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Thread: Stealing Signs

  1. #1
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Stealing Signs

    Seems like a good time to bring up another controversial topic, in light of the pine tar situation.

    Stealing signs.

    Apparently there is a big bru-ha-ha between the Twins and Tigers over Joe Mauer stealing signs. There was a You Tube video made about it.



    I don't actually think this is a big deal. There's no moral or ethical reason stealing signs is wrong. It certainly isn't against the rules. I think if you're able to steal signs, more power to you. You still have to be able to hit the ball, which is not easy even if you know what's coming.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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  3. #2
    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    I loved watching the duel between Mauer and Laird. Laird totally knew what was up! This is one of those issues I'm somewhat neutral on. I can see arguments for it being cheating, but I can also see arguments for it being a legitimate part of the game. That said, Mauer should expect a fastball in that same earflap the next time he faces Verlander.

  4. #3
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Quote Originally Posted by reds1869 View Post
    I loved watching the duel between Mauer and Laird. Laird totally knew what was up! This is one of those issues I'm somewhat neutral on. I can see arguments for it being cheating, but I can also see arguments for it being a legitimate part of the game. That said, Mauer should expect a fastball in that same earflap the next time he faces Verlander.
    lol you're probably right about that. Regardless of whether or not it should be done, Detroit likely won't take it laying down.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Member blumj's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    I don't think it's cheating, but Laird needs to walk out to the mound.
    "Reality tells us there are no guarantees. Except that some day Jon Lester will be on that list of 100-game winners." - Peter Gammons

  6. #5
    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    When I played, back in the olden days, we always assigned one guy on the bench to watch the signs and steal them. We usually had them stolen by the third inning. We were young and not very good, so it didn't matter, but stealing the signs was pretty easy, and regularly done, at least at the high school level.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

  7. #6
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Stealing signs is just part of the game.

    Call it competitive advantage.

  8. #7
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    If I'm the Tigers, either Mauer is getting buzzed next time he steps to the plate or Kubel is getting it right then and there. It's definitely not cheating, but there are ways to combat it other than simply changing up signs. That may not work for every pitcher, but with Verlander's cheese, I don't think guys would appreciate it much.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  9. #8
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Unless the rulebook is against it, stealing signs is just as illegal as stealing bases imo.

  10. #9
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    If I'm the Tigers, either Mauer is getting buzzed next time he steps to the plate or Kubel is getting it right then and there. It's definitely not cheating, but there are ways to combat it other than simply changing up signs. That may not work for every pitcher, but with Verlander's cheese, I don't think guys would appreciate it much.
    I doubt this would accomplish anything other than starting a beanball war. The guy stealing signs is usually some fat bench coach who doesn't stand in there to get buzzed.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  11. #10
    Boom Goes the Dynamite Screwball's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    The Twins adamantly deny stealing signs:

    Tony Faust does not play baseball, nor is he a scout. He is a 28-year-old graphic designer who loves the Minnesota Twins. So when he saw video that he believed shows Twins catcher Joe Mauer(notes) stealing signs from the Detroit Tigers, Faust decided to annotate it, upload it and let the world witness just how slick his favorite player really is.

    One problem: The Twins say it’s a bunch of malarkey.

    As they prepared for the finale of a pivotal four-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the Twins had to confront something positively 2009: a fan, one with a minimal baseball background at that, accusing the likely American League MVP of standing on second base and blatantly relaying signals to home plate to give batter Jason Kubel(notes) an idea of the next pitch.

    Kubel laughed at the implication that Mauer was tugging at his helmet as a means of subterfuge. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire denied it, saying with such obvious sign-stealing “somebody would get killed.” First baseman Justin Morneau(notes) insisted on talking to the media to underscore the ludicrousness of the allegations.

    And yet across the field, in the Tigers’ clubhouse, Gerald Laird(notes) – the catcher for the game in question, a 6-5 Detroit victory Tuesday night – said the Twins’ reputation for stealing signs is no secret.

    “They’re known for it over there,” Laird said. “I know they’ve done it in the past. I don’t know if it’s signs or location. They’re really good at stealing signs. It’s a skill. There’s nothing bad about it; they’re just well prepared.”

