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Blue Jays GM: “This whole thing is stupid”

Aug 10, 2011, 6:20 PM EDT

Alex Anthopoulos Reuters

So, Alex Anthopoulous is going the J.P. Arencibia route.

Mike Cormack of Sportsnet.ca has all of the quotes as the Blue Jays GM addressed the media Wednesday to respond to an ESPN story accusing the team of using someone in the center-field stands to steal signs.

Anthopoulous opened by saying, “This whole thing is stupid.  It’s unbelievable that we’re even sitting here.”

The general manager went on to accuse ESPN of failing to do its homework, and he said the story has a lot of holes in it.  He asked ESPN to find someone formerly connected with the Blue Jays to try to back the story up, and that ESPN either didn’t try to do so or failed to come up with a former player or employee willing to contribute to the story.

Meanwhile, the National Post’s John Lott got Jose Bautista to speak briefly.  Bautista said the encounter detailed within ESPN’s article happened during a White Sox game.  So add the White Sox to the list of teams, which includes the Red Sox and Yankees, that believe the Jays are cheating.

  1. derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    my thoughts exactly AA, keep up the good work

    • jamie54 - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:32 PM

      That’s stupid, what’s he supposed to say, We’re guilty,guilty as charged! Asanine to even think he would’nt refute. Lets just see what numbers come up the rest of the year.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:40 PM

      Keep drinking the Kool-aid, derpdederpdederpdederpdederp.

      The sad part is that I agree with you that this is all pretty stupid. I don’t think for a second that the Blue Jays are cheating and never said that. You chose to come after me and call me an f’ing idiot because I said I didn’t think what Bautista said could be proven. And now you broke the unwritten rule by posting something from another blog on here using profanity.

      Sad and Pathetic. We could have been the best of friends too.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:44 PM

      And by the way, if you had read the article, instead of just assuming, you would have read that it was supposedly shouted at Bautista while he was in the outfield and not text messaged or written down. So I was right the whole time and you look like a stupid fool for thinking Bautista could have just shown MLB the “text message” he received.

      Lesson…ALWAYS READ THE STORY LINKED AND NOT WHAT IS CUT AND PASTED HERE.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:50 PM

        thanks for the advice but I dont take any from hypocritical idiots. I read the blog post and commented on it. how exactly did I break an unwritten rule? you sent me something ridiculous because you didnt want it posted in public for everyone to see what a jerk you are. plus your profanity-laced temper tantrum as hilarious and I figured I should let more people enjoy it. in fact I’ll put it up here so we can all have I good laugh (with edits, I dont want to keep embarrassing you):

        “You are the biggest f—— moron I have ever debated with. Jesus Christ, the whole time I am saying that if it is Bautista’s word against whoever threatened him then it is not important. And then at the end, you finally say the same f—— thing? You stupid dolt. Why don’t you just go down on each Toronto Blue Jay one at a time and leave the sports debate to those of us who have a f—— clue you dumbass”

        real mature bud

      • hittfamily - Aug 10, 2011 at 10:21 PM

        He called me a dolt yesterday too. I had too google what the hell it meant. I guess me having to google it makes him right.

        The Blue Jays are cheaters. But not because they steal signs. They are cheaters because they blackmailed (assumption) to get the Angels to actually trade a relevant player for Vernon Wells. They are also cheaters because they got Colby Rasmuss for 2 middle relievers.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:48 PM

      Damn, you guys have been going at it all day.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:52 PM

        Ive never come across someone so stubborn and idiotic yet still able to put up a quasi-reasonable debate. its kinda captivating

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        The problem is, dr, that we both have the exact same opinion on the entire ESPN article, but he chose to not read what I wrote, then he called me a f***ing idiot…which to me means WAR and I don’t mean the stat.

        Clearly, we both think that if somebody said that to Bautista, he should be fined/suspended. Clearly we both think that if Bautista can’t prove it then nothing should happen to the person he said it about. And clearly, we both think the ESPN story is bunk. Yet, he stubbornly kept implying that I agreed with headhunting and that I don’t think there is anything wrong with hitting a player in the head. What he doesn’t realize is that I was one of the people who thought Weaver should have received a 15 game suspension to miss 3 starts. And I was outraged that Ramirez didn’t get at least a game or two for hitting Shane on purpose.

