Blue Jays Caught Stealing Signs? But by Whom?Posted: August 10, 2011
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:
- The game happened in the spring of 2010 (April 5th – June 20).
- It took place at the Rogers Centre.
- The opponent was an American League team.
- Jose Bautista played right field.
- Jose Bautista struck out late in the game.
- The opposing team was not using multiple signs with runners on base early in the game, but started doing this later in the game.
- 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:
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.
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:
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:
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.