Blue Jays Catcher Wants Those ESPN “Clowns” To Know His Team Didn’t Steal Signals
Earlier today, ESPN came out with a potential bombshell of a report: several MLB players believe the Toronto Blue Jays are stealing signs at home, and some metrics suggest Blue Jays hitters enjoyed an abnormally large home-field advantage last season. We know what you thought when you read this: "Wow! Something that makes the Blue Jays interesting besides Jose Bautista!"
But you also might have thought, "Wow..not cool, Blue Jays." Sign-stealing is dirty pool, and if the Blue Jays were truly doing it on as large a scale as some players (like the opposing pitcher who cursed at Bautista and threatened to hit him in the head if he saw Jays hitter do any more of the alleged sign-stealing) seem to believe, their organization wouldn't look good. Indeed, many Blue Jays said they'd never partake in such an act. We'll start with Bautista himself:
"First of all, I don't even know how you can do that. And second of all, it's obviously something that's not legal in the game. We do not cheat."
The Blue Jays' general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, concurs:
"That never happened, will never happen, not even a possibility. If it did happen, we'd be winning a lot more games at home … I think it's a nonstory because no one ever has picked up the phone and called me about it. It's never been an issue, and I would expect them to do so if it was."
Yes, the Blue Jays are in the unenviable position of defending themselves by pointing to their own underwhelming performance (the Jays were 46-35 at home last year vs. 39-42 on the road, and as of today, their 2011 home [28-27] and road [30-30] records are nearly identical).
But maybe the best denial of the report came via Twitter, from Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia. He wasted no time getting down to business:
Just read the dumbest article on ESPN about us getting signs? I'm hitting 200 and we get signs at home, that makes sense? #clowns
And he continued. And continued. Of course, Arencibia's numbers alone (and he's actually hitting slightly below .200 at home at the moment) don't exactly tell the whole story, and again, we have to say we're a little weirded out by how freely the Jays are throwing around their own unimpressive performances as evidence they couldn't be stealing signs - even if it's the best evidence they have.
We can't say for sure whether it's been happening - and if so, how many players were doing it - but whether or not it is, there's substantial smoke surrounding this whole affair...bad news for the Blue Jays, and considering the entire existence of any AL East team not named the Rays, Red Sox or Yankees is pretty much one long string bad news at this point, a development the franchise doesn't need.