        In the end, I lost my cool with the guy. But at least I respect Craig and his blog enough to post all that profanity here.

        My apologies to you derpdederpdederp. For posting that on your blog. I shouldn’t have done that.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:03 PM

      Good work? another 4th place finish is good work? Way to keep your goals high!!

  2. proudlycanadian - Aug 10, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    I do not think thatneither the White Sox or the Yankees were the source of the ESPN story. The timeline is wrong for it to be the White Sox. The Jays did not play the Yankees in April and May of 2010. I still think that the story came from Baltimore with Boston as a slight possibility.

    A. A.’s comment that the story has not been verified by any former Jay player, coach or executive is the same argument that I have made. ESPN owes both the Jays and MLB a big apology.They did not do their homework very well. In this day and age of TV and video cameras everywhere there would be video evidence of any cheating. No video evidence exists.

    I did hear Greg Zaun say that whenever he was on second base, he would relay signs to Blue Jay hitters all the time. He said that if the teams were dumb enough not to hide their signs, then he was going to take advantage of their mistake.

    • cerveceros82 - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      The video quit working, but I did manage to watch 3 innings of the Boston Toronto game from April. There were definitely two people in the front row next to the batters eye in right-center wearing white. The MLB.tv player quit out on me, so I was able to see if there was an altercation later after the strike-out. This far from proves anything about cheating, but I think you might be on to something with this incident not involving the White Sox. I’ll let you know if I see anything more another day when the MLB.tv player is less buggy.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM

      either way proudly who cares? The jays suck and if they are cheating that means they suck even worse!! If i was a jay’s fan i wouldnt even comment on this story cause id be too ashamed!!

  3. cp180 - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    I think we can add Matthew Pouliot to those who believe the jays are guilty.

    I mean then did win more games at home last year. Oh and they got rid of Patterson and Rivera, surely, because they were not hitting as well at home.

    Don’t forget that some of their players have better home numbers then road numbers, something that never happens in MLB.

    I honesty don’t know if the Jays cheated or not. But the evidence I have seen today dosen’t quite add up to a smoking gun. Maybe more evidence will come to light but as of now pretty one sided coverage today Matthew.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:42 PM

      What else am I supposed to report on? The Jays haven’t provided any evidence that they haven’t cheated. That’s not damning: I’m not sure what kind of evidence there could be. And I did present AA’s side of the story: like he said, ESPN couldn’t get any former Jays to go on the record to provide any sort of evidence.

      The one real fact that sticks out in my mind is the Red Sox and Yankees are concerned enough about the possibility of the Jays stealing signs from the stands that they’ve gone to multiple signals with no one on base. In my opinion, that suggests that there’s really something to this. But I wouldn’t say I’m totally convinced.

      • scatterbrian - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:58 PM

        “The Jays haven’t provided any evidence that they haven’t cheated.”

        Are you f—ing kidding?! The burden of proof is on the accusers, not the accused. Innocent until proven guilty.

        But even indulging in your ridiculous stance that the Jays need to prove their innocence, what could they possibly provide?

        Conversely, the Red Sox or Yankees or whomever simply need to film someone relaying signs. This is called evidence, which is essential to forming a case. Until then, this is nothing more than blind accusation.

        You do realize you’re writing for a blog that was basically founded by a lawyer, right? Matthew, you clearly want to believe this story, but it’s clouding your judgement.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 10, 2011 at 8:06 PM

        I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m just writing on the topic of the day. If the Jays can provide some evidence that they didn’t cheat, of course, we’ll give that plenty of coverage too. But, like we both wrote, there’s probably not much in the way of any negative evidence to be provided. There wouldn’t be any way to prove it didn’t happen. So what am I supposed to give equal time to?

        BTW – This blog was not founded by a lawyer. It was something Aaron and I did in addition to our Rotoworld duties. Once the resources were provided for us to get some help, we brought in Craig as a full-time blogger. And that’s worked out OK :)

      • cp180 - Aug 10, 2011 at 8:03 PM

        Fair enough Matthew,

        As I said I don’t know if the Jays cheated or not.

