Thursday, May 13, 2010

Couch Time: Stealing Signs

A lot of talk yesterday centered around the controversial binoculars and the possibility of Philadelphia stealing signs.

I sensed a lot of anger and bitterness from Rockies fans over the situation. Not only Rockies fans, but I read many comments from Mets fans and others piling on to accuse the Phillies of cheating.

On the other side, the Phillies faithful got defensive and lashed out with the predictable "durrr we beat you, you're just a bunch of whiners, we're better than you" school yard crap.

That included the manager of the Phillies, Charlie Manual, who has proven the "any dope can manage talented players to success theory" to be correct for many years now. I've never considered him to be a great or even average manager. I thought that was proven rather convincingly when Clint Hurdle managed circles around him in the 2007 NLDS.

Anyway, that's fine. All of us would get defensive if the same things were said about our favorite team, so we can't say too much. And you know that's true.

My thoughts on this?

Yes, the Rockies absolutely did the right thing to point out the binoculars and have them removed from the bullpen. That was dumb for the Phillies to have those out there, and anytime you suspect something fishy is going, there's obviously no reason to not say anything.

But do I think the Phillies were cheating?

No, I honestly don't.

I mean what kind of competitive edge could they have gained? It's not like there was a way to relay the message to the batter in between the time the sign goes down and the pitching starts his delivery. And to be quite honest, if the Rockies signs can be stolen and relayed that easily, maybe they're asking to have them to stolen. Maybe they have to work on being more difficult to figure out.

Besides that, Philadelphia did most of their offensive damage after the binoculars were gone. So it's not like we as Rockies fans can honestly say they cheated to win the game, or that we can say the Phillies need an unfair advantage to beat the Rockies.

That doesn't just sound like sour grapes... that is sour grapes.

If any Rockies players or coaches are buying into the whole sign stealing thing as an excuse... well, that would make me very concerned about the fragility of their psyche. Just play the game and execute, as Miguel Olivo stated after the game yesterday.

In summation...

It's a story, yes, because the Phillies were dumb enough to use binoculars at all, but it's an overblown story.   I honestly don't think they'd be dumb enough to get caught "cheating" or breaking unwritten rules that easily.

If I'm wrong, well, then the Phillies are a sad and pathetically run baseball team.  I won't dismiss that possibility completely, but I'm not buying it either.