Blue Jays manager contacts MLB over alleged Yankees cheating
Blue Jays manager John Schneider is willing to admit there can be a fine line between skill and cheating.
Meanwhile, New York Yankees hitter Aaron Judge is outraged that his name is even mentioned in a possible nefarious action.
Such was the setting Tuesday at Rogers Center as both teams arrived for the second game of a four-game series between heated AL East rivals.
Schneider remained in his position not to buy into the statement Judge spat out Monday night and dismissed his stare at the Yankees’ dugouts by glaring at the chirping on his team.
Of course, the fact that it happened just minutes before his massive home run on Monday night heightened the suspicions of Jays officials. In fact, the team was so convinced something was wrong that they shared their concerns with Major League Baseball, concluding that the Yankees were illegally stealing signs.
“I’m not interested in buying post-game media,” Schneider said Tuesday when asked about Judge’s denial of the post-game allegations. “It’s a really accomplished hitter who won the MVP title last year and I know he’s all about business and he wants to win… I just thought it was a little funny that he was worried about his shelter when he was in the batsman’s box.”
Meanwhile, Judge seemed quite upset at the suggestion that he had cheated, saying he had “chosen words” for Jays broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez, who were really just doing their job and making it clear by commenting, what they saw.
“To be honest, I don’t understand why it’s a story,” Judge said Tuesday. “I can understand why their broadcasters can say whatever they want when they want to make a deal about it.
“I have a few apt words for that, but I’ll keep that a secret.”
Still, Judge was clearly upset at the mere thought of his reputation being questioned.
“Absolutely,” said Judge. “Especially given the things that have happened in this game, with cheating and the stuff being thrown away, I’m not happy about that.”
In neither of the two teams is that really the case and how delicious is that?
The Jays first became aware of the incident after the game when Schneider had a chance to watch the Sportsnet broadcast, which showed close-ups of Judge’s eyes fixed on the Yankees dugout. Shulman and Martinez noticed the sight and alerted viewers, but certainly refrained from calling Judge a cheater.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who was once Shulman’s broadcast partner at ESPN, had no problem with the comment.
“I didn’t necessarily see the insinuation,” Boone said. “I felt like they were trying to be careful and watch the game and watch what they see. But everyone around the game understands that nothing is going on.”
Well, apparently not everyone.
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Schneider concedes it’s possible Toronto pitcher Jay Jackson tipped the pitch. But he still doesn’t understand why Judge appeared to be staring warily into the Yankees’ dugout just before his mammoth 462-foot home run.
The Toronto coach’s main concern seems to be that the Yankees’ coaches weren’t in the right position and may have allowed them to see things they perhaps shouldn’t have seen.
“If things are picked up by people who aren’t where they should be, then that’s where a line should be drawn,” Schneider said. “There are boxes on the pitch for a reason. If it’s a whopping 30 feet that you’re not in your seat, you can put one and one together a little.
“We spoke to the league about this this morning to make sure what’s fair is fair.”
Schneider said MLB responded that the league was aware of the situation and “will pay attention to it.”
When it comes to stealing signs, Schneider knows it’s part of the game. The Jays’ obvious concern, however, is the manner in which this information is obtained.
“The integrity of the game is so important and people are always trying to look for competitive advantage,” Schneider said. “When you do things in front of the public, you have to be able to correct them. If it’s done fairly, it’s part of the game.
“Anything that happens right on the pitch is totally fair.”
The fact that MLB is now in adds another layer to the story as one of the better rivalries in the game has added another chapter. Two competitive teams participating intensely in the cause certainly increase interest.
The Jays have privately wondered for some time whether the Yankees were gaining an unfair advantage — through nefarious means or otherwise. And now that it’s out in the open, the intrigue only gets bigger.
Even Boone’s firing was an interesting twist, as it contrasted with Schneider’s view.
“I think most people in the know know there’s nothing,” Boone said. “I’m sure that will be the prevailing wisdom as it unfolds. I understand the noise around it, but all of us who are in the game understand that there is nothing going on here.”
Nothing illegal? Possibly. But the rivalry between the two teams is very much alive and smoldering.
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