        However, and I understand sports is different then law, but the Jays don’t have to provide evidence they didn’t cheat, others have to provide evidence they did. 4 unnamed relief pitchers and multiple signs with no one on base are not evidence of guilt, they are evidence of suspicion or perhaps paranoia.

        Anyway thank you for taking the time to reply, It say a lot about you that you are willing to engage in the discussion.

        Cheers

      • coolhand5930 - Aug 10, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        Why again do the Jays have to provide proof that they did not cheat? Like AA said, there’s enough common sense (or at least what should be common sense to every) to indicate why this story is at best, a reach.

        Since it supposedly started in 2006, the Jays have gone through 2 presidents, 2 GM’s, 3 managers, 4 hitting coaches, and I can only think of a handful of Jays that remain on the roster from them. I would assume there’s been at least 40 guys come in and out of the organization from a player perspective alone. None of these players had any information to share?

        Nobody, out of million of fans that have attended ball games, have seen this, or recorded it. The Yankees and Red Sox, who have played there how many times, and never took note of the evidence and provided it to MLB head office to have them inquire? The Rays or Orioles either, for that matter?

        The whole ESPN article is a farce and nothing but an attempted headline grab, put together by lazy journalism. Any comments that suggest otherwise is either a) a troll or b) lacks common sense

      • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 10, 2011 at 8:47 PM

        They don’t have to provide proof. But if they have nothing to provide, then I have nothing to report on.

        And I do agree with what you’re saying: that ESPN couldn’t get any former Jays to comment either for or against really hurts its report. However, baseball is an extremely closed community when it comes to these kinds of things. It’s rare that anyone outs anyone else over anything, whether it’s cheating, steroids, sexual activities, etc. Sure, there’s Jose Canseco and a handful of other incidents, but most everyone else keeps their secrets to themselves.

      • scatterbrian - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:04 PM

        Matthew,
        First of all, apologies for not giving you and Aaron your due…or giving Craig too much. I read all of you guys…I RSS and pretty read most everything, so I should thank you for giving me something to do at work besides work.

        I just don’t understand reporting on this story, considering it’s nothing more than anonymous accusations. The story has such little credibility; there is no video of this man in the white shirt in centerfield, which would be incredibly easy to obtain. The stats don’t bear much considering many players hit better at home in general, and Roger’s Center appears to favor hitters. I do see responding to it because ESPN brought it up, but I don’t understand why we should give it credence just because ESPN reported it. And I absolutely disagree with the notion that the Blue Jays need to defend themselves, let alone prove their innocence.

      • Mark - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM

        “The one real fact that sticks out in my mind is the Red Sox and Yankees are concerned enough about the possibility of the Jays stealing signs from the stands that they’ve gone to multiple signals with no one on base. In my opinion, that suggests that there’s really something to this. But I wouldn’t say I’m totally convinced.”

        Have you, you know, ever watched a Yankees game? It doesn’t matter who they’re facing, every other pitch the catcher runs up to the pitcher and tells him what to throw. It’s so damn annoying to watch.

        This whole situation is pretty ridiculous. Even Granderson said there’s no way he could see the guy from the bench, so how are the Jays players seeing him? If he’s on a bluetooth, he doesn’t need to wave his arms like a crazy guy for fastball or slider.

        It’s a complete non-story. Players hit better at home. Right handed batters hit better at the Rogers Centre. Vernon Wells hits better when he’s not playing through an injured shoulder/wrist/hamstring. Logic generally makes more sense then conspiracy theories.

        But then again, logic gets less traffic.

      • coolhand5930 - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:14 PM

        “But if they have nothing to provide, then I have nothing to report on.”

        Here is my issue. ESPN showed some very minor stats to their argument. You, based off of that article, showed a very small sample size of home/away splits of Jays OPS this season. Not to mention that last year they had a better home record then away – which I’m sure is the first time in MLB history that that has ever happened, right? /sarcasm

        AA made more then enough valid points about how stupid this whole article was, with the many holes in it. Yet, you did not detail any of those in your original post. You are as bad for ESPN for attempting to fan this fire even more so by not eluding to any of the common sense arguments, let alone the advance stats that are easily out there that disprove this from a numbers standpoint.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:25 PM

      No stats have disproven anything. That said, Tom Tango came through with some interesting numbers, noting that Rogers was even more favorable for Jays hitters from 2005-08 than it’s been the last three years.

      http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/article/stealing_signs_in_toronto/

      Maybe I’ll try to find a way to work that into an entry tomorrow.

