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MLB: Stealing Something Other Than Bases  Share

13 May 2010

 As it is approaching the long days of summer, and there are 162 Major League Baseball games, folks have to find something other than what actually happens on the field to discuss.  On Monday the 10th of May, the Philadelphia Phillies were accused of “stealing signs” from the Colorado Rockies.  Phillies bullpen Coach, Mick Billmeyer was caught using binoculars to look at a Colorado Rockies catcher while Phillies hitters were at bat.  Coach Billmeyer didn’t have anything to say about it, but the Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel said that his coach was actually checking out Phillies catchers and their defensive stance.  He also tried to push off the allegations by saying, “Would we try to steal somebody's signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don't do that. We're not going to let a guy stand up there in the bullpen with binoculars looking in. We're smarter than that.”  Video evidence seems to indicate otherwise.  MLB’s commissioner, Bud Selig told the Phillies to knock it off, but acknowledges teams have been trying to steal signs since they existed.
One Liner: “Mick needs glasses, not binoculars if he can’t figure out what a Phillies uniform looks like.” (In reference to the fact that Coach Billmeyer claimed he was watching his own catcher’s defensive stance while the video looks like he was watching the Colorado Rockies’ catchers).

The Basics

Signals in MLB: All MLB teams use signals to pass information to their players.  It looks like a goofy form of sign language.  Every team’s language is different.  Some signals are sent from the Manager to the coaches on the field, then to the batter.  In addition, the catcher signals the pitcher the type of pitch to throw, and how to throw it.  Opposing teams have been trying to figure out these signals, or “steal” them since signals existed.  Obviously, if they can figure out what the signals mean, they essentially can figure out what the other team is doing.  While stealing signs itself is not illegal, it is frowned upon.  It is, however, illegal to use electronic equipment to steal signs.


Signals or Signs: A sort of sign language used in baseball to pass information from the coaches to players on the field.

Manager (MLB): Essentially the head coach.

Bullpen: Place in the ball park where the pitchers warm up and wait to be called into the game (like a bench in football).

At Bat: When a batter is at home plate awaiting pitches to hit.

MLB Commissioner: Currently Bud Selig.  He is essentially the CEO of MLB.  He is picked by a vote of all the owners of the major league teams.