There’s a bit of an art to stealing signs in baseball. Get caught and somebody is at minimum catching a fastball to the ribs. Get caught more than once and you have a brawl on your hands.
That’s one of the many reasons why any matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals needs to be watched with a careful eye this upcoming season as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly ever so elegantly hinted the Cardinals may have been stealing signs during the National League Championship series.
“We felt like we had to be sure we kept an eye on their first-base coach and their third-base coach,” Mattingly said. “They’re the ones with the easiest way to steal signs. Josie’s a guy, at third, who’s always looking for my signs from our dugout.”
The Dodgers skipper made no qualms about the Cardinals beating the Dodgers outright, though, told ESPN Los Angeles he felt there may have been some shenanigans going on.
Fearing this, Mattingly ceased to send signs out during the NLCS, handing off that duty to somebody else.
Catcher A.J. Ellis also echoed the sentiment, citing the Red Birds’ batting average with runners in scoring position – numbers that do seem to make sense considering how much better the Cardinals hit, not only in the NLCS but during the regular season overall with a runner on second base, who could easily relay the signs.
That said – there’s no hard proof the Cardinals did any such thing and it’s all speculation at this point.