You can tell things are getting intense in the AL East when managers are ready to fight over allegedly stealing signs.

That’s exactly what happened Monday night in the first inning, when Yankees‘ manager Joe Girardi went ape crazy over Orioles‘ third-base coach Bobby Dickerson allegedly stealing signs.

This was the exchange between Girardi and Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter:

Apparently, Girardi was accusing Dickerson of stealing signs and relaying it to his team. But it gets even more interesting:

ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand had a little more to add, saying that some feel that stealing signs is just a part of the game.

(Lou) Piniella, 70, is now a YES Network commentator. In his time, he has done it all, from playing to coaching to managing. If the Orioles were trying to steal signs with Dickerson as the spy, Piniella says that is fair.

“It is part of the game,” Piniella said. “Both teams are vying for wild-card spots, are playing very important games to decide it. Basically, things get a little more heated.”

Pinella did add this one bit for teams who think their signs are being stolen—”You just switch them,” Piniella said of the catcher’s signs. “That is the easiest way to do it. You can have very simple signs the other side can’t get.”

Or you can keep some of the same signs, but have them mean something else. Have one finger down to mean changeup or slider, or two fingers to mean fastball. If it’s a sequence, simply change the sequence.

After a few times of getting it wrong, players are going to stop listening to the would-be thief.


Is it a Part of the Game?

Stealing signs is absolutely a part of the game. There’s a reason why some players look down when they’re taking warm-up swings in the batter’s box. They want to see if they can catch what the catcher is putting down.

Some people may not like it, but every team looks for ways to gain an advantage.

If you notice the infield shifted over for a lefty to pull, is it wrong for him to put down a bunt down the third-base line in an effort to get on base? Just like the team putting on the shift, the player batting is trying to gain an advantage.

That’s all stealing signs is—trying to gain an advantage.

If that’s something you’re against, figure out other ways for messages to get across. 

But scolding someone for trying to gain an advantage is laughable. That’s the whole point of baseball. The sport is all about advantages. And the team that generally takes advantage the most is more likely to win.

Lastly, if your team does the same thing, then you have no right to get mad about another team doing it to your team. You’re the last team in the world that should complain.

Ultimately, it’s a playoff race and things are going to get more heated than they normally would. But that’s baseball and that’s the nature of the beast.


Like what I had to say or think I’m full of it? Respond in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @chris_stephens6.

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