      I’ll be curious to see how this plays out over the next couple of days. People with time on their hands are already hunting for video of the man in white. If no one finds anything compelling, I imagine the story will die a pretty quick death.

      • FC - Aug 11, 2011 at 10:48 PM

        LOL It’s already dead, you’re the one who insists on yelling: “Clear” and zapping the poor corpse for hours….

      • FC - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:01 PM

        The one real fact that sticks out in my mind is the Red Sox and Yankees are concerned enough about the possibility of the Jays stealing signs from the stands that they’ve gone to multiple signals with no one on base. In my opinion, that suggests that there’s really something to this.

        You need to expand on this. Because I think you’re making some leaps of faith rather than logic. Based solely on the original ESPN post you made, you claim the Yankees are concerned because of the Russell Martin post. However Russel Martin was perfectly clear that the sign stealing he says occurred is within the bounds of the game since the base-runners were doing it and that it was HIS fault and responsibility for not changing the signs. The opinions of 1 Russel Martin does not constitute the entire opinion of the Yankees Organization (Girardi mumblings don’t count). Especially since he indicates no actual cheating was involved. He was outsmarted. That hardly constitutes “Yankees are concerned Jays are stealing signs”

        As for the Red Sox. Again based only on the information you gave in the post, in one specific game you noticed the color commentator saying Jarrod was making multiple signs with no men on base. You instantly made the leap that the Red Sox as a whole are concerned with illegal sign-stealing. That’s a big leap. Jarrod might be doing it for innocuous reasons. But more than that… do we new if Jarrod did this in more than one game? Have you been watching archives of all Red Sox games to see if he’s done multiple signs with no men on base ONLY in Toronto? What if he does this everywhere? What if he did it only once in Toronto? Again the actions of one red sox catcher do not imply that Red Sox Nation believes the Blue Jays are illegally stealing signs. Were the Sox asked about it? I’m just asking you to provide more information. Because MLB has reported that neither Yankees or Sox have filed a claim. So this completely different from the Rockies-Phillies spat a couple of years ago.

        The conclusions you are drawing are based on the flimsiest of pieces of information if it’s just the Russel Martin post and the Red Sox post on Jarrod. Please tell me you have more.

  4. derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Chris, if that was actually the point you were trying to make from the get-go you need to word your posts a lot better (dont even try to rehash that argument here if you think we agree) I respect Craigs blog too but people like you can really get to me. It seems youre trying to backtrack, get the last word in, and then extend the olive branch to make it look like youre the one taking the high road. Im not buying it for a second. That thing you sent me showed what youre all about, I never once went outside this forum but you sunk to that level. Thats all Ive got to say about that, enough is enough

  5. proudlycanadian - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    The Jays fans are making fun of this story. There are several mocking signs in the stands. In the pen, Casey Janssen is wearing a pair of coffee cup binoculars.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:08 PM

      The jays fans are making fun of this story proudly? Do you mean all 15 of them!! WOW!!! Thats funny stuff!

  6. spudchukar - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Ya Gotta watch them Canucks. Tricky bunch they are. Believe they invented the Deke.

  7. FC - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Yawn… call me when actual evidence is presented of wrong-doing…

  8. Chris Ross - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    I wasn’t surprised to see the allegations against the Blue Jays because there have been rumblings but I was surprised by the selective evidence searching of the article on ESPN. We all know that the media forms articles to conform to their views but this seems a bit over the top. I guess you can take the article any way you want but it looks as though there was a lot of evidence discounted by ESPN. I would like to see what comes of this because there clearly isn’t enough evidence right now to make any justified conclusions I don’t think.

    http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/espn-investigates-spydome-fair-or-foul/

  9. cshearing - Aug 11, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    So 4 articles about this silly sign-stealing thing, and nothing about the Jays young Canadian kid Lawrie hitting a game-winning Grand Slam in his 5th game? Awesome.

