ESPN’s Amy K. Nelson– who, it needs to be remembered, is only the co-author of yesterday’s controversial piece (of shit) about sign stealing (“The Article Which Shall Not Be Linked,” as Parkes has deemed)– is being painted in some corners today as a dogged reporter, generally very well-liked among writers in the game, who has been deluged by people “personally attacking someone for their gender,” as fellow ESPNer Molly Knight says, or by people “confusing ‘bad journalism’ with ‘I don’t like your conclusions,’ ” as Keith Law claims.

[I, on the other hand, would paint her as the clown who wrote the absurdly soft Luke Scott profile that Deadspin brilliantly and rightly savaged earlier this season-- which I totally didn't remember she did until it was pointed out by @HumAndChuck.]

“Check out the sexist shit has to hear tonight, and tell me that female sportswriters are treated equally,” says Esquire and Grantland (and Canadian!) writer Chris Jones (aka @MySecondEmpire). “Fucking shameful,” he adds.

And he’s right. And I guess I’ve been guilty of it too– not so much, at least in my mind, because of anything profane or intentionally over-the-top (that’s just what we do around here), but I do concede that yesterday she was more the focus of my ire than co-author Peter Keating (and definitely the focus of commenters and fans who I quoted and retweeted, and maybe shouldn’t have), and if I’m being honest, it’s probably because she’s an easier target.

I’d like to think that also partly it’s because she’s more visible (I mean, like… who the fuck is Peter Keating?), but either way, that’s completely unfair: Keating, too, needs to be called out for the shoddy work on display in the article.

And make no mistake, I think Law is wrong. [Note to Assholes: write that down] There is plenty to pick on here, the absolute least of which is one of the authors’ gender.

The next least of which is the use of anonymous sources. Sure, they may have offered little-to-nothing of value– I mean, we’ve all heard allegations like these around the Jays before, we all couldn’t have been so naïve as to not raise an eyebrow over tales of Cito Gaston’s vaunted ability to pick up pitchers’ “tells,” and we all probably can completely agree with Ozzie Guillen when he bluntly says that “if you have stolen signs, you have a dumb catcher”– but anonymous sources are vitally important to journalism. If ESPN thinks sign stealing from outside the lines is a big enough story to investigate, there’s absolutely nothing wrong or journalistically out-of-bounds with getting information from Chicago White Sox relievers (or ex-White Sox relievers *cough* Bobby Jenks *cough*) who are too chickenshit to come forward.

Where things get problematic, as I thought I’d managed to convey somewhere within yesterday’s pissy shitstain-calling rant, is the way that Nelson and Keating have tried to amateurishly corroborate the stories they’ve been told by giving a misleading and incomplete statistical picture of what’s been going on. They’ve padded the story with anecdotes from this season when the data they used was from 2010; they’ve not used other teams’ stats to provide context; they’ve completely failed to mention that only some players experienced the extreme home-road splits they cite; and they’ve done zero accounting for the potential of statistical outliers beyond their vague covering-our-backs conclusion paragraph, of the kind that would make a high school English teacher blanch. [On that last point, I mean, for fuck sakes, as @awlang points out, in the graph they use right in the goddamn article there's as big a spike in the Jays' mysti-fucking-fying HR rate on contact in 2006 as there was in 2010. So... are those the only years they cheated in, or is the 2010 number maybe just a reasonably normal fucking fluctuation????]

“By themselves, these numbers are circumstantial evidence,” they write. “Unsupported by data, the four players’ accounts might describe a scheme of uncertain impact. And without proper context, the Yankees’ decision to mask their signs could be chalked up to paranoia. But together, the numbers, the stories and the actions indicate one certainty: Every pitch to a Blue Jay in Toronto is worth watching.”

Toronto Blue Jays Baseball: Come Watch Us Suck At Cheating!

No, but seriously, that’s great… except that the statistical element they’ve given us is completely incoherent. Y’know, unless you suspend your massive disbelief about the absurd, papered-over core narrative of the story: that the Jays started a form of cheating (according to the data) in 2010 (even though, as Tom Tango points out, “2005-2008 is where Rogers was the huge advantage for the [Jays'] hitters, averaging 96 points of OPS advantage. … 2009-2011? Nothing in comparison.”), which did nothing to help them in the standings, so then they stopped (according to the data) in 2011. Um… unless they didn’t (as the 2009 and 2011 anecdotes imply).

