've cheated, or someone on my team has cheated, in almost every single game I've been in.
There has been a buzz in the baseball world about the Toronto Blue Jay allegedly stealing signs.¬† If it's true, it was clumsy, poorly done and obvious according to all the accounts.¬† In fact it was so obvious and clumsy that it's hard to really attribute it to anyone officially with the Jays organization.¬† After all they like most teams are smarter than that, and if they wanted to could certainly go about it more clandestinely.
Of course the telescope at the Polo Grounds back in 1951 is probably the most well known of all the sign stealing plots, but players have been stealing signs from the day they were introduced to the game.¬† And while a runner on second or a coach trying to steal signs has always been an accepted part of the game, higher tech and modern stadiums certainly lend themselves to cheating.
And the statistics suggest that in many cases that it could be going on.¬† There are teams who have tremendous split differences between home and away. ¬† That may not mean anything except that there is a real home field advantage, but it also might mean that a team will do just about anything to win.
The technology of the modern age certainly would simplify cheating, especially institutionalized cheating since tiny cameras, telephoto lenses and even a modern digital SLR could zoom in from the deep outfield and see how many fingers the catcher is flashing.
From there a quick interpretation and a signal to the dugout or to the batter could tip the hitter to the coming pitch. ¬† It could be sent as an instant message, a light on a computer or as subtle as the guy in the last row of a certain section standing, or cupping his hands to his mouth and yelling something, which could signal a fastball, a curve or a slider.
That's one of the reasons that the story of the man in the white shirt, sending clear signals that both the opposing team and the home team in Toronto could see, just doesn't sit right.¬† No team would be that obvious, and certainly you'd think that no team would keep signaling the same way once the opposition had tumbled to how signs were actually being relayed.
But does it go on?¬† I'd bet it does.¬† Baseball is a billion dollar businesses and there are teams that'll do just about anything to win.¬† Technology has opened the door to all sorts of cheating, and few athletes in sports, and especially in baseball, have had such integrity that they wouldn't take advantage of every edge they could get.¬† It's how the Giants won a pennant back in 1951 and it's why athletes pumped themselves up with steroids and other PEDs in the last thirty years.
Certain owners, managers, trainers and coaches knew about steroids, and looked the other way and even abetted the use of PEDs.¬† Do you think that those same individuals are going to think it's much different when it comes to stealing signs? ¬†I certainly don't.