May 29, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (50) before delivering a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Orioles 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
I hated that Man in White story. For one, it was stupid, it read like someone that had never watched baseball wrote it. Actually, it read like someone was playing a game with the reporters, let's see how big a lie we can tell and see if the reports fall for it. Well, they did.
It makes no sense. How long do you think there is between when the catcher puts down a sign and the pitcher starts his wind up? Most times, it is almost instantaneous. Certainly there isn't enough time for someone to see the sign, radio it to someone else and then signal the batter. Add in that there are roughly 50 TV cameras at each game, and only a handful of people in the right field stands, you'd think one of those cameras would have found the man in white. Or the guy with the binoculars and the walkie talkie.
How is a lefty batter going to look to right field without anyone noticing? I watched Colby Rasmus' homer and his eyes never leave the pitcher, just like all batters. You can't change your focus from the pitcher to someone in the right field stands to the pitcher again in the time between the sign and the pitch. If they were getting signs, from the stands, you'd see their eyes move.
There are a few dozen other things wrong with the story, but let's face it, there was no logic involved.
That's not to say stealing signs hasn't been part of baseball for as long as there has been signs in baseball. Runners on second lean one way if the pitch is to be inside, the other if outside. Hands on the hips if it is fastball coming, hands on knees it is a curve. That's why teams use more complicated signs with a runner on second. Sometimes, in the history of baseball, a light on the scoreboard has been used. Light clicks on fastball. It is always something right in the view of the batter.
The real reason I hated the 'Man in White' story is that it gives sore loser pitchers a reason to whine after a game. Casual fans don't look at a story and say 'this doesn't make sense'. Most of the people that talk about the story have never read it. Fans of other teams talk about it without reading the story. .
Jason Hammel claims the Jays were hitting his off-speed stuff surprisingly well. What he doesn't mention is that all the hard hit balls were off fastballs. He doesn't mention that, even without runners on base, the Orioles were using a series of signs that would make it hard for the guy with binoculars to figure out the pitch quick enough to relay it to the man in white. But then all he wants to do is tell Oriole fans that it isn't his fault he got beat. All you have to do, if you figure the other team is stealing signs, is call a low and outside curve and throw an up and in fastball.
Jason, you really ought to take a loss like a man.