The Toronto Blue Jays find themselves in the middle of a sports media maelstrom after being accused of concocting an elaborate ruse to steal pitching signs from their opposition at Rogers Centre.
If the Jays are stealing signs, then they’re doing a terrible job. If you’re going to cheat, then pull out all the stops – think Second World War Enigma code-breaking type stuff — not having some nefarious man in white raise or lower his arms to differentiate fastballs from breaking pitches.
Plus, the team is only two games above .500. If you have the answers to an exam, why would you only give yourself a barely passing grade?
A casual fan may look at the accusations and see a kernel of truth. As a baseball player, let me tell you the story is a complete fabrication.
From the time a catcher puts down his signal, there are — at most — five seconds before a pitcher releases the ball.
In five seconds, we are supposed to believe the catcher’s signal is viewed by a second gunman on the grassy knoll. It’s then relayed to the man in white, who gives his signal to the batter more than 400 feet away. The batter acknowledges the signal and is then able to hit a ball travelling more than 90 miles an hour or a pitch with 16 inches of break out of the park.
A major league hitter is focused on the ball from the moment a pitcher starts his windup. How in the hell is he going to look for the man in white’s signal and then try to hit a ball when it’s already halfway to the plate?
Imagine hitting a golf ball, but you can only look at the ball after your swing is on a downward plane. It’s impossible.
I can’t believe this story still has legs. Next week, we’ll be hearing about the unicorn that lives underneath the bleachers along the third-base line.
Mike Arsenault is a pitcher with the London Majors and freelance reporter with Metro.