August 14, 2007

Stealing Signs Is Not Cheating

I missed this on Saturday but Josh Beckett confronted Melvin Mora about Mora possibly stealing signs from Jason Varitek while at second base and relaying them to Ramon Hernandez.

Mora says Beckett apologized the next inning. Mora: "I've been playing 17 years of professional baseball and I don't play that game. I don't like that, because I think that's cheating -- and I know the pitcher's got to eat, too."

Jason Varitek didn't think Mora was stealing signs, though he said it's common. "I've been talking about Toronto for quite a few years. You've got to worry about New York, Texas. It's not just hitters, either, it's stealing bases. They figure out the signs, and go on a breaking ball because they have a better chance."

Baltimore first base coach Juan Samuel agreed: "That's nothing unusual to me. You can try to do whatever to get an edge."

Stealing signs is not cheating. It's part of the strategy of the game. If you can crack the other team's codes, whether you are on first base, second base, or sitting in the dugout, you pass on the information. Don't players know this? Maybe Mora does, but he thinks admitting anything will make fans think he's cheating.

It's like finding a pattern in a third base coach's movements or seeing some minor twitch that means a pitcher is throwing to the plate and not to first. As long as you are not using anything other than your eyes and brain, it's not only completely legal, it's practically expected.


Jere said...

This is a fuzzy area for me. I pretty much agree with you, BUT... once, in middle school, I took a make-up test. So it was just me and the teacher in the room. It was one slip of paper, multiple choice. I quickly noticed that there was a little white-out splotch on each answer. In other words, he took the copy with the correct answers checked off, and whited them out. I immediately knew all the answers. So I had a decision to make. I could either fill in all the right answers and take my A, or I could make it LOOK like I didn't see the splotches, and purposely get some wrong. I went with the latter. I figured a B was about what I would've been happy with, so I purposely missed, like, 2 out of ten or whatever it was.

It's like when I play cards with someone, and they're holding their cards down too far, so I can see them. I always yell at the person! "Don't show me your cards!" But if I looked, I'd get an advantage, and it wouldn't be my fault, since they're the one showing me what they've got. (But if my livelihood depended on me doing well at cards--maybe I'd just take in the info they're giving me, and use it to get the upper hand. I'd like to think I wouldn't do that, though....)

I guess in baseball, you have to know people will be looking to steal your signs, so you have to continue to change them. In fact, the pitcher could yell out "here comes a curve" before every pitch, but the other team has to realize he has the right to do that and then throw a fastball.

Jere said...

Oh, my point about the cards is that I want to win, every time, a lot--but I wouldn't feel right knowing I had an advantage, even though it's not technically cheating. I'd rather lose knowing I didn't get an advantage than win knowing I did. But, again, it's not my job like baseball is for these major leaguers.

redsock said...

You read Gary Matthews's comments yet? :>)

James said...

Stealing signs is part of baseball as much as getting plunked with a Josh Beckett fastball is. Melvin Mora needs to worry less about stealing signs, and more about not getting up to bat with 2 outs and no one on.

Seriously though, I have no problem with people stealing signs, but I do think that it's appropriate to throw at them (not at the head) if they choose to play that way.

Beth said...

i guess i'm unclear on who said there was cheating going on...i think, like you said, using just your eyes and your brain is fair game, but nobody said beckett couldn't let mora know he wasn't happy about it.

Jere said...

"You read Gary Matthews's comments yet? :>) "

They said them on the pre-game last night--funny moment when TC, after Edes read the comments, said to the camera, "So once again, that's GARY MATTHEWS JUNIOR..."

I was at a game last year, sitting right by the third base dugout, and this group of guys near me were all over Matthews. Every time he came back to the dugout. I wonder if that had something to do with it. But even if it did, I gota believe he did something to piss them off in the first place, but I have no idea.

redsock said...

Maybe I wasn't clear in typing it out.

Sounds like Beckett thought Mora was relaying Tek's signs to the hitter. Beckett said something to Mora, but then apologized an inning or so later.

Maybe Mor wasn't doing anything, but he certainly has the right to check signs and communicate to his teammates. Juts as Beckett has a right to get pissed and maybe "remind" an Orioles hitter that he frowns on such activity.

redsock said...

funny moment when TC, after Edes read the comments, said to the camera, "So once again, that's GARY MATTHEWS JUNIOR..."

:>) (I can really hear his voice doing that too.)

Also loved Papi's push-ups last night. During the musical montage, they used a few different camera angles so it looked like he did more than the 2-3 he did. They should have edited it so it looked like he was doing 20 of them.