Blue Jays and stealing signs – time to revisit the rules?
In a world of instant replays, digital camcorders, phones, tablets, watches and so many more ways to pause and watch live sports, sign stealing in baseball has become more prevalent and easier to achieve than ever before. No team is safe from having this happen to them including the Blue Jays.
While the Jays have been victims of this, they’ve also received their fair share of accusations, criticisms, and attacks in orchestrating it as well. With the recent news of the Boston Red Sox stealing signs from the New York Yankees, is now the time to revisit this issue and possibly change the rules?
This week the New York Times published an article regarding the New York Yankees filing a complaint with the commissioner’s office of the MLB. The complaint accused their arch nemesis and rival, the Boston Red Sox, of sign stealing using Apple Watches. This matter was looked into and when questioned, the Red Sox team admitted they had! Yet, they defended their actions by pointing the finger back at the Yankees claiming they did the same thing but through their YES Television Network.
Ironically, the Jays played the Red Sox this week where they finished up a three game set winning the first while losing the last two. When asked about the Sox stealing signs, Jays catcher Raffy Lopez admitted something was “funky” and noticed things were a bit off during this past Monday’s game.
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The Jays could have made an argument contending the Red Sox were stealing signs especially after they were caught doing it but unless there was factual proof, as the NYY had and because sign stealing occurs and isn’t against the rules to do so, the Jays would be hard pressed to be taken seriously.
The Jays in years past have been accused of stealing signs, most recently in 2015 during the ALCS. Before that, it was in 2011, with reports of a man in a white shirt sitting in right field by the bullpen at Rogers Centre, relaying signs to the person holding the radar gun. Yet what many people and fans don’t realize is that many teams, if not most, steal signs; it’s part of the game and has been for decades.
The Yankees are obviously concerned because of how close they are to catching the Red Sox in the standings and realize that from now until the end of September every hit, every pitch, every bat, every game counts. NYY, as much as I hate to admit it, are right in their complaint against Boston. If the Jays were in the Yankees shoes and discovered they or any team were using technology to their advantage – something that is NOT allowed – fans, coaches, players and others alike would be up in arms, screaming about this situation especially if in the hunt for the post season.
In years past, I didn’t believe nor was convinced that stealing signs would affect the game significantly. However, throw in the latest technological gadgets and seeing how close the AL division currently is and things have suddenly shifted within the game.
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Sometimes rules are meant to be changed. One just needs to look at the slide rule that came out in 2016 as an example of this. Regarding the current situation between the Red Sox and the Yankees, this might be the time that MLB looks into changing the rules of the game when it comes to stealing signs.