Aug 10, 2011, 10:41 AM EDT
Four players have confirmed to ESPN that they’ve witnessed Blue Jays hitters being relayed signs from the center-field stands at Rogers Centre.
An Outside The Lines reports details the allegations and an incident involving one of the players and Jose Bautista. The report claims that a man in center field, situated perfectly behind the pitcher in a batter’s eyeline, was gesturing to indicate offspeed pitches for Toronto hitters.
The man caught the eyes of one team, and a player sent a message to Bautista following an at-bat in a game last season:
“We know what you’re doing,” he said. “If you do it again, I’m going to hit you in the [f——] head.”
Bautista acknowledged the confrontation, but he denied that the Jays have anything to do with sign-stealing.
“First of all, I don’t even know how you can do that,” Bautista said. “And second of all, it’s obviously something that’s not legal in the game. We do not cheat.”
But opposing teams certainly think they do. The Yankees and Red Sox have both been throwing down multiple signs even with no one on base when they face the Jays at Rogers Centre. ESPN even cites our report from a Red Sox game in June, though without feeling the need to give us any credit. The Yankees’ Russell Martin said the Jays were stealing signs last month, though he believed it was baserunners responsible for the deed.
Once again this year, Blue Jays hitters are faring much better at home than on the road. They’ve hit .261 with 71 homers in 55 games in Toronto, compared to .249 with 57 homers in 60 games elsewhere.
Here are the individual OPS splits for all of the Jays with 180 at-bats this season:
Jose Bautista: 1.155 home, 1.030 road
Yunel Escobar: .957 home, .699 road
Edwin Encarnacion: .921 home, .670 road
Adam Lind: .807 home, .755 road
Eric Thames: .794 home, .684 road
Rajai Davis: .735 home, .512 road
J.P. Arencibia: .697 home, .757 road
Travis Snider: .687 home, .561 road
Corey Patterson: .659 home, .671 road
Juan Rivera: .629 home, .702 road
Aaron Hill: .595 home, .587 road
Interestingly enough, two of the three players to actually perform better on the road were given away in trades last month.
The argument against the Jays’ stealing signs is that they aren’t actually winning at home. They’re 28-27 at Rogers Centre this year and 30-30 on the road. Last year, though, they went 46-35 at home, compared to 39-42 on the road. Those 2010 Blue Jays hit .253 with 150 homers at home, compared to .243 with 107 homers on the road.
This story isn’t going away, so it’d be nice if MLB decided to take an interest at some point. Contacted for ESPN’s story, a spokesman responded: “Major League Baseball has never received a complaint from any club about sign stealing in Toronto, and this is first [we’ve been] made aware of it.”
Update: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous will address the sign-stealing charges at 3:45 p.m. EDT this afternoon.
Jul 4, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT
But not even science could master the knuckleball.
Jul 4, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT
Kris Bryant had a monster night at the plate on Saturday against the Marlins.
Jul 4, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT
Jarred Cosart had a rough outing on Saturday and will try to straighten things out at Triple-A.
Jul 4, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT
The Orioles got Jonathan Schoop back after nearly three months. They sent Ryan Flaherty to Triple-A to make room for him.
Jul 4, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT
The Braves are trying to shop an expensive, ineffective Chris Johnson.
Jul 4, 2015, 9:07 PM EDT
The Twins added some bullpen depth in signing Scott Atchison to a minor league deal.
Jul 4, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT
The Giants tried to get creative to catch Bryce Harper napping off of second base.
Jul 4, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT
John Axford is back with the Rockies, ready to continue closing out games.
Jul 4, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT
Ervin Santana is back. Trevor May’s rotation spot has been freed up to make room for him.
Jul 4, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT
Avisail Garcia robbed Chris Davis of a home run. It was as glorious as it sounds.
Jul 4, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT
Ross, 38, is batting .189/.302/.284 over 87 plate appearances this season.
Jul 4, 2015, 4:25 PM EDT
Matt Holliday has been sidelined since June 8 with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps muscle.
Jul 4, 2015, 3:18 PM EDT
Miguel Cabrera is going to be missed while he’s out with a Grade 3 strain of his left calf, but the Tigers are getting by just fine so far this afternoon against the Blue Jays.
Jul 4, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT
Norris has a 6.79 ERA over 11 starts this season.
Jul 4, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
Beth Fedornak claims to have suffered “permanent or continuing injuries in her neck and back” as a result of the mascot’s actions.
Jul 4, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg exited today’s start against the Giants in the top of the fourth inning due to an apparent injury to his left side.
Jul 4, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT
Bauer also had a heck of an at-bat in the process.
Jul 4, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT
It’s only noon on the East Coast, but Nationals slugger Bryce Harper is already setting off fireworks.
Jul 4, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT
The Tigers have no great internal options to replace Miguel Cabrera and not much with which to trade.
Jul 4, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT
Alderson says Collins isn’t to blame for the Mets’ lack of offense.
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