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“If the Yankees are stealing signs, they suck at it”

Jun 17, 2011, 10:17 AM EDT

sign stealers sign

Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba made headlines by yelling at Andruw Jones during Wednesday’s game for what he believed was stealing signs and relaying them to other Yankees hitters while at second base.

Mark Teixeira revealed that Torrealba also complained to him about the same thing during Tuesday’s game, Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters that Alex Rodriguez is known for stealing signs, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi naturally didn’t like the entire line of questioning.

Meanwhile, there are two interesting issues at play here. One is that, even if the Yankees are stealing signs, so what? That goes on all the time with most and perhaps even all teams, and the general consensus seems to be that it’s the other team’s responsibility to keep their signs under wraps as long as the thieves aren’t being extraordinarily obvious about the whole thing. Torrealba even indicated that he thought it was a relatively minor offense and was simply trying to crack down on it.

Beyond that is the issue of whether or not the Yankees are significantly helping themselves by stealing signs and … well, the evidence seems to suggest no. Or as David Cameron of Fan Graphs put it via Twitter last night: “With a runner on second base the Yankees have a .683 OPS. If they’re stealing signs, they suck at it.”

Sure enough, New York has hit .208 with a .683 OPS when a runner is on second base, which is much worse than their hitting .260 with a .798 OPS overall and .258 with a .787 OPS with no runners on base. Not quite conclusively proof either way, since the sign-stealing surely doesn’t go on every time a runner reaches second base, but situations like the one that angered Torrealba haven’t exactly allowed Yankees hitters to dominate.

  1. CJ - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    I saw the words “Yankees” and “suck” in the headline, and had to say that whatever this article is about, I completely agree.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      you “wish” your team sucked as bad as they do with all the rings they have. you could only wish

      • CJ - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:40 AM

        just as they wish they didn’t have to pick up a couple “has beens” and a “never was” to fill out your rotation this season.

        Unlike whoever you root for, I don’t have to wish for four aces.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:43 AM

      MIght want to wait until the trade deadline has passed us by there junior, i love it when idiots like this cant help but to show their jealousy of the Yanks. Its understandable but pathetic at the sametime

      • CJ - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:50 AM

        so you’re going to trade for another 3 aces at the trade deadline? wow…and I thought King Felix was a pipe dream

  2. Chris St. John - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    They may suck at stealing signs, but they’re amazing at faking hit by pitches.

  3. uyf1950 - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Yet another example of vanquished this time the Rangers and Torrealba trying to justify their own poor performance by trying to cast suspicion on the victors. As they say “Man Up” and admit for 2 out of the 3 games the Rangers played like chit. It’s that simple.

  4. FC - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Maybe they’re stealing the wrong signs with a player at 2B…

    A-Rod (signs) -> “Curveball, inside”
    Tex (signs back) -> “Are you sure? Las time I got screwed when you relayed a sign”
    A-Rod (signs) -> “Positive”
    Tex swings and misses a 94 MPH 4-Seam Fastball Outside
    Tex (signs) -> “$#%@!”
    A-Rod (sings) -> “Sorry man”.

    • throwstrikes - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      A-Rod would be giving Tex signs from the on deck circle since he bats after him.

      • bigharold - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        “…since he bats after him.”

        Come on man, .. don’t let logic and reason get in the way of a good rant.

        And, .. Leave A-Rod Alone!!

      • FC - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM

        It’s not a knock on A-Rod. If anything the line-up absurdity in the joke should illustrate how absurd the whole situation is. Torrealba needs to focus on playing games and stop yelling at baserunners.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:32 AM

      Yeah, the Yanks must have scored 5 or 6 times that inning, we really needed to know the next pitch.

    • FC - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      It’s a joke, it doesn’t have to make sense in terms of the line-up.

  5. deathmonkey41 - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    How many of those 4 aces have ever won anything? Two?

    • CJ - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:15 AM

      Yes, two. Please ask again in November.

      • CJ - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:18 AM

        Check that…just one (WS MVP), but three have won the pennant a combined 5 times I believe.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        And I thought Fiorentino was crazy for crowning them in September last year. Simmer down kid.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Yes, that’s right. Big Joe Blanton is not considered one of the “Aces”, but does have bling.

    • bleedgreen - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Does the Cy Young count as winning something? Cuz if so, then 3 Cy Young awards, 2 NLCS MVP, 1 WS MVP and 2 World Series rings between 5 guys.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      How many pitchers are aces on their current teams and have at least one ring?

      Yankees – 1
      Sox – 2
      Giants – 1.5 (do you count Cain as an ace?)
      STL – 1 (Wainwright was a reliever in ’06, wasn’t he?)

