Thou Shall Not Steal (Signs)?By: Brendan Bilko
Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught on tape using binoculars in the top of the second inning during Monday’s game against the Rockies. The claim against him is that he was using said binoculars to steal signs from the opposition. My question is, who cares?
Every team steal signs. Countless times during games, SNY has provided close up shots of David Wright leading off of first base and peeking in at the catcher when he has a free second. I assume he’s checking to see if a changeup or breaking ball is coming so he knows it’s a good time to swipe a bag. Stealing signs. The Mets do it to.
Now there’s another argument stating that way of stealing signs is okay because it’s the “old fashioned way.” Met’s catcher Rod Barajas is one of the proponents of said argument and was quoted as saying such. However he then went on to say (via ESPN New York):
When you have coaches in the bullpen who are relaying signs — like you said, I’m not saying that he did it, I don’t know what’s going on — but in general, if that’s what was happening, I think it’s something that shouldn’t happen, and it’s not part of this game
Again I ask who cares? What’s the difference? By this logic ton’s of the unspoken rules in baseball could be broken based on a player’s ethical barometer. If you’re going to steal signs, go ahead and steal signs.
The other part of this whole thing that is just absolutely preposterous, is the thought that Billmeyer was then relaying the signs that he stole to Shane Victorino in the dugout via the bullpen phone. For this to even be remotely helpful, Victorino would essentially need to devise an entirely new set of signs for the rest of the team, so that a runner in scoring position could alert the batter of what’s coming. Seems a bit far fetched doesn’t it? Regardless, at this point we know the Phillies weren’t stealing signs anyway:
They were solving a murder.
Photoshop job by Joe Veix