Remember how the Phillies got caught spying on the Rockies catcher with binoculars? Well, that’s nothing compared to the apparent “home version” of how they cheat at Citizens Bank Park.

In 2007, it came to the Mets’ attention through several former Phillies players then playing with the Mets that the Phillies use a complex form of cheating at Citizens Bank Park involving a center field camera.  The camera is used to steal signs, which are then relayed to the hitter while he’s in the batter’s box.

After a 2007 formal complaint on this matter, the league concluded that there is in fact a camera in Philly’s center field, but that it does not provide a live feed into the dugout.

That is not how the scheme works, according to a NY Daily News article from 2007 which states:

“Allegedly, the camera in center field provides footage to a video room. A coach stationed in the corner of the Phillies’ dugout has a buzzer in his pocket. Based on the signal he receives from the video room, he then yells a code to the batter – such as his first name – to relay what pitch is coming.”

Imagine you are the buzzer man in the dug out. It buzzes twice. You yell out to your hitter, “good eye out there.” He knows it’s a breaking pitch while the pitcher goes into his motion.  It’s a very fast scheme and it would also allow the Phillies to quickly adjust a change in sign calling.  Impressive.

More proof that the Phillies do this occurred during a 2007 Mets series when one Phillies player casually remarked to a Met during the game, “What’s up with the sophisticated signs?” The Mets had just employed a sign change mid-game. It was this incident which prompted the Mets to issue a formal complaint based on what they’d heard from their own former Phillies players.

Now that you know how Philly may cheat at home, doesn’t it make the binocular incident more interesting? After all, it is essentially the “road version” of the scheme that they employ at Criminals Bank Park.

If all this is true, it really puts a spin on Johan’s last outing in Philly. It was the worst performance of his career. Do you remember that, after the game, it was reported that the Mets felt he was tipping his pitches, or Philadelphia knew which pitches were coming?  Sounds like a polite way of saying “we know what you’re up to.”

It turns out Charlie Manuel has a long history of being accused of cheating, going back to 1999 when he was with the Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox have complained twice, the Dodgers once, and the Mets twice.  Last year, during a World Series game in Philadelphia, the casual fan had no idea why the Yankees catcher took an unprecedented number of trips to the mound.  It has been speculated that this was either to change signs or go sign-less.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a legendary professional wrestling bad guy, spoke on behalf of all sports villains when he’d recite his wrestling character’s motto, “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”

Charlie “The Body” Manuel.

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