Espn: more blue jays stealing signs signs

Remember the man in white? The guy tipping of blue jays batters? Well espn has decided to throw another shrimp on the Barbie:

“But the numbers behind the charges aren’t so easily dismissed. In August, we found that the Blue Jays enjoyed a huge power boost from hitting at Rogers Centre in 2010, when they cracked an MLB-leading 257 home runs. Now that this season is in the books, we can make an even stronger case that something strange happened in Toronto.”

“Sometimes, however, home-team hitters gain a much bigger edge than their visitors. The most extreme cases since 1950: the 1951 and ’54 New York Giants, the 1956 Reds, the 2005 Rangers … and the 2010 Blue Jays. A season ago, in fact, Rogers didn’t just boost the Jays hitters’ HR/contact rate by 18.9 percentage points. Rogers also depressed the visiting hitters’ rate by 2.3 points. That gap of 21.2 points, the third-largest gap found in any park since 1950, is enough to give a Jays hitter about 10 extra homers in a 550-AB season. The result is so extreme (4.4 standard deviations beyond the historical average, for you statisticians out there) that there was about a 1 in 148,000 chance of it happening randomly.

It’s funny, though: In 2011, the Jays’ power edge at Rogers persisted at a lower level through the first half of the season, then all but disappeared — around the time that other teams started making news for changing up their signs in Toronto even with no men on base. By the end of the season, there was nearly zero difference between how Rogers affected home and visiting hitters.”

Ok baseball fans, say it ain’t so! I know you can and will

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December 3, 2011 10:28 pm

When you look at statistics selectively in small samples (and even half a season is a small sample in sports) you can be deceived and invent narratives.

December 3, 2011 11:47 pm

If they had this elaborate sign stealing system, why hasn’t ONE ex Jay come forward about it? I’m sure there must be one or two disgruntled ex Jays out there who would be willing, if it were true.

Ami Angelwings
December 4, 2011 1:44 am

Why would sign stealing change how opposing hitters hit? o_O

Ami Angelwings
December 4, 2011 1:47 am

In parks where opposing hitters hit very well in, are they giving signs to the other team now? xD “Here have our signs!”

Haven’t people been accusing the Jays of stealing signs for years though? Presumably teams haven’t been sitting around with signs that they think other teams can interpret until the 2nd half of this year right xD

I still don’t get this big hubbub about “stealing signs” >_> Even if teams DO do it… so what? I thought the point of HAVING signs is so the other side doesn’t know what you’re doing. Otherwise why not just shout “FAST BALL!”? xD It’s like if you suspect the enemy in a battle has hacked your code system, rather than changing it you yell at them for being lousy jerks xD

(and no it’s not just cuz I live in Toronto… I’ve always thought this was such a silly thing to get upset about xD )

Ami Angelwings
December 4, 2011 1:51 am

It’s too bad the Jays don’t have an example of a hitter who struggled terribly in Toronto and then found his hitting stroke again when he le-

oops. xD

December 4, 2011 1:58 am

As Jonah Keri pointed out when this story first went up on ESPN a few months ago, most of this has to do with Jose Bautista’s emergence. It just bothers people when they can’t explain something that happens especially something as extreme as Bautista’s development over the last two years.

It’s just unfortunate that ESPN faces no criticism for continuing to put something like this out there, I guess it’s easy when you don’t have to answer to many Jays fans living within the continental united states.

Ami Angelwings
December 4, 2011 3:04 am

How come the Jays can’t steal signs at other ballparks? You’d think that if we’re that good at it, we’d be sure to plant somebody in every stadium (especially since not all stadia are packed for every game, and there are plenty of teams that have trouble filling seats, they might LIKE having a coupe extra ticket sales because of those nasty cheatin’ Blue Jays xD )

Wouldn’t the easiest way to check if the Jays DID have a plant in the Skydome btw be to try to buy those seats and if they’re sold out for EVERY GAME no matter how early you buy them, it’d be suspicious? Maybe opposing teams should buy out all the seats in the Skydome just to soothe their paranoia xD

Ami Angelwings
December 4, 2011 3:09 am

@Daniel exactly. And forget disgruntled players. Wouldn’t any player or coach or scout leaving this team be eager to let their new team know that the Jays have an advantage of them whenever they play? -_- Or do the Jays employ sorcerers to wipe their minds?

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
December 4, 2011 8:25 am

So it was the third highest since 1950, but no mention that the two seasons by other teams which were worse had nothing untowards directed at them. I recognize this is even more in the past, but how do they explain the two which were worse, or an anomolies occur?

If the Jays did come up with a good system, good on them. The game of baseball is unique and players have been looking for a competitive edge since the game began. While it isn’t right, how different is this from a player standing at 2nd seeing the signs and tipping off his teammate at the plate. Unless MLB comes out and penalizes the Jays, who cares what ESPN says.

To me a bigger joke is the new ballpark in NewYork which casual popflies to right field leave the park. This bastardization of the stats seems worse to me.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
December 4, 2011 8:54 am

the most annoying part of this story is that ESPN hasn’t bothered to go to a block of Jays home games and document the movements of people in the seats behind the pitcher. if the Jays are relaying signs to the batter then it should be discernible to others as well. it’s not like those seats are packed most nights of the week.

as Daniel notes, the most damning part of this story is the complete lack of corroboration from anyone in the game. we saw how fast the chicken and beer story got out in Boston. There have been no anonymous clubhouse sources confirming ESPN’s story. that’s pretty telling.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
December 4, 2011 9:01 am

TSM — is this week the debut of Tim & Sid on the FAN?

December 4, 2011 4:02 pm

Prince Fielder has narrowed his choices to 3 teams.
1. The Brewers
2. The Jays
3. The Rangers

Reports are saying that the Jays are the front runners!!

December 4, 2011 10:19 pm

Brad, not likely to happen.

Prince and Scott Boras want (1) a contract with too many years (8 to 10 years seems to be the consistent rumour) and (2) too much money.

AA and Beeston are too smart (I hope) to go down that road.

Ami Angelwings
December 5, 2011 1:02 am

I’ll believe it when it happens xD

This sounds like Boras trying to drive up the price for his client. “Look, the Blue Jays might have him, you guys don’t want to fall behind now do you?” And to the teams outside that list “you can get back in the running if you offer up some more cash!”

I’m actually okay with 8 years. That’ll put him at 34 when it runs out. Bautista’s 31 next year, just to put things in perspective.

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