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Braves suspected Marlins were stealing signs during three-game sweep in Miami

May 2, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT

Mike Redmond AP

Miami just swept a three-game home series against Atlanta and afterward several Braves players and manager Fredi Gonzalez all but accused the Marlins of stealing signs.

Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gonzalez changed the team’s signs five times during Wednesday’s game alone and “the Braves went so far as to look at the sculpture in left center field, wondering if there was somebody hiding in there with a camera.”

Someone hiding in the Home Run Sculpture and relaying opposing team’s signs to the Marlins would be a spectacular story, but ultimately the Braves found nothing out of the ordinary in any of their searches. They did, however, continue to cite the Marlins’ extreme home/road splits when discussing the issue with the media.

One of the biggest supposed red flags from the Braves’ point of view is that the Marlins knocked around Aaron Harang after being shut down by him in a start last week, but realistically it’s the being shut down by Aaron Harang part that should raise more eyebrows. He’s a 36-year-old with a 4.91 ERA in 32 starts since the beginning of last season.

When asked about the sign-stealing accusations, Marlins manager Mike Redmond told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

Just give us a little credit. I mean, we’re out there playing the game the right way. Guys are battling and competing. That’s how we’re winning ballgames. Actually, I don’t even think much about it because my focus is on our guys and my team and what we’re doing. We just played a great three-game series and I’m not going to let anything diminish that.

And here’s what Marlins infielder Casey McGehee said:

I’m not going to say it’s never happened in the history of the game before, but we’re not splitting any atoms, let’s put it that way.

Harang, of course, had a different take:

It was baffling, like, where were these guys last week? They were way too comfortable. It seemed like they were all hitting like Ted Williams.

Or, it was like they were all facing Aaron Harang.

Whatever the case, it should be fun when the Marlins and Braves next play beginning May 30 … in Miami.

  1. thomas844 - May 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Breaking: Braves have contacted their former Chief of Police Brian McCann for further investigation into this matter.

    • aresachaela - May 2, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      Chief of Police McCann: I’ll call in the FBI for back up. HAHAHAHA XD!!

      • tbird05 - May 2, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        I really hope people eventually drop this “Brian McCann is the perfect example of why defending unwritten rules is stupid” thing. Whatever you think about the matter, McCann was simply defending his team/pitcher….not just some silly rule. If you watch the most widely discussed occurrence of McCann “policing,” you will notice that Freeman jumped on Gomez pretty good too. Why aren’t people talking smack about Freeman? My guess? A couple of folks jumped all over Brian for it (and when I say a couple, what I really mean is Craig and one other) and all of you jumped on the popular storyline. Congrats sheep.

      • aresachaela - May 2, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        Sorry, I’m no Braves fan. Just goin with the flow on what other people said here.

      • nbjays - May 2, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        Lighten up, Francis.

      • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        Craig and one other? Uh, no. McCann, and also Chris Johnson, came orf looking like catnip joints throughout the sports media, which is to say, all over the country, for several days after that episode last season against El Keed.

        Baaaaahhhhhhh…..

      • tbird05 - May 2, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        The rest of them were sheep….including you. I hope you learn to think for yourself. It is funny how intolerant you are of people that are intolerant.

      • aresachaela - May 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        This is AMAZING! And I thought people in the “Ako ang Bandila” were dead serious! Don’t worry tbird05, I’ll adjust like what foreign players in order to gain success ;-). I’m really loving this site now. Salamat.

      • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        That logic is almost – almost – as twisted as the first sentence of Cien años de soledad, Bubba. How to diagram it will bear much pondering – my old Jesuit perfessor for symbolic logic would’ve had steam coming out of his ears, much of it alcohol.

        I guess you’re just lucky that the game wasn’t played in New Zealand.

      • tbird05 - May 2, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        I’m not telling you to adjust aresachaela. You have two completely different cultures that clashed during these situations. Both of them were right, but more importantly, both of them were wrong. You can’t tell people to respect other cultures without respecting the one you are blaming. I assure you, the pot and the kettle are most certainly black.

