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Please check out Anders' thread below regarding ESPN The Magazine's controversial article accusing the Blue Jays of stealing signs. Here is the main thrust of the story.
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.


The article, written by Amy K. Nelson and Peter Keating, does not name any of the players making the accusations but makes reference to recent comments by Yankees manager Joe Girardi's complaints and Boston colour man Jerry Remy.


In the article, Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia tweeted it best.
"I'm hitting 200 and we get signs at home, that makes sense #clowns". He Tweeted a couple of minutes later: "Teams/pitchers need to accept when we kick their [a--] in the rogers centre n not give excuses Looks like we had verlanders signs #nohitter".
Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos held a press conference to address the allegations and ESPN writer Keith Law spoke with Prime Time Sports' Bob McCown about the controversy.

A tip of the cap to Bauxite chocolatethunder for the heads up.  If nothing else, the controversy should boost white shirt sales and hopefully fans in the outfield wear white and make lots of signals from here on in.
Blame The Man In White | 24 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Forkball - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#240637) #
If only the games were broadcast you could go back and see if this actually happened.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#240638) #
Must be a very slow news day...

Everybody in baseball knows, and has always known, what to do if you think the other team is stealing your signs. It's childishly simple. The catcher calls for a breaking ball away, the pitcher throws a fastball up and in. And that's that. Do that just once, and it's all over. The hitters won't want to hear about it ever again. And even if you know if you've got the signs, they'll never believe you anyway.
Chuck - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#240655) #

I love hard journalism.

adrianveidt - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#240658) #
If they're stealing the signs they're not doing a good enough job of it. Steal them better!

The only thing close to hard evidence offered in the article is the unusual number of home runs the Jays hit at the skydome. I would like to hear possible reasons why the home/road splits are so extreme for the Jays but not the opponent.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#240660) #
The White Jays?
Glevin - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 02:38 AM EDT (#240678) #
It's a horrible article. It starts off believing that the Jays are stealing signs and then sets out to try to prove it (very poorly). There are so many holes with the story, it's really a bit of an embarrassment.
eungar - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 02:57 AM EDT (#240681) #
i by accident posted this in the other thread so i apologize for posting again but i want people to see it

"But it's a recipe that should work on the road almost as well as at home. It shouldn't work seven times as well at home, which is what the article reports"
as anders points out, the jays hit 107 on the road and 150 at home. my math sucks but that doesnt equal 7x more! thats why the article is so not worth reading into. the reporter clearly just threw some facts out there based on what the "almighty" Joe Girardi said. this is a typical case of a new york person saying something and just because someone from new york said it, it gets blown way out of proportion! i live in new york but i am from toronto and i listen to the radio enough to know when things like this happen it mostly ends in nothing because it was nothing to begin with. but since the new york media is on every scrap of "newsworthy" item like white on rice this is the result. CRAP JOURNALISM

Glevin - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 05:10 AM EDT (#240683) #
"The White Jays?"

Shudder....just reminded me of that Toronto Star article about how the Toronto's diversity should be reflected on the Jays.
Lugnut Fan - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 07:14 AM EDT (#240686) #

I may be in the minority, but as far as I'm concerned, stealing signs is part of the game.  This is no different than if a runner on second figured out the sign sequence and began to relay signs home to the hitter.  I have read alot of articles recently where sign stealing has been accused (probably all of them are correct).  At the end of the day, every team at every level does whatever they can do to get an edge to win.  I would be disappointed if a team says that they weren't doing this and any team that says they don't attempt to figure out signs whether it is from the catcher, the third base coach etc. is a liar?

I suppose teams should stop looking for tendencies pitchers have and if they are tipping their pitches, they should probably look the other way too.

Adrock - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#240697) #
If I can get my act together and find some markers, I will take signs to the game for the first time in 30+ years of baseball watching.

I have seats behind the plate for get-away day, and will be flashing a "SWINGING" sign when the Jays are pitching, unless there are runners on 1st and 2nd and 0 outs late in the game, in which case I will flash the "BUNTING" sign.

subculture - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#240704) #
Adrock, that would be classic!  I plan to be there and will be looking for you.  I'll likely be 1st-base side... so maybe I'll have a sign that says "Running!" 



Spicol - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#240714) #

A man in white?

Do they mean the Glad spokesman? I can't say I've ever seen him at a game.

Beyonder - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#240719) #

eungar. 

Your misunderstanding is partly because of the poor way I wrote the italicized portion of your comment.  "The seven times more" is apparently seven time the home field advantage that the average team enjoys.  So, after accounting for park factors (short porches, bouncy turf, etc.) at Rogers Centre the Jays enjoyed a home court "boost" seven times what the average team enjoyed.  This is the 3rd highest such advantage enjoyed  by any team in the last 60 years, a point, by the way,  that was observed by a guy who knew nothing whatsoever about the tipping allegations. 

uglyone - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#240720) #
Shudder....just reminded me of that Toronto Star article about how the Toronto's diversity should be reflected on the Jays.

that was the reference I was going for....another case of quality, responsible journalism.
uglyone - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#240722) #
Adrock....DO IT.

Signs like that will not only be hilarious, but could be the first real grassroots Jays fans action in years. The fans will love it, the media will love it, and it might just be the start of something good.

Signs behind the plate "swinging/taking/bunting/swingingforthefences", signs at 1B "running/stealing/toofattorun", signs in the outfield "fastball/curveball/meatball"....it would be damn funny, and IMO would catch on quick. might bring some energy to the fans for the first time in a while instead of just cheering along with the jumbotron, and would go along with great with the new energy all the kids are bringing.

