Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by Whom?

The Toronto Blue Jays have been under fire for “stealing signs” at home for the past year, most publicly by Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Basically, some of the opposing teams believe that the Blue Jays are using a third-party to find out what the pitcher will be throwing once he accepts the sign from the catcher.

Today, Amy K. Nelson and Peter Keating wrote an article at ESPN detailing a specific sign-stealing incident.

I was interested to see if I could find which game this incident happened, based on what we can find from the article. This is what we know:

  1. The game happened in the spring of 2010 (April 5th – June 20).
  2. It took place at the Rogers Centre.
  3. The opponent was an American League team.
  4. Jose Bautista played right field.
  5. Jose Bautista struck out late in the game.
  6. The opposing team was not using multiple signs with runners on base early in the game, but started doing this later in the game.
  7. The game was not the last in the series, since the opposing team was able to go to the stadium the next day.

Based on these criteria, six games appear:

Date Opponent
13-Apr CHW
2-May OAK
28-May BAL
29-May BAL
1-Jun TBR
5-Jun NYY

I watched video of each of these games. At first, I thought the game against the Yankees would be the one, since they are mentioned multiple times in the article. However, it doesn’t appear that they change signs late in the game. Neither do the Athletics or Orioles, from what I can see on the broadcasts. However, in the April 13th game, the Chicago White Sox definitely do switch to multiple signs with no runners on base in the 6th inning (for proof, watch the CSN feed of the game in the 5th and 6th innings on MLB.TV).

Here’s a great picture of where the pitchers in the bullpen sit (taken from Ballparks of Baseball). You can see their heads on the far right of the picture.

Click to enlarge

The article mentions that the members of the bullpen “caught sight of a man dressed in white about 25 yards to their right, out among the blue center-field seats.” This means he must be sitting somewhere under the skyboxes in center field. If we look at this area during the White Sox game, we find this:

Click to enlarge

Interesting. There appear to be three people wearing white shirts and sitting in center field at this game. But the article also says “The inning after the incident, however, the relays stopped, and the man in white left his seat.” The “incident,” if it happened in this game, would have been in the 5th inning. This next shot is taken from the bottom of the eighth inning:

Click to enlarge

At least one of the men in white is missing, seated in Section 101R, Row 1, Seat 1.

Now, I’m not trying to “call out” the White Sox, but I believe that all signs point to this game being the one about which the article was written. The Blue Jays and White Sox have already played their lone series at the Rogers Centre this year and interestingly enough did not use multiple signs with no runners on board.

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54 Comments on “Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by Whom?”

  1. sam says:

    But did they play them near the end of the previous season?

    • The article states “But that had been in the last series of the season against Toronto, and they let it go.” So it didn’t have to be at the end of the season, just the end of their series against them. The Blue Jays and White Sox played at Rogers Centre from May 15-18 in 2009.

  2. Cb says:

    Good detective work

  3. Hughbeehayve says:

    Love Wilner’s question to A.A. at the press conference, “If the Jay’s are relaying pitches, why is no one relaying them to Aaron Hill”?

  4. Anonymous says:

    That looks awfully far to the right to be beneficial. Was the pitcher a lefty or a righty?

    • Anonymous says:

      In the ESPN article, they said the opposing players tested the location and it was a perfect vantage point where the hitter could see the relayer without moving their heads or otherwise indicating that they were watching the stands .And the sign was a hand wave (off speed) or no hand wave (fastball), so it wasn’t a complicated indication; maybe a “Wave” could mix up the reads, if anyone did the Wave anymore

  5. will says:

    You are right! Bautista just confirmed it was the Whitesox.

  6. @duszczyszyn says:

    So, that would make it:

    Santos, Jenks, Sale, Thornton, Putz?

  7. TheGlue88 says:

    Sounds like something Jenks would say

  8. Anonymous says:

    The guy’s white t-shirt musta been in the wash for their match up this game. Bummer. There goes that high-tech system.

  9. 1967ers says:

    Jose Bautista was hitting .161 with a .648 OPS. What value to him was stealing signs?

  10. Anonymous says:

    ANd we got rid of Santos….

  11. Rob says:

    Plus, the comment that “Harder to hit HR when you don’t know, isn’t it?” sounds like something you would yell at a HR champ, which Bautista currently is, so it kind of gives the story credibility.

    What waswere his numbers on April 13, 2010? At that time, he still would’ve been a bench/utility player who nobody knew existed.

  12. […] Links Steal of Home uses some game video to determine the quotes in the ESPN article are from the Chicago White Sox, […]

  13. Jason Sinnarajah says:

    I thought the article said the series in question was the last one in 2009. That would mean the Seattle Mariners were the team in question.

