Yesterday Leo Mazzone kinda sounded like he admitted that John Smoltz used to put pine tar on baseballs. Today he kinda sorta retracted it. His comments on WNNX radio in Atlanta today:
“We were trying to have some fun on the air and in trying to have some fun somebody took a story and ran with it and said that I said that Smoltzy cheated in the game,” he said. When asked directly if Smoltz cheated he said “absolutely not” and “that’s a bunch of bologna.” He also played the “my comments were taken out of context” card.
But he did say that pine tar was used at least a little bit:
“With something like pine tar, that’s not doctoring a baseball. That’s trying to get a grip when it’s cold. What’s wrong with that?”
I guess nothin’ if “everybody does it.” Right Leo?
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.