CROSSING THE LINE
Stealing signs, or noticing when a pitcher is unintentionally tipping his pitches is not cheating, that’s just baseball. You try to get an advantage over your opponent any way you can.
But what Tejada was accused of is far different. He was accused of giving his opponent an advantage, and that’s a cardinal sin in baseball.
When I saw the story, I called a buddy of mine who played on the A’s at that time. He told me that there definitely was a concern about Tejada at the time, but doesn’t know for sure that anything happened.
He also told me a story about playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and about the culture there. Many young players live in poverty in the Dominican Republic. It’s a completely different way of living, and in an effort to find a way to the big leagues, I wouldn’t be surprised if friends helped each other out in that way. Sometimes their friendships might override the team concept because they are pulling for each other, in a way.
It is possible something like that could happen in the majors. That being said, I played 22 seasons in the big leagues and I honestly never heard of anyone doing it, whether Dominican players or players of any nationality. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.
I hope Tejada has never relayed signs to friends or countrymen on opposing teams. I hope if anything, he did it accidentally.
It’s like a catcher with a runner at second base. The catcher can’t move too quickly inside or outside or he’ll give away the location of the pitch. Something similar could have happened with Tejada.
Perhaps when he saw that a breaking ball was coming, he would take a step to his right to cover the hole. If a fastball was coming, maybe he took a step toward the middle. The other team could’ve picked up on that and adjusted accordingly.
I hope that’s what happened. But I know one thing: If I was on the mound and found out a teammate was giving signs to the hitters I was facing, there would have been a fight right then and there, and I would want that player off my team. And it wouldn’t matter if the score was 2-0 or 15-0, it would simply be unacceptable.
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