  14. zed says:

    The picture of where the visiting pitchers sit in the bullpen is completely wrong. Visiting pitchers do not sit along the right field line. They sit BEHIND the right field wall.

    That being said, they have a far better idea of what fans are doing in right-centre field.

  15. […] Steal of Home performed some impressive detective work to determine if the man in white exists. Taking screen caps from an April 2010 game between the White Sox and Blue Jays, three men wearing white can be seen in center field during the game. And one of them left his seat by the fifth inning, after the confrontation between Bautista and the visitors’ bullpen took place. Hmm. […]

  16. BJfan says:

    thats the visiting team. the jays bull pen is i left field.

  17. Chris Ross says:

    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 is just crazy. 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. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/espn-investigates-spydome-fair-or-foul/

  18. […] more: Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by Whom … – WordPress WordPress Tags: check-out, […]

  19. […] more: Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by Whom … – WordPress WordPress Posted in WordPress on Blog | Tags: check-out-,hear-what,say-http,you-have,you-think Share […]

  20. […] the original here: Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by … – WordPress WordPress hopfeed_affiliate='fwsjay'; hopfeed_affiliate_tid=''; hopfeed_cellpadding=5; […]

  21. […] Read the original: Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by Whom … – WordPress WordPress […]

  22. Joe says:

    Was the man in white there the game before?

    • I’d really like to know the answer to question.

      If someone has access to the back log of games via MLB.tv this would make an interesting research project. Obviously if the “Man in White” is seen at multiple games that’s really important evidence.

      • It would be really nice if I could find a game where they use a camera behind the plate. But that’s not a very common thing. I saw it in that game, but the camera angle was so high, it didn’t show anyone in the stands.

  23. […] guys Doug Padilla talked to didn’t exactly deny it. But a blogger beat him to the punch, as some great police work by blogger Chris St. John at Steal of Home uncovered not just the opponent, but the particular game that fit the described circumstances: […]

  24. […] goes on waivers later this month, which is expected, he should have several suitors.DJF and Steal of Home have found the man in white.Tampa Bay Rays rookie starter Alex Cobb is done for the year after a […]

  25. […] says the team making accusations is the White Sox. (This was actually sussed out earlier by the Steal of Home blog, which not only fingered Chicago, but provided some screen caps of the possible man in […]

  26. […] says the team making accusations is the White Sox. (This was actually sussed out earlier by the Steal of Home blog, which not only fingered Chicago, but provided some screen caps of the possible man in […]

  27. […] to the detective work of Steal of Home, we are confident the game in question has been identified. On April 13th, 2010, the Chicago White […]

  28. […] Grantland (Bill Simmons’s ESPN-backed site) has a post on the “controversy” that’s far better than ESPN’s major reporting. The Internet also says the team who says it happened but doesn’t want to go on the record is the White Sox. Fitting. […]

  29. Nobody says:

    It was only the latin players involved in the sign stealing.

  30. […] where there are questions about the authenticity of any claims associated with the film.Thanks to Steal of Home, we also have evidence of the man in white.  Or a man in white.  Or many men in white.  It […]

  31. […] Grantland, that had fun looking during all a issues and posted some good links, including from a Steal of Home blog — that attempted to find a male in white in shade […]

  32. Steve says:

    In this day and age, with cell phone cameras and YouTube, it occurs to me that if someone were at a game, raising their arms for no particular reason throughout a baseball game, someone would find this behaviour odd enough to record/photograph it, if only to show friends the “weird guy” making these crazy gestures?

    Or at the very least, when this story broke, wouldn’t there be at least some fans who have sat in that area of the stadium be calling the media to mention that they had noticed this individual (even though they would have no idea why he was making these gestures)?

    If “The Man In White” is raising his arms prior to every breaking ball that is about to be thrown — and that’s got to be what, at least 50-60 on any particular game? — it seems like a behaviour strange enough that someone would have noticed. This doesn’t exactly appear to be a subtle motion. The bullpen pitchers apparently noticed it, someone else would have had to as well, yet I haven’t heard a single fan/stadium employee/media member or other players from other teams claim to have seen this.

    As a journalism professor once facetiously taught us, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

  33. […] Steal of Home performed some impressive detective work to determine if the man in white exists. Taking screen caps from an April 2010 game between the White Sox and Blue Jays, three men wearing white can be seen in center field during the game. And one of them left his seat by the fifth inning, after the confrontation between Bautista and the visitors’ bullpen took place. Hmm. […]

  34. […] Links Steal of Home uses some game video to determine the quotes in the ESPN article are from the Chicago White Sox, […]

  35. […] Accusations on their own might not hold much weight, but when combined with some crazy home & road slugging splits there seems to be some meat on this bone. […]


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