And since the thumbnail image on the video at the top of the story is of baseball’s out-of-nowhere best hitter, Jose Bautista, since he’s also pictured farther down in the piece (the only image of a Jays player in it), and since a key part of the story involves him being chirped for stealing signs, it doesn’t take an Amy K. Nelson and Peter Keating to understand what the implication here is. Unfortunately, that’ll require more suspension of disbelief, too: Bautista has hit more home runs on the road this year than at home, and has a 1.030 OPS outside Rogers Centre. Plus, while he did have some extreme home-road splits in 2010, he was still very good on the road (.879 OPS).

Attempting to make this story about anything bigger than the anonymous accusations from White Sox relievers is misleading, irresponsible and unfair– and judging by the hand-washing that goes on in the final paragraph, the authors know this– as is the selective use of stats to support the relievers’ story, at the exclusion of a bigger picture of data that would have completely muddied things.

Of course, the story would have fallen in on itself, and probably not been worth writing at all, had the authors better acknowledged the fact that the data doesn’t really bear out the conclusion they’re attempting to lead us to. Because of that, I’d say that journalistically, by any definition you want to use, they’ve cut corners here in a manner that’s completely unacceptable. In other words, the article is a turd sandwich of a hackneyed piece of shit snowjob. [Note: How's that for a vague conclusion?]

Comments (86)

  1. Down with Turd Sandwich!  Vote Giant Douche!

  2. The outside of Toronto mainstream journalists sure are circling the wagons, aren’t they?

  3. Another thing that I was confused about is that they bring up this 5% HR/Contact rate which is about 2% greater than normal as if this is the nail in the coffin and the Jays are cheaters (at least that’s how I interpreted it).  Then they presented this graph:

    (Edit: Graph isn’t showing up…but you know the one I mean)
     

    Which yeah…that’s a fucking big spike in 2010…but if you search that article for “2006″ they dont’ even fucking mention it. So either A) the Jays were randomly huge cheaters in 2006…then stopped for 3 years…then started again in 2010…and then stopped or B) That kind of random fluctuation seems possible in a relatively small 81 game sample size.

  4. Hopefully the image comes up this time, I’m retarded. 

  5. Pretty disappointed in how Chris Jones and Keith Law are defending the article. Thought they were more than company men.

  6. Heyooo – what if we were stealing signs ON THE ROAD as well!?!? 

    Then those splits that you mention down’t mean a goddamn thing…put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

  7. For me, it wouldn’t have been a problem if the story had been framed as “People around baseball are saying this is happening” instead of “A few Yankees and White Sox are saying this, and we’re going to prove it, QED.” I analyze and interpret statistical data on a daily basis and if I ever put something that half-baked before any of my colleagues or higher-ups, I’d get laughed out of the fucking room. First off, even if the Jays were successfully stealing signs 100% of the time, we don’t know exactly what effect that would have, so presenting the dramatic home splits (which were, again, only for some players) is completely meaningless. They have attempted to demonstrate something statistically that their data can’t possibly support because its effect is unknown (and probably unknowable). However, even if we accept that those inflated home power numbers are evidence of sign stealing (which rational, intelligent people shouldn’t), using just the 2010 data is straight-up cherry picking. The article states that the allegations were there in 2009, and persist this year, so where is the data from those years? Without that context, how are we to know that 2010 wasn’t an anomaly fueled by Bautista’s unreal, franchise-best offensive year? The answer is that we don’t, and that this seems like a pretty clear case of confirmation bias. 

    Add to all of that the other holes in the story (Wilner pointed out on Twitter that it would be interesting to see contact %, something that could easily be analyzed but was omitted; Bruce Arthur, among many others, pointed out that Bautista wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire when that ChiSox series took place), and you get an amateurish piece of writing that tries to prove something that can’t possibly be proven with the numbers alone. I’d still be pissed if they wrote the story with the bullshit anecdotal evidence they’ve got, but I’m way more annoyed at the idiotic attempts to demonstrate the effect statistically.

  8. *Slow clap*

  9. Ummm Seriously? Why would they be comparing home and road splits? Ill definitely have what you’re smoking though

  10. my friend,

  11. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using anonymous sources, so long as the information they provide is corroborated in some way. The reporters didn’t corroborate the info provided by the sources and the story should not have run.

    Attack the argument, not the authors. Fine. Except that the authors are practicing bad journalism and, on those grounds, deserve to be taken to task.

  12. Great Stuff!

  13. I fear this will hurt Jose Bautista in MVP voting, and the idiot voters will give it to a Red Sox or Yankee.

  14. ESPN is the walmart of journalism. Everyone mocks it yet everyone goes there. Sadly I predict major kudos for the authors of the garbage column. ‘good work all around! let’s continue to use your cat as our anonymous source.’

