Sunday’s game between the Cubs and Rockies was an entertaining one, featuring some stellar defensive plays from Albert Almora, Jr. and a handful of dingers. Also, we have a middle-infielder beef!
During the bottom of the third, Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu and Cubs shortstop Javier Báez spent most of the half-inning antagonizing each other. LeMahieu was standing on second after reaching base on a fielder’s choice, at which point Báez became convinced that the Rockies infielder was stealing signs. Báez, not wanting his pitcher to deal with batters who knew what pitch was coming, developed an elegant solution to the problem:
Childish though it may seem, this is actually a ... pretty good idea? If we accept that stealing signs is the sort of gamesmanship that’s inextricable from the game itself, then I think we can agree that haughtily standing in front of the guy trying to steal signs is an equally inventive bit of gamesmanship. To make things even better, Baez admits that he was talking shit during the standoff. From the Chicago Tribune:
“After (Nolan Arenado) struck out, I turned to the outfield and said, ‘See the difference when they don’t know the signs,’ and then (LeMahieu) said something,” Baez said. “He told me, ‘Then change the signs.’”
Baez replied to LeMahieu: “Why are you telling me? Tell me to my face. Are you giving the signs?”
“I’m really mad about it, but I’m really smart,” Baez said. “We won the game and the series.”
I enjoy anything that turns professional athletes into children bickering on a playground. I watch baseball to see strong guys hitting huge dongs and throwing sizzling fastballs, but also to see angry players yell, “I wasn’t stealing signs, bro!”