Bautista fingers White SoxPen accused Jays of sign stealing
By QMI Agency
|Blue Jays batter Jose Bautista at the plate against the Pirates at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., June 28, 2011. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)
Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista revealed Wednesday that he was confronted by members of the Chicago White Sox bullpen last season over alleged sign stealing.
A story published in ESPN magazine cites an unnamed pack of relief pitchers who claim the Blue Jays have been stealing pitching signals since 2010 in order to pad their batting totals at the Rogers Centre.
The article goes on to say that the relievers began yelling accusations at Bautista from the visitor's bullpen, located behind the wall in right field. Bautista confirmed he was hounded by the White Sox pen over sign stealing early last season.
"I walked over and I asked them what the commotion was about and they said what is quoted in the article," the all-star outfielder told Sportsnet.ca.
ESPN's article claims the relievers spotted "man dressed in white sitting in the blue centre-field seats seemingly signaling the pitches the visiting pitcher was throwing against the Jays ... the man was raising his arms over his head for curveballs, sliders and changeups." If the man didn't raise his arms, it would indicate a fastball.
"This is bogus, this is fictitious, this is made up," Bautista said of the accusations.
Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos vehemently denied in a press conference Wednesday that his ball club is stealing pitching signs from opponents.
"This whole thing is stupid. It's unbelievable that we're sitting here to even talk about this." said Anthopoulos. "There's zero truth to this."
"I just wish people would look at the common sense component first and say, 'Is this really realistic?' "
ESPN says it began looking into allegations the Jays were stealing signs last September after Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay "noted that catcher Jorge Posada was throwing down multiple signs with nobody on base against the Jays and even mentioned the possibility that someone in the outfield stands could be relaying signs."
Apparently, Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy added his voice the the conspiracy this past June.
Then, just last month, Yankees catcher Russell Martin — a Canadian-born major leaguer — said he thought Toronto was stealing signs from second base, ESPN reported.
Accompanying the ESPN story are several charts which suggest the Jays batters gained advantage from the stolen signs.