      • aresachaela - May 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        Okay, Just don’t call me a sheep anymore then I’ll put your statements in mind. XD!

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        tbird, McCann has taken this stuff to the extreme, to the point where he went out and blocked the runner’s path to home on a HR trot. And McCann’s own players seemed to have either instigated the conflict or at least pushed it to escalate. Freeman barking, Chris Johnson spitting in his path…yadda yadda. And people did give the whole Braves team some flak about this, and the whole Jose Fernandez thing too (how dare he smile while pitching a great game).

        So, while the caricature of McCann as the unwritten rules police has probably grown beyond his own actions, he certainly did his part to earn the reputation.

      • clemente2 - May 2, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        All the barking back and forth is stupid. The pushing is stupid. The spitting is stupid.

        McCann was way worse,a nd deserves his eternal ignominy.

        McCann’s blocking of the plate on a home run trot was a violation of the rules, and he should have been tossed for five games. I am sorry tbird, but McCann’s actions went way beyond anyone else’s, and I hope people never stop making derogatory remarks about him. In fact, I hope just like “santorum” (NSFW to google), I hope a “mccann” becomes the term used to describe a thoughtless unjustified breach of rules while thinking one is upholding the rules, just so all of history never forgets the biggest most stupid player on the field in the history of baseball.

        Want me to keep going?

    • proudlycanadian - May 2, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Stealing signs is permitted under the unwritten rules of baseball.

      • tbird05 - May 2, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        I agree. If you don’t want the stolen, do a better job. Get creative. Think Gus Malzahn.

      • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        Microchip your signs. Then, even if they’re stolen, you can have the local dog catcher get them back for you.

      • proudlycanadian - May 2, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        That works.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 2, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Put communications inside batting helmets, like the NFL

      Fixed

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 2, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        Pitchers and catchers can have a lil wrist dealies like QB’s, that is a screen with pitch and location.
        The entire sign stealing era would be dead.
        The MLB can make it an actual rule, no hacking other teams signs.

      • sportsfan18 - May 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        What does a RULE have to do with anything…?

        There are rules about PEDS, about corking bats, about scuffing baseballs…

        Have you heard that Pot is ILLEGAL?

        Yeah, if baseball makes a RULE that they can’t hack the other teams signs, THAT will fix it alright…

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 2, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        Well, that was pretty stupid

  2. mdpickles - May 2, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Harang would tip his cap when throwing a breaking ball. Like McGehee said, “we’re not splitting any atoms.”

  3. realgone2 - May 2, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    well the fish are owned by the biggest crook in baseball

    • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Ah, now there’s the connection we were looking for. Sure, guilt by association. No argument over what a bloodsucking bottom feeder Scrooge McLoria is. But the idea of a guy hiding inside of Tommy, of all places, sounds like a cross between Quasimodo in the bell tower and that guy who lives in the clock in Hudsucker Proxy. Fredi got bounced on his fat rump before the Feesh infested Macondo Banana Massacre Field so the ambulatory papa rellena maybe never got to look behind Tommy and inspect his guts. It’s all gears and sprockets in there. It would take an anorexic castaway to find a safe spot inside that majestic artifice.

      Sorry, guys. When you come back to town next time, just shut up and play baseball better than the other team.

      • voteforno6 - May 2, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        There could be someone hiding in there. It’s been done before, with the Turk.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turk

      • moogro - May 2, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        There was never anyone hiding inside Tommy. But The Black Knight was something different. You would be caught napping against the machine watching someone play another game. Next thing you you you get startled with the loudest thing by far in the arcade, the randomly timed voice bellowing “THE Black Knight will play you, Ha Ha HA HA HA HA!”

      • sportsfan18 - May 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        IF there WERE guys hiding in there, it was because they saw Loria coming towards them and they jumped in… as in any port in a storm…

  4. gothapotamus90210 - May 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Perhaps Harang was tipping his pitches.

    Regardless, even the likes of Kershaw get hit around once in awhile.

  5. chacochicken - May 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Redmond brought in the team for a midnight screening of Any Which Way but Loose. During the game the Marlins kept referring to Aaron as “Clyde”. It seemed to make them comfortable at the plate.

    • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Nope, wrong movie. This was the one they watched:

      I’m talkin’ about fwiendship. I’m talkin’ about loyalty. Hell Fredi, I ain’t ashamed to use da woid. I’m talkin about etticks.

  6. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 2, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Unless Old Gator has an alibi, I am fully accepting the Braves story

    • Francisco (FC) - May 2, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      Can’t be him, he loathes Tommy.

      • nbjays - May 2, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Well he COULD have been stealing the Barves’ signs on the side… as he was wiring Tommy up with explosives.

    • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      Where did anyone ever get the idea that I “loathed” Tommy? For me, he’s right up there with my ex-wife and my former in-laws. Is he my taste in art? No. I tend to prefer things like clear plastic couch covers, children with big eyes, Geisha calendars, tigers painted on velvet backgrounds and 8 X 10 photos of Britney Spears from behind with a mass production signature across her touchas.

      • Francisco (FC) - May 2, 2014 at 10:59 AM

        Now wait a minute, I thought you loathed children?

      • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        Live ones.

  7. uwsptke - May 2, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    This is eerily reminiscent of the Tony LaRussa era Cardinals complaining about the Brewers beating them more frequently at home than on the road (and the Brewers have historically had some decent sized home/road splits). He went as far as accusing them of using the stadium lights to tip pitches and other signs.

    • kevinbnyc - May 2, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      Or the whole “man in the white shirt” thing in Toronto, which I still love and hope is true.

  8. renaado - May 2, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    The 9-0 shutout in the 1st game of this series still bothers me. If true, this could be the reason why. But so far in the last game of this series is definitely a close one so not sure if there is any cheatin there.

    • numbskull111 - May 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      Stealing signs might explain the “9”…but it doesn’t explain the “0”.

      • renaado - May 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        Guh… Seems plausible, so I’d let this one go.

    • paperlions - May 2, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      …and the reason the Braves scored 0 runs was because?

      This whole issue is rather stupid and paranoid (just like all of the other times people have been accused of it). In general, there are just a couple of seconds between the sign and the pitch. Feel free to explain how someone 400 ft away would 1) decipher the signs (from 400 ft away it would be really hard to reliably determine what pitch was what, it would multiple innings for information to be coordinated to match up any complex signs with pitches) 2) then someone from 400 ft away has maybe 2 seconds to ID the sign and to get that information effectively to the hitter. Does anyone really think the hitter is staring out past the OF wall rather than at the pitcher when the pitch is about to come at him?

      The easily most parsimonious explanation is that guys are tipping their pitches. The hitter is already looking at the pitcher, and then the hitter gets the information on his own and doesn’t rely on someone else to get it and then relay that info very quickly and reliably to him.

      This is just the Braves trying to justify why they just got hammered by the Marlins and not wanting to face the fact that guys like Wood and Harang just aren’t that good.

      • happytwinsfan - May 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        I agree nobody was stealing signs with binoculars and signaling the hitter in this series, but as to how does somebody, after he’s counted the catcher’s fingers, relay this in a second or two to a hitter four hundred and some feet away – they did it in the Polo Grounds

      • paperlions - May 2, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        Today everyone would know….there is no way to relay that info without cameras and everyone else behind home plate seeing it and recording it. Plus, any time a team is being paranoid and suspects that signs are compromised, they start doing long sequences of signs which would take quite some time to decipher, much less be able to immediately interpret and relay to the hitter in time for him to use the information.

      • happytwinsfan - May 2, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        You’re right of course, which is kind of too bad. Creative cheating can be a lot of fun.

  9. icanspeel - May 2, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Talk about sore losers.. Besides if you lose 9-0 how can you expect to win if you can’t score? Did they steal signs on how you hit the ball too?

  10. numbskull111 - May 2, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Yah…no way the Braves could ever lose a series without some “cheating” going on.

    ok…..

    Here’s an idea….if they are stealing your signs….come up with better ones.

  11. sportsdrenched - May 2, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Out of all the unwritten rules. The “Do Not Steal Signs” rule is the dumbest to me. If you’re careless enough with your Clandestine Operations then you deserve whatever you get. And if the other team is careless, and you don’t take advantage of it. You’re not trying to win.