  15. It seems to me Peter Keating is the hapless, plagiarizing foil to Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s overambitious tome “The Fountainhead.”  Keating may have tried to rebrand himself as a sportswriter, but he continues to both suck and blow.

  16. I don’t use twitter, but I’m tempted to sign up just so I can give these two a piece of my mind.

  17. Stephen (Palo Alto)
    Are you at all buying the story on the Jays yesterday?

    Klaw  (1:18 PM)
    In general, yes. I’d like more information, certainly, but I also know
    more of the background info than appeared in the article, too. And let
    me say now in the third different forum that the personal attacks on Amy
    Nelson, especially those that incorporate her gender, are immature,
    cowardly, and disgusting. Grow up already, people.

  18. http://www.grantland.com/blog/

    Jonah Keri has a interesting take on the whole Signdome bull shit.  One of the better sections: “It’s really hard to accept randomness. We’re human. We want to know how
    and why everything occurs. When something spectacular occurs, say a
    hitter with decent power turning into Barry Bonds Lite, we can’t just
    accept that shit happens. How did it happen? There must be some
    explanation. And given we’re not far removed from the Sosa/McGwire/Bonds
    era, we’re tempted to assume that something fishy took place.”

  19. The Keri article says so much that I wanted to say yesterday but couldn’t articulate.

    Also, I think Amy Nelson got the brunt of the criticism because the perception is that she wrote the article and Keating just crunched the numbers. Maybe that’s not how things worked, and Keating has certainly been defending their nonsense so he shouldn’t be off the hook. I tend to give stats people a little more leniency though, because they often hand over analyzed data to people who don’t have a goddamn clue what to do with it and consequently misinterpret or generalize inappropriately.

    Either way, as someone who has signed her name to at least two pieces of absolute horseshit journalism this year, she’s fair game for criticism. The sexist stuff and the personal attacks, though…embarrassing .

  20. I think the thing that really gets me is a real lack of context in the article.  @stoeten:disqus  pointed this out, but I’d like to reiterate it.

    The fact that the Jays have a higher contact % at home (or home run vs contact percent or whatever the hell it was…. maybe both) vs what the visiting team had means absolutely nothing unless I know how that compares with everyone else in the league.  Is this even abnormal?  If it is, well then maybe you have something. Anecdotally, I’d probably say this is normal (familiar surroundings, sleepin in your own bed, less travel, less hassle on get away days, etc).  But they don’t even bother to address this issue.  They tell us that the Jays contact % at home is higher than their opponents, and then rely on the mouth breathers to put 2 and 2 together to get 5.

    The second to last paragraph gets me as well.  ”Opposing batters, however, actually homered on contact at a below-average rate in Toronto. ” says the article.  Again, no context, and they don’t even provide the #s to back up this claim.  They just put it out there for people to react to, and take at face value.  It’s very… Fox News-ish.

    Just utter garbage all the way around.

    Anyway, back to baseball.

  21. Unrelatedly, I found this tweet from Rob Neyer amusing:

    RT @robneyer: Curtis Granderson’s new swing leads to “M-V-P!” chants. http://sbn.to/qqy3Fw

    I assume there will be several articles skeptical about this “new swing” and will “ask the question” about PEDs.  

    What?  
    He’s a Yankee?  
    Oh.

  22. Every BSPN personality I’ve seen has called it  a “great” article only Micheal Wilbon and Bob Ryan didn’t fawn over the piece. 

  23. Stupid Slag.
    Never start a sentence with ‘Because’.

  24. Don’t link to, or read the piece.

    If a dog shits on the sidewalk, I’m not going to bend down, pick it up and analyze it.

    ESPN has no use for the Blue Jays.

    Can somebody tell me the last time the Jays were on a Sunday night telecast?

    I would guess as far back as the ’90s, in all seriousness.

  25. That’s the thing. If the evidence points to someone being a bad journalist, bad lawyer, bad doctor, bad contractor, whatever, it isn’t an ad hominem attack to point that out. Nelson and Keating’s piece, on its own, serves as an impeachment of their ability as journalists. 

  26. What did Wilbon say about it?

  27. Really disappointed at how KLaw has defended this piece of
    writing. Even more disappointing is how he’s tried to shift the focus. When
    Karabell asks him on Baseball Today about Anthopoulous’s press conference where
    AA rightfully pointed out many of the flaws in the story, KLaw deflects – he
    wants to talk about how outraged he is that people on the internet are insulting
    poor Amy.  For shame you cowards hiding behind keyboards, says KLaw. Company
    man indeed. Lost a lot of respect for him today.

    Kudos to Eric Karabell, who actually expressed some sympathy
    for AA having to deal with this bullshit.

    Awesome work on this post Stoeten!

