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The Red Sox think the Blue Jays are cheaters?

Jun 10, 2011, 7:50 PM EDT

Rogers Centre AP

NESN color guy Jerry Remy just pointed out something I’m kind of embarrassed I hadn’t noticed: in Toronto tonight, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is giving his signs to pitcher Clay Buchholz as if there were men on base.

It would certainly seem to suggest that the Red Sox suspect some chicanery on the part of the Blue Jays.  Maybe they think someone is relaying signs from one of the hotel rooms at the Rogers Centre, though it seems like it’d be awfully difficult for the hitter to pick those back up in time for the pitch.

For what it’s worth, the Blue Jays are just 15-14 at home this year, compared to 17-17 on the road.  That’s less of a home-field advantage than most teams enjoy.

Maybe there’s another explanation for what the Red Sox are doing, but it’s certainly unusual.

  1. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    This is the same team that employed Manny Ramirez for years, so i guess they are familiar with cheating.

    • pisano - Jun 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM

      A point well taken. I don’t anyone other than a Sox fan would argue with you.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 10, 2011 at 9:53 PM

      Which team has never had a steroid user, again?

      I’m not defending the Red Sox exactly (though I am a Red Sox fan), but attacking them in particular seems a little silly.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:22 PM

        I was making a joke. Lighten up Sox nation, besides shouldnt New England be watching the Stanley Cup tonight?

      • Ari Collins - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:29 PM

        Yeah, thought you MIGHT be kidding, but wasn’t at all sure. (pisano seems unsure as well.) Hard to parse on the internet sometimes.

        Not the biggest hockey fan, despite living in Buffalo for two years, where it was the main sport people watched.

  2. drmonkeyarmy - Jun 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Cur,
    What do you think about that? Is it a possibility? Could this explain the skewed metrics of that Bautista fellow? Certainly more plausible then my Rogue Chemist theory.

    • cur68 - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:19 PM

      ‘army; he’s totally busted. I’ve been waiting for weeks for someone to notice this. In close ups of Bautista @ the plate you cane see him not looking at the pitcher but over to third, possibly the third base coach, Brian Butterfield. His eyes shift back and forth; pitcher, third, pitcher third, then he locks in on the pitcher. Then he creams one. They’ve been picking signs all season IMO.

      If you’ve watched any of the 4 games Royal’s series it’s especially obvious he’s doing it. Doesn’t work now that teams are wise to it, but is picking a sign really cheating? I thought it was part of the game otherwise every pitch call would be a nice verbal one;
      Salty: “Thrown the Heater, Paps!”
      Papelbon: “You want that up and in? Maybe shave his whiskers a bit?”
      Salty: “Nah. Try and hit him in the a$$! He might be slow to turn and that’ll ruin his sex life for a week!”
      Papelbon: “You got it man; one in the wedding tackle, 97 mph, comin’ up!”

      Instead its the way it is to keep the batter guessing. Hence not guessing is part of the game.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 11, 2011 at 8:11 AM

        For the record, it looks as if Bautista has not hit a home run for 12 games. Now that Adam Lind is off the DL, he is picking up the slack in the home run department. Stealing signs is a time honoured tradition in baseball. For years, other teams have thought that the Jays have been stealing signs. The one constant on the team over the decade has been third base coach Brian Butterfield. If anyone is stealing signs, he is responsible. I applaud his diverse baseball skills.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 12, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        your posts are almost as useless as utley’s nutsack

    • Ari Collins - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:20 PM

      So the only way his stats could be “skewed” is by cheating in SOME way, is what you’re looking for?

      • cur68 - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:24 PM

        Nah. He just gets an edge with the sign steal. He still has to barrel it up. Without the extra intel, he’s dropped off a bit but he’s still a prolific hitter; just the homers have dropped off. In the interests of full disclosure I’ve only just got home from work, and have no idea how the game went today so I don’t know if he’s crushed more than 20 yet. I plan to find out as soon as I post this to you, Ari.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:27 PM

      P.S. The Bautista has 9 HRs on the road (to 11 at home), and is hitting .303/.472/.596 away. Not quite his home numbers, but those would still be the best OPS in baseball if they were his overall numbers.

      • cur68 - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:30 PM

        I know. Last few games though, not so much with the homers. He still hits a ton, they’ve just been staying in the park. He must be about 6, maybe 7 games without a homer by now? I’ve lost track and now I’m too tired and disappointed with the loss to the Sox to bother looking this up.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 10, 2011 at 11:31 PM

        Ari,
        Cur is a Canadian and a big time Jays fan. I don’t think he is coming down on them or accusing them of cheating. That would be totally out of character for Cur. Now, it would be of perfect character for me to accuse them of such things. Generally just trying to wind people up. I was only half series in my initial post, but Cur confirmed it for me. Also, if the 3rd base coach is picking signs it wouldn’t matter if they were home or away. I guess the proof will be in how the rest of the season goes.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:13 AM

        Seems to me like he’s definitely accusing them of cheating. Not saying he’s wrong, either; just that a 7-game homerless streak that we think may coincide with the end of a cheating stretch ( that we only *think* happened in the first place) is pretty paltry evidence.

        Far more likely that he hasn’t hit a homer in 7 games just because not even Bonds could keep hitting like The Bautista has hit in the current run environment.

