December 20, 2014

Phillies Get Hand Slapped for Stealing Signs

So that’s how the Phillies do it…they steal the catcher’s signs! 

That’s the interesting little nugget that appeared in Steve Dilbeck’s Dodgers Blog over at the LA Times this morning.  Apparently Philadelphia’s bullpen coach, Mick Billmeyer, was caught on camera looking through a pair of binoculars, trying to read the signs of Colorado Rockies catcher Miguel Olivio.

Per Steve Dilbeck:

“The Phillies cheat! Well, not exactly cheat, but doing something that at a minimum is generally frowned upon, and at a maximum is considered breaking one of the game’s biggest unwritten rules. Stealing signs.”

Steve cites FOX’s Hall of Fame writer Tracy Ringolsby, who states that the Phillies have been issued a warning. Per Ringolsby:

“We have looked at the video and talked to the Phillies about the actions of their bullpen coach,’’ a Major League Baseball official told

“We found the evidence inconclusive on what was being done, but we have spoken to the Phillies about the situation, and the umpires have been told to be on full alert as to what is going on.’’

Ringolsby goes on to say that there actually may be a second complaint about the Phillies on this same issue, and the other team is the New York Mets.

Look, we all know that professional coaches and players look to get any edge they can over their opponents (remember Bill Belichick’s sideline spying scandal?).

Jeffri Chadiha at had a great article back in 2007 showing how far teams will push the limits on what’s acceptable:

“Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards uses a familiar message to end the speech he gives his team on Saturday nights before games. Although he can be notoriously loquacious, Edwards refrains from drawing upon predictable clichés or gimmicky references in such moments. Instead, he delivers a brief, pointed statement that leaves his players knowing exactly what their responsibilities are. “I tell them to do whatever it takes to get ready to play,” Edwards said. “As long as it’s legal, I want them to do it.”

The operative phrase here is “as long as it’s legal.” Although Edwards isn’t encouraging his players to break rules, he does emphasize that they need to understand a simple tenet of survival in the NFL: Gamesmanship, even if it falls into the category of cheating, is a way of life. In other words, if a man isn’t looking for a way to gain an advantage, he’s really courting plenty of heartache. Losing in the NFL is bad enough. To lose without using everything at your disposal, well, that’s a fate nobody wants to accept.”

Now back to the issue at hand.  A presumebly bored bullpen coach trying to check out Colorado’s signs isn’t that big a deal in my book, but the fact that he’s using a pair of binoculars?  Come on, my man, you deserve to get caught if you’re going to be so obvious about it!

Dodgers Phlat against Phillies; Split Series

Man, you could almost taste it – the Dodgers had a chance to rob the Phillies of their consecutive record of road series wins…and then Philly pulls out some great starting pitching whilst also bringing the big stick to the party. No es bueno.

Antonio Bastardo, who probably has the greatest name in Major League Baseball, took it to the Dodgers this time. Through two starts, he has a 2.45 ERA and a 9/2 K/BB ratio in 11 innings. Not bad for a guy who has played only two games in the majors.

The Dodgers still have the best record in baseball at 39-20 and lead the NL in batting average, runs and on-base percentage so they can’t complain too much. However, if there is one gripe it’s that they have delivered only seven runs in 46 innings against opponents’ starting pitchers over their last seven games. The bats only seem to come alive once the releivers are in – something that’s not sustainable.

Oh well, the Lakers won – does that count for anything? Nah, didn’t think so.

Larry Bowa and Davey Lopes Go Home

Like you guys, I’m psyched for this series against the Fightin’ Phils!  A deeper analysis of the NLCS will be coming in the next day or so, but needless to say, it’s going to be damn tough – especially when you take into account the numerous match-up problems (something that the Cubs couldn’t offer up).  In the meantime, I wanted to highlight three guys that are probably more psyched than all of us for this series: Larry Bowa, Davey Lopes (1972-81) and Milt Thompson (1996) – all coaches for the opposition.  Josh Rawitch offers up the following facts on Bowa’s career over at Inside the Dodgers, plus a few additional tidbits on other ties between the two clubs:

– Remember Charlie Manuel as a Dodger?  He was a reserve outfielder with the club for parts of the ’74 and ’75 seasons

– Fan favorite OF Jayson Werth and reliever Rudy Seanez both played for Big Blue recently (2004-06 and 1994-95, 2007, respectively)

– Dodgers Chief Operating Officer Dennis Mannion worked for the Phillies from 1982-97

– Third base coach Larry Bowa not only was a HOF legend as a player, bur managed the club from 2001-04

Now our regular readers know that we love to see what the opposition thinks about the Dodgers, so following is a link to The Phillies Zone, a blog by The Philadelphia Daily News’  Todd Zolecki.  I’m recommending that we all keep an eye on it throughout the series, as Todd offers up a ton of great info and links.

Finally, we’re working on getting a Philly blogger to post on periodically throughout the series with his or her thoughts.  While we all bleed Dodger Blue over here, we thought it would be interesting to get a view of the game from the opposing press box (we’ll let you know if we get a reciprocal offer).

Series analysis coming later tonight…

Jayson Werth in the Mix with the Phillies

Jayson Werth was once considered one of the promising “kids” in the Dodgers’ farm system. After seven years in the minors and wrist surgery in 2006, the former Dodger signed with the Phillies. He played solid ball and is in the mix to be a starter in 2008. The Philadelphia Daily News reports that Charlie Manuel thinks Werth has 30 HR potential and is one of the keys to their upcoming season as the team looks to replace Aaron Rowand’s power. I’m not sure about that, but we’ll certainly be rooting for Jason to have a breakthrough season.