  28. I think what’s also pertinent to all this is that the Blue Jays are easy to pick on, because, hell, they’re in a whole other country!  ESPN can produce a controversial article and doesn’t have to worry about pissing off any Americans.  If this accusation had been leveled at Boston or New York or any other team in a large media market, ESPN would have run the risk of alienating a lot of potential readers/viewers. Instead they pick on the one team whose fans they don’t have a financial incentive to avoid angering.  What was really depressing was how quickly TSN dropped to their knees to suck ESPN’s dick – I watched Sportscentre last night, and Cory Woron couldn’t wait for Dan Shulman to confirm that the evidence was ‘clear’ and the article had merit.  Fuck you, TSN. You do realize ESPN won’t respect you in the morning, right?

  29. I want to break this down into the simplest sentence I can think of and I came up with this.

    LMAO sports “journalism” – Think that’s pretty good.

    Just because the Yankees and Red Sox roided it up for over a decade we have to go through anything and everything to try and discredit Bautista’s accomplishments. Can’t wait until AA’s team is lock, stock and come out with two smoking barrels. Win another World Series and let the shithead American media choke on it. 

    Also didn’t the Red Sox actually get caught cheating with cameras a few years ago and nobody really gave a shit?

  30. While I think the ESPN article is a piece of garbage, I think people might be overlooking the possibility that a sign stealing operation doesn’t necessarily have to involve the whole team. Isn’t it at least possible? Though obviously, this isn’t what ESPN seems to be alleging and isn’t any sort of foundation for a professional media outlet.

    On the other hand, I’ll lend an ear to these allegations because they’re so damn uncommon in baseball and they sound way too out there to have no foundation at all. A friend of mine was at the Yankees game a few weeks back and saw the Yankee relievers toss someone for no reason at all – and they were pissed. The day after the game, Girardi and Martin start spouting off about off the field sign stealing. I look forward to whatever ESPN follow-up comes of this.

  31. Guess I won’t be watching Sunday Night Baseball anymore…Oh well.  #Won’tMissAnyJaysGamesNBD

  32. Seems like this is a long standing accusation by the White Sox, going right back almost to the year the Cable Box opened:

    As per:   http://sports.nationalpost.com

    “1990: Does this sound familiar?As they left Toronto at the end of a spring series with the
    Blue Jays, the Chicago White Sox grumbled that, from somewhere deep
    within SkyDome, someone had been stealing their signs. Unidentified
    White Sox players told the Chicago Sun-Times they saw Blue Jays
    players glance deep into the outfield, past the mound, during their
    at-bats. Chicago manager Jeff Torborg said his pitchers were confused
    when catcher Carlton Fisk had to change his signals. The Blue Jays
    denied the allegations. “We’ve got enough trouble reading our own
    signs,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston told the paper. “But if we get a
    chance, we’ll steal ‘em.””

  33. He doesn’t think its plausible that the sign stealing could be done effectively from the outfield. He also bought up Verlander’s no hitter. It was the first segment on PTI yesterday so they only talked about it for a minute or so.

  34. Speaking of totally non sexist remarks……I would totally do her.

  35. Not really so sure about this Rob. This has generated a ton of page views and that would probably increase 20 fold (I really have no idea but it would be a fuck of a lot more). And being an American sports fan…it’s really fucking hard not to use ESPN most of the time so I don’t think they would be worried about that. And if they broke this story on the Sox they could get some nice Grantland vs ESPN manufactured drama. Anyway, I just don’t think they are specifically picking on the Jays because they are from Canada. 

  36. You make a lot of good points here Tom and while I totally disagree with the article a strong majority of people seem to praise this article or claim it is very compelling. Now I’m not sure if this is because they didn’t give a shit and thus didn’t really care about the stats…but that seems to be the general consensus so it’s no the craziest thing in the world to take a step back and think about it again (though, it’s still kind of horse shit). 

  37. Fuck this bitch with Peter North’s cock.  Listen, when you write a terrible article, you deal with the consequences.  Why does everyone that has a platform to speak have to be so fucking insistent on PROVING TO THE WHOLE WORLD that they’re politically correct, smarter than the minions, and of course, holier than thou art?  Unbelievable. 

    The thing about Law in particular is that he provided more insider information when Girardi complained like a bitch a month ago, and now he’s defending an article than smells like an anchovy’s cunt. The piece added FUCKING NOTHING to the conversation since a month ago, or even since last September.  If the enlightened people of ESPN (Law, Chris Jones) are going to be so fucking transparent about their motives and so wrong about defending the story, how can you fucking take ANYTHING seriously that ESPN **prints** out?

