You may have seen Keith Olbermann tweet this picture of Brett Weber, who regularly charts velocity and pitch type from behind home plate for the Yankees, holding up four fingers towards the field during the season opener Thursday against the Tigers.
It seemed more weird than anything else at the time, but it turns out that MLB rules prohibit team employees from using hand signals to communicate pitch types or speeds to players. Who knew?
According to the Associated Press, Brian Cashman confirmed that Joe Garagiola Jr., the senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for MLB, spoke this morning with Yankees vice president and assistant general manager Jean Afterman about the issue. Cashman feels that he has a reasonable explanation for Weber’s actions.
“The scoreboard went down. He was relaying after the fact with his fingers to some hitters who wanted it what the velocity was, pitches to the opposing teams’ hitter, to the guy on deck,” Cashman said. “There’s nothing to hide. We’ve got nothing to hide.”
Furthermore, Cashman said that Weber wears headphones during home games so he can communicate with the scoreboard operator in order to relay pitch information that can be displayed in center field.
Oh, and if you’re calling the Yankees “cheaters,” Cashman has a message for you.
“It’s probably more work talking about than it’s worth,” Cashman said. “The psychotics that obsessed about it all day yesterday, I think we all did ’em a favor by keeping them off the street and preventing them from hurting others.”
For what it’s worth, Weber is not behind home plate for today’s game against the Tigers. That means they’ll have to find some other way to win. You know, like rely on the $200 million worth of talent they have on the field.