Most of the focus on the “home run sculpture” in left-center field at the Marlins’ new ballpark has been on the garish look, but multiple players have expressed concern that it could also make things difficult on left-handed hitters trying to, you know, see the baseball.
For instance, Greg Dobbs told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
If it is an issue, it can no longer be there. I won’t be the only left-handed hitter saying something. If other teams have a problem with it, they’re definitely going to voice their concern to the league.
And now here’s John Buck:
It’s kind of my job to scope those things out. It might be close. It might be all right. I don’t know. We’ll see. I think for left-handed batters it might be trouble.
Marlins president David Samson predictably said it’s “not an issue whatsoever.” Tomorrow night is the first exhibition game at Marlins Park, so if the hitters have trouble picking up the ball against University of Miami pitchers you can expect it to become “an issue.”
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.