While I thought his article might be a bit optimistic, I'm starting to think Cathal Kelly was on to something in his article yesterday.
lexomatic - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#240724) #
Lugnut, I think the issue is that it's supposedly someone off the playing field. If it were someone on field there wouldn't be any deal made because everyone does. This would be more than that. I don't have an issue with it either. I can understand the pov that it's different than stealing signs from the field, but it's not the issue it's being made out to be. I do think there's a historical precedent for the difference between the two (stealing from the playing field, having someone in the stands) but I don't remember where I read it.  Besides, don't scouts often attend games?  they could also be set to try and steal signs at every game,  "under the auspices of due dilligence for AA." Frankly, I think the umpires, with their inconsistent application of the rules and grandstanding,  are a bigger problem.


Lugnut Fan - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#240727) #

I agree Lexo.  I know that the problem is from someone away from the playing field and they did have a pic on yahoo with three potential "Men in white".  I don't know how effective a guy would be in relaying signs from the position he was in.  Can you imagine stepping out of the box and not only trying to remember what the signs are from the third base coach, now you have to remember what section the guy is sitting in and remember what it means when he raises his arm, doesn't raise his arm, etc.  God forbid, there is more than one person in the section wearing white.   That would just throw the whole plan in the hamper.

 

Mike Green - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#240756) #
In fairness, there is one interesting piece in the statistics.  The Jay left-handed hitters in 2010 had a typical small home boost in their numbers across the board, whereas the right-handed hitters had a large home boost in their numbers.  I suppose that that might be consistent with someone stealing signs from right centerfield. 

If you are going to do this seriously, you would start by looking for video evidence.  If the man in the white suit is going to be visible to batters, there is a pretty good chance that he is captured at some point on video. 

Beyonder - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#240759) #

When?  Presumably it is precisely when he is doing his hand waving signaling thing that the camara is focussed on the batter.

The most telling factor against the whole study is that ESPN has known about this guy for about a year.  They have undoubtedly sent people to the Rogers Centre to scour the crowd since their 'discovery', and found nothing.  If you knew this was going on, and it was indeed going on, you would have no problem whatsoever pinpointing this guy. 

 

Ryan C - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#240764) #
A man in white?
Do they mean the Glad spokesman? I can't say I've ever seen him at a game.


He trades off days with Col. Sanders, Mr. Clean, and the Michelin Man. The Staypuft Marshmallow Man wanted in on the action too but it was determined he would be a tad too conspicuous.
Kasi - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#240765) #
They don't have one camera covering the field. There are multiple ones, covering all different angles. Yes this would require getting footage of the game from Roger's archives or anyone else where the footage is kept. (wouldn't be surprised if MLB kept all the raw footage) ESPN surely had the leverage to get raw footage and analyze it. That they didn't shows me they really don't have anything other than chirpings of White Sox relievers and Gerardi's moaning. Also Mike one could accept that Roger's centers favor right handed hitters and that last year our lineup was 75% RH hitters. This was posted on the http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/newsblog/ blog, but in Toronto last year visiting teams hit home runs 8% more than they did at their own home ballparks. (league average for teams is that teams hit 13% more HRs in their own parks than in others) Maybe the point is that its easy to hit homers in Toronto? Or just copying the post here: The AL is hitting HRs at a 12.8% higher rate at home, than on the road. Toronto is hitting HRs at a 37.5% higher rate at home than on the road. That looks like a huge scary difference. Yet... Toronto's opposition, when playing against Toronto, are hitting HRs at a 7.3% higher rate in Rogers Centre than in THEIR OWN HOME PARKS! If you adjust the raw rates for the expected home/road differential, you'll find that Toronto is hitting HRs at a 22% higher home/road differential than the typical AL team. You'll also find that Toronto's opponents, when playing Toronto, are hitting HRs at a 21% higher home/road differential than the typical AL team! It just can't be that Rogers Centre is a super HR friendly park. The guy in the white shirt must be working for both sides!
Kasi - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#240766) #
Sorry for the bad formatting there. Italics seems to have messed up the line breaks.
Adrock - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#240793) #
Due to limited cardboard supplies, I was only able to make the "SWINGING" sign.

Due to the time spent making the sign, I arrived with 2 out in the first inning. 

Upon arrival, I shouted "Hey Dejesus, I know what you're doing!" while showing the sign, earning a smirk.

Not as good as the laugh I got from Derek Jeter way back when, but it served as validation for the 15 minutes I spent with a pencil and a magic marker.

I held the sign up periodically through the game, but the Jays going down by 6 in the top of the 3rd kind of sucked the life out of me.

My sign stealing clearly was insufficient to boost the Jays to victory, although, if I hadn't been there, it's possible that they would have given up 11 runs or more.

Next time I will bring better signs, or alternately, a magic elixir that adds 4MPH to Brad Mills' fastball.  Not a lot of margin for error with that guy...
bpoz - Friday, August 12 2011 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#240820) #
The sign stealing....
The hitters have changed in 2009,10 & 11. that has to have an effect as well on various statistical performances.
Hill & Lind different in 2009 & 2010/11. Bautista too. Wells hit clean up in 2009 & 10 but with different results.
With the youth movement started in the 2nd half of 2011, we could see big statistical differences just due to an increase in comfort & confidence because of the ML experience gained.
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