      Seems like the Phillies are doing just fine, thanks.

      • umrguy42 - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        Waino was indeed the closer for the end of ’06, although whether he should currently be counted in your reckoning as he’s on the DL til sometime next year (at best) due to TJ surgery (*sigh*) is debatable.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        Somehow I confused him with Carpenter. (Especially strange since I’m actually related to Carpenter.)

        And I’m not sure you could call Carpenter an ace this year. Although his peripherals are great and there’s a good argument to be made he’ll be an ace from here on out, the results certainly aren’t there yet.

  6. trevorb06 - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    The batters must be paying too much attention to the runner at 2nd than the pitcher to be able to hit. #sarcasm

  7. swisher4mayor - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    I got one question. Does it really matter if they are stealing signs? That shouldn’t be considered cheating , because that’s part of the game. That’s why most teams use different signs when there are runners are on base, so if they are so worried that someone is stealing signs they should change them. It doesn’t matter who is stealing signs whoever it is, it doesn’t matter. As Micheal Kay had said It’s like leaving your car door open and 2 dollars in the ashtray out. Then the owner is complaining that someone is stealing his 2 dollars, but the guy wont lock his door.

  8. swisher4mayor - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    I got one question. Does it really matter if they are stealing signs? That shouldn’t be considered cheating , because that’s part of the game. That’s why most teams use different signs when there are runners are on base, if they are so worried about someone stealing signs they should change them. It doesn’t matter who is stealing signs it could be the yankees, cardinals, redsox, etc but it shouldn’t be considered cheating. As Micheal Kay had said It’s like leaving your car door open and 2 dollars in the ashtray out. Then the owner is complaining that someone is stealing his 2 dollars, but the guy wont lock his door.

  9. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    This stealing signs bit is a joke. Ever since John Mcgraw first started using signs to his players other teams have tried to steal them. If your signs are obvious enough to be stolen that is your fault not the other teams.

  10. bigharold - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Saying stealing signs is bad or cheatring is like saying hitting a ball out of the stike zone for a hit is cheating.

    The very nature of signs is to prevent the other team from knowing what pitch is coming next. If one does it poorly then woes be them. There isn’t a rule against it, like spit balls, so it’s game on. The only thing dumber than this ersatz stealing signs controversy was the “get off my mound” silliness last year.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      And that was another “Leave ARod Alone” moment.

  11. bjavie - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    I am a Phillies fan.

    To the other Phillies fans, STFU!! It’s an srticle about the Yankees and the Rangers and you come in here running your mounths. No wonder Philly fans have the reputation we have.

    The Phils get more articles on this site than any other team (Braves?? Maybe. Craig you verify that.), no need to turn eveyone against me and the other decent Philly fans b/c you are a d-bag.

    • bleedgreen - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      Normally, I’d agree. But there IS discussion relating to the Phils, as they were accused LAST year by the Rockies of stealing signs from the bullpen. Charlie’s comment was ‘Keep crying’, but really, it was kind of strange that once they were accused of stealing signs and sent a letter from MLB, the bats went silent for a GOOD stretch. Were they stealing? Maybe. Maybe not, but it was awful coincidental. Now, the day after being accused, the Yanks can’t get more than a run off of a guy that was lit up in all his starts, has nearly a 6 era and hasn’t won a game in over a year? I’m not calling shenanigans yet, but if the Yanks all of a sudden hit an offensive slump, there might be something to this stealing signs thing, whether its legal or not.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:18 PM

      Except the Phillies weren’t brought up in reference to that, it was more of the “FOUR ACES!!!1!11!” stuff. Congratulations, you still have to play the season.

      • Ari Collins - Jun 18, 2011 at 12:15 AM

        Actually, the Phillies fan was only saying, “Yankees suck,” then defending himself when a Yankee fan said, “27”, and the Phillies fan said, “4 Aces.”

        We Sox fans need some ridiculous used-to-death slogan like “27” or “4 Aces” that we can throw out there even when it doesn’t apply. “You wish YOUR team had two of the last 7 championships,” might be true, but isn’t catchy.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 18, 2011 at 1:34 PM

        No, you don’t. Trust me, as a Yankee fan, nothing pisses me off more than fans shouting “27!!” when at most they’ve been following the team for 7 or 5 of them. I’m okay with five titles in my sixteen years of following this team. I don’t need to add in stuff I wasn’t around for.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Kevin S- Hey, it’s okay with me, I’ll just go around saying “13”. Wait, we’re still in the lead even then.

  12. FC - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Oh Boy Binogate again… YAWN…

  13. boodiggly - Jun 17, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    $200 million+ payroll and they’re stealing signs. And doing so badly… LOVE IT

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