    Sign-stealing is nothing new in baseball. The most famous hit in history, Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World in 1951, came off a Ralph Branca fastball he knew was coming. Players, coaches and managers consider it part of the game rather than cheating. If a catcher can’t deceive the opponents, he’s not trying hard enough. Because every team – Twins included – attempts to decode signals.

    “I’m not saying we’re out there trying to steal signs, but I hope we are,” Gardenhire said. “I hope that they’re out there trying to steal signs. Because that’s the game. Everybody does it.”

    It’s just … well, there’s an elegance to it that perhaps Faust didn’t capture in his breakdown of the 4-minute, 23-second clip, which Major League Baseball may soon take down for copyright violation. The theft of signs takes a keen ability to decode indicators, secondary signals and all of the other tricks catchers use. Relaying them is generally a subtle trick – an exaggerated lean that looks natural, or a hand tap that is familiar between only two players. They generally indicate pitch location instead of pitch type.

    Something as remedial as putting a finger in the earhole for a breaking ball and touching the face for a fastball, as Faust interpreted, would be mighty dim of Mauer, generally regarded among the brightest players in baseball. Getting caught stealing signs invites the opponent to throw at the hitter. It’s like a public-urination rap. The cops aren’t chasing leads on a random puddle, but if you do it in front of them, they’re going to arrest you.

    “It’s absolutely what they were doing,” Faust said. “It was such an urgent situation, they had to do something. There’s no question that was it.”

    Actually, the entire Twins clubhouse questioned it. The video spread virally throughout the morning. At one point, a half-dozen Twins surrounded the locker of pitcher Kevin Slowey(notes), who sat in his chair with a computer on his lap. The video played, and the Twins critiqued it like a group at Cannes watching the worst film of the year.

    “What an idiot,” one player said.

    “Can we write notes to this guy?” another said. “And tell him that his explanation of tipping the signs was atrocious?”

    Their biggest beef came from the first pitch. Faust said that Laird put down two fingers, signaling a curveball, and that Mauer touched his helmet to indicate the pitch to Kubel. The pitch was actually a changeup. Mauer, who was unavailable for comment before the game, often tugs at his helmet, according to teammates.

    “What else are they gonna say?” Faust said. “I don’t know. That was the one weird thing. It was a changeup. Maybe he was just tipping offspeed overall.

    “I’m just a fan who noticed it.”

    Whether it was legitimate thievery, only the Twins know. Their denial was quick and vehement. They were perturbed that hours before the biggest game of their season, they had to address something manufactured – literally, and perhaps in his head as well – by a graphic designer from Maple Grove, Minn., about 20 miles northwest of Minneapolis, and simultaneously amused that it had taken on life so quickly with such sparse underpinnings.

    “I wish we could steal signs,” Gardenhire said.

    “We don’t do it around here,” Kubel said.

    “I’ve been hitting behind Joe for five years and haven’t gotten a sign from him yet,” Morneau said.

    That’s fine, Faust said. He still loves the Twins even if he doesn’t believe them.

    “I know what I saw,” Faust said.

    And he won’t be convinced otherwise.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...yhoo&type=lgns

  12. #11
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    I think of pine tar as cheating, and stealing signs as being good at the game. Unless you're using electronic means of some kind.

  13. #12
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    I think of pine tar as cheating, and stealing signs as being good at the game. Unless you're using electronic means of some kind.
    Me too. In fact I'd say that if a guy is out there on 2B and isn't trying to steal signs and relay that info to the hitter, then he isn't doing his job.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  14. #13
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Here's my thoughts on stealing signs...A third base coach giving a batter and runner a sign is a PUBLIC sign. He can't say, "Everyone in the stadium look away because I'm going to give my players this private sign". It's not like stealing signs involves hacking into a computer system or sneaking into a team's locker room to get an advantage. You don't ever see a coach drop his pants and take a leak on the field because people would see him. For the same reason, teams should expect others to see and try to determine what their signs mean...
    "In our sundown perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing 'base', a certain game of ball. Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms, the game of ball is glorious"
    -Walt Whitman

  15. #14
    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    Nothing wrong in stealing signs. Like others have said there is nothing in the rule book forbidding this so let it be. Really dumb for the Tigers to make a stink over this. I'm quite sure they do the same thing.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

  16. #15
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: Stealing Signs

    If the guy on 2nd is stealing your signs, I say you turn & try to pick him off 2nd base.

    And by pick him off, I mean make an intentionally errant throw that drills him.


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