The New York Times has a story today about the trend of making the low-man on the bullpen totem pole carry the bullpen supplies in some children’s backpack. Usually a girl’s backpack with My Little Pony or something on it. It’s a hazing thing, of course. Two observations:
First, I hate that the alpha and omega of baseball hazing seems to be equating ballplayers with little girls. That’s the joke, see. No ballplayer would want to be a little girl! Ugh, grow up.
Second, my eye-rolls notwithstanding, they’re probably not necessary. Because as everyone knows, the minute the New York Times picks up on a trend, it means that the trend has already passed. I’m sure they’re on to something totally new now.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.