    Either get better at hiding your signs, or get better at baseball.

    • proudlycanadian - May 2, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      I disagree. Stealing signs has always been permitted under the unwritten rules as long as it is your team that is doing the stealing.

  12. voteforno6 - May 2, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Taken from the other side, how do you explain Harang’s performance against them in the previous start? Could it be that he was cheating, and after the crackdown on Michael Pineda, he realized that he couldn’t get away with it any more?

    Either that, or he just threw a stinkbomb, like all pitchers do from time to time.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    The only sign the Marlins needed was the lineup card showing BJ Upton hitting second.

    And to think the Braves were mad the Fernandez did not show them proper respect last season. The Braves got beat by better pitching. Hit the cages and move on.

  14. baberuthslegs - May 2, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    No one needed to steal any signs if the ball was between the letters and the belt, and over the plate. Geez.

  15. nbjays - May 2, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    For those looking for a conspiracy theory, here you go:

    When the Blue Jays were accused of stealing signs (remember the man in the white shirt?) at Rogers Centre, who lived in Canada?… Cur68.

    The Feesh have now been accused of stealing signs from their opponents, and who conveniently resides in Florida at the moment?… Cur68

    Coincidence?

  16. gosport474 - May 2, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Oh whiny Barves and your excuse-making, it makes me chuckle.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      When the Braves play the Red Sox the umpires will be replaced by nannies to combat the incessant whining.

  17. username5891 - May 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Craig Kimbrel had a big black spot on his hat when the Braves needed him in Atlanta. He was obviously “cheating” and the Marlins didn’t say anything. Braves are the biggest whiners.

  18. schmedley69 - May 2, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    There is not a whinier organization in baseball than the Atlanta Braves.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Red Sox are up there. Even with Adiran Gonzalez gone, they still manage at least one or two weekly whine sessions.

    • Old Gator - May 2, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Naaahhh, it’s the Bo Porter Astros. By a long shot.

  19. voteforno6 - May 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Next time they’re at Nats Park, I’m kind of tempted to stand near center field with a pair of binoculars and semaphore flags.

  20. pixteca - May 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Just legalize pine tar and sing stealing.

    • NatsLady - May 2, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      yeah. That Karaoke in the outfield should do it.

  21. bravojawja - May 2, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    The radio guys were talking about this last night. Don Sutton said the Braves were wondering if the Marlins were either stealing signs or the Braves were tipping pitches, and the Braves decided neither happened.

    He also said that other teams’ scouts had told him that, except for Teheran, Braves pitchers rarely came inside. If a batter only has to worry about one half of the strike zone, it’s a helluva lot easier to connect with the ball, especially going the other way (which the Marlins did quite a lot).

    Sutton talked to Harang about the sign stealing and Harang wryly noted (to paraphrase) that the Marlins didn’t need to steal anything to knock him around that night.

    As for the Braves’ torrid offense, well, it’s going to be very streaky with all those strikeout machines in the lineup. And it’s not like the Marlins are hurting for quality starting pitching, at least the top of that rotation.

    PS: For all y’all crowing about how the Braves are “whining” — why don’t you read Gleeman’s post (if you’re not going to read the original)? Here, I’ll quote it for you: “but ultimately the Braves found nothing out of the ordinary in any of their searches.” And here’s a quote from the original article that Gleeman must’ve missed: “Gonzalez was laughing when he told the story Thursday afternoon in the Braves dugout.” Nobody’s accusing anybody of anything.

  22. chiadam - May 2, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Opposing catchers should just telling Upton what’s coming. He might stand a chance then.

  23. djpostl - May 2, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Lol, if your entire position is “they must be cheating, afterall, they just knocked Aaron Harang around for God’s sake” then your argument is in a whole lot of trouble Braves.

  24. sumkat - May 2, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    i never got this. The game are on TV, there is a live feed in the stadium, if teams really wanted to do it, wouldn’t it be easier to do from a booth on a TV screen than from the outfield bleachers with binoculars?

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