  10. FC - Aug 11, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    Yeah I know, and Mattew’s excuse is: “what else am I going to report on?” As if there were some dearth of baseball news on a game night!

    Hey Matthew, for a crash course on how you SHOULD have blogged about this from the beginning check how the ESPN article was dismantled and deconstructed by… another blogger:

    http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2011/08/10/on-false-evidence/

    THIS is what we expected from a site calling itself HardballTalk!

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:11 AM

      FC, to be fair to Matthew, this site shouldn’t be a blog that you come to for analysis and insights. It is definitely more of a baseball news blog.

      The link to which you posted would be something that one of the writers would link to and write something like “If you want a rebuttal with some interesting insights on the Blue Jays stealing signs debate, here’s a great place to go…”

      • FC - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:31 AM

        Maybe, maybe not Chris, but he HAS brought up several stats in his posts in support/against the accusations. So the moment he starts to do analysis on a specific topic, bring up stats to make a point and even post several times on the topic, I think it’s fair game to criticize him for not doing his homework and not searching the web enough to find deeper posts on the subject he can link to as you suggested. His reporting has been extremely one sided and opinions formed by confirmation bias.

        And I realize it’s a blog about short news items and opinions, fair enough. But by the same token I reserve the right to comment on what I think are 1) Non-news items being treated as news, 2) poorly thought out opinions and 3) the first two points being repeated ad-nauseum without regard for the feedback he’s received.

        You have to admit, the reaction in HBT to the whole “sign-stealing” story has almost been universally one of skeptical disbelief.

  11. cur68 - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Whatever the reality of sign stealing is, I gotta say that Brett Lawrie sure had the signs right against the A’s last night. A grand slam and a double that was inches away from another 4 bagger. He brought the house to its feet, too. Kid can play him some ball, eh? Just great to see so much enthusiasm at a Beaver Wrestler’s ballgame.

    In fact, it was great to see the Beaver Wrestlers so fired up about the whole SignGate thing. They battled like hell last night. Used to be if they were trailing 3 -1 most of a game they’d go to sleep, but not last night. Bring on more of this ‘sign-stealing-from-the-stands’ bull crap; sure seems to wake up the Lords of Maple Earth, doesn’t it?

    That youngster Alvarez, all 21 years and half a season of AA ball to his credit, came out and dealt like a pro, even if he didn’t get the win. He hung in there and played with no signs of stampeding and giving in. Exactly what I wanted to see from him: a struggle but not a loss. The message should be: “you got some talent kid, but you still got a lot to learn”. Now if someone could please start a rumor about him stealing signs from the opposing team’s 3rd base coach to get pick-offs, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  12. jawilson27 - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Yeah, I gotta agree it was pretty embarrassing how this site fell for this story hook, line and sinker without even asking the most obvious question, where is a photo/recording of “The Man in White”?
    Amy Nelson’s “report” seemed more like a feeble pitch for a sequel to “Money Ball” than a serious investigational report.
    Beyond not even attempting to explain how a “man in white” could sit in a sniper position in the outfield seats in full view of Jays hitters, and apparently the opposing teams bullpen, for over an entire season without so much as a still photo being taken of him, Nelson tried to cherry pick advanced statistics apparently hoping no one would look at the numbers for an easy rebuttal.
    How this site didn’t even attempt to look at the numbers to quickly dismiss this farcical report is really surprising. It’s even more surprising that you began to defend ESPN, writing about how well Nelson wrote as well as providing us with a snarky post about how all JP Arencibia can add is insults while finishing off said post with a paragraph long insult right back at Arencibia. Nice.
    ESPN made a horrible decision to run full steam ahead with this preposterous story. There was a golden opportunity for you guys to dismantle a sloppy report written by the sacred cow of sports media. The ball was set up perfectly on a tee, and you didn’t just whiff, you didn’t even attempt to swing. You instead stood with your arms crossed and looked at the Jays and demanded they provide evidence the man in white doesn’t exist. Why not demand ESPN provide compelling evidence he does exist?

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