  3. ml3939 - Jun 10, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    The Phillies have not been the same team since their bullpen coach got caught with binoculars. The Blue Jays have been hitting the ball well over the last couple of years. There could be something to this…

    • kellyb9 - Jun 11, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      Yeah they only have the best record in baseball.

  4. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    If Toronto is cheating at home they arent doing a very good job of it. 15-14 at home. At least when the Giants did it in ’51 they got something out of it.

    • cur68 - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:21 PM

      Not every one can catch up to heater even when they know one os coming. JB can, thus he hits well. Notice he hasn’t been serving them out of the park as much recently? He’s not getting any more intelligence because teams are hip to his little trick now.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:25 PM

        Thats a good pickup Cur. I only get to see the highlights of Jays games, but i know you are a fan so i take your word.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM

        It’s probably more likely that he just can’t keep up Bondsian numbers throughout the whole year than having to credit the drop-off to other teams catching up to a Blue-Jays-wide cheating scheme.

      • Mark - Jun 10, 2011 at 11:46 PM

        LOL @ the other team’s catching on = why Jose’s HR’s dropped. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that his timing is off or anything. Also worth pointing out he went through a similar stretch last year when he didn’t hit HR or hit for much power over a pretty significant stretch.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-bautista-a-visual-look-at-homerun-paces/

        “Bautista had a cold stretch for homeruns right around this time of the season last year before heating up again. That’s a total coincidence, I’m sure, but it means that Bautista can afford to slow down for a bit and still keep ahead of his pace from last year.”

        The Jays have always been excellent at picking signs, but it doesn’t help that the Red Sox & Yankees are especially paranoid. I don’t think it’s something that’s particularly limited to home games, though.

      • cur68 - Jun 10, 2011 at 11:48 PM

        Ari; I’ve watched every Blue Jay’s game this season except the ones that happen while I’m at work. I tend to only miss the odd weekend games when it’s my turn to be there but I’ve probably seen >90% of their games. He’s picking signs up from somebody down the 3rd base line or thereabouts. Maybe he’s been doing it all season; I only really noticed it about 3 weeks ago but it was blatantly obvious during the Royal’s games because of close up camera shots.

        I haven’t seen anyone else shifting their eyes like that but JB. I really don’t care that he does it. Good for him. I like the home runs. But his homer production has dropped off the last week to two weeks now. I’m guessing that teams are wise to him and crossing him up. He’s been swinging at a lot of change ups some of which he slaps the other way. This is especially evident when he gets fooled on a slider. That’s when he’s swinging FB and gets the slide and he shoots it on the ground through the shift (all going well). Pay attention to his last 2 weeks and you’ll see a dramatic drop in power shots.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:18 AM

        Interesting theory (again, I haven’t been saying you’re wrong, just that the homerless stretch is pretty statistically irrelevant). Can you link to any particular AB videos that show this? If you’ve noticed it, it should be noticeable on video as well. It might actually be a fair scoop to show him stealing signs.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:19 AM

        +1,000 to Mark’s comment 3 spots up.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 12, 2011 at 4:43 PM

        And not everyone can write useless nonsense quite like you can

  5. hurricanept - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Sometimes the simplest answers are the best. John Farrell is the manager of the Blue Jays. John Farrell also spent much of the last decade on Terry Francona’s staff as the pitching coach for the Red Six, including Clay Bucholz’s every major league start before this year.

    Probably just being careful with him up there.

  6. Chris K - Jun 11, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    As a recently ex-Torontonian and long-time Jays fan, it’s a widely known fact that the Jays steal signs and do all sorts of relaying. All the prospects were coming up with knowledge in how to do it. Apparently someone in the system is making it part of the training regiment.

    That said, I don’t consider stealing signs to be cheating.

    • cur68 - Jun 11, 2011 at 7:58 AM

      Chris; I totally agree. Stealing signs is NOT cheating. It’s as egregious as stealing a base by reading the pitcher’s intentions. Base coaches do this stuff all the time to have an idea if they should send the runner or not. Hell, as a fan, I try to read signs off the catcher too so I can tell if the pitcher is missing or has command. If the oppo is going to be goofy enough to be transparent why not?

    • jwbiii - Jun 11, 2011 at 1:30 PM

      As long as it’s on-field personnel, like a 3B coach, it’s not cheating. Some deus ex machina, somebody in the bullpen, stands, a room in the hotel, that would be cheating.

  7. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Jun 11, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    While deciphering what pitch is coming may be difficult, could they not even just be relaying where the pitch is coming? If the Jays 3b coach is somehow signaling inside or outside, I would imagine there would be some sort of advantage to that, no?

  8. Elwood Larf - Jun 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Stealing signals, provided it gets done on the field by a player or coach and not in the stands by a spy with binoculars, is not cheating. It’s part of the game, and an interesting part at that. It’s not against the rules or, to me, even immoral.

  9. goldensombrero3000 - Jun 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    “The Shot Heard ’round the World” The Giants had a coach in the GM’s box (located in center field) with some kind of crude telescope reading signs from the Brooklyn catch. This coach would relay the signal to the bullpen and then the bullpen, in viewing distance of the batter, would tell Bobby Thomson that a fastball is coming and he should plant that son of bitch in the left field stands.

    • goldensombrero3000 - Jun 11, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      catcher*

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