Baseball is a wonderful game. No, it really is. It gets criticized for being boring and too slow moving. But the speed of the game allows for a chess match like no other and with a code that most outsiders aren’t privy too. The Twins and Tigers series had some of the typically hidden aspects at its best.
The video below came out and it shows what is believed to be Joe Mauer signaling pitch calls to batter Jason Kubel. The Twins of course deny this and laugh it off. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it and draw your own conclusions.
I think it’s great. Sign stealing happens all the time. There is nothing wrong with it and if the opposing team down’t sniff it out and stop them, that’s too bad. In this case we see Gerald Laird picking up on it and changing the signs.
This isn’t the first time signs have been stolen against the Tigers. I saw it against the Royals on the night of the Ernie Harwell game. Another friend saw it against the Indians and it resulted in Shin Soo Choo lacing a double. I’d guess and hope that the Tigers had done this at some point as well.
The Twins have nothing to apologize for (or even deny it if true). It’s baseball.
Yesterday there was a brouhaha where things got a little chippy. Denard Span got hit with a breaking ball that slipped. Marcus Thames got hit with a breaking ball that slipped. Both were most likely unintentional. Thames also got buzzed later on by a breaking ball, and he took exception to the height of the pitch…then some other stuff happened.
In a situation I misread, Jose Mijares threw the ball behind Adam Everett. I couldn’t understand a reason why Mijares would throw at Everett so I figured he just lost control of the pitch. It turns out though that Mijares went after Everett because the Tigers ran to get guys in scoring position through “defensive indifference.” I’ve never heard of someone taking such exception to this, but the Twins and Tigers players knew exactly what was going on. The fact that the Tigers bench got warned rightly set Leyland off.
What I really respect about the Twins here is how they handled the situation afterward. They apologized for Mijares. They called him out. Gardenhire called Leyland and said Jeremy Bonderman did the right thing in plunking Delmon Young didn’t get pissed at Bonderman, he got mad at his own guy. Joe Mauer even said Bonderman did it the right way (I don’t agree with the Twinkie Town blog who said Bonderman was going after Young’s knees, I think he was trying to keep the ball down and Bondo’s control hasn’t been good enough since coming off the DL to go after his knees).
The code may be stupid and barbaric. I can’t really argue against it. What I love though is the complex game-within-the-game that takes place night in and night out that we as fans typically don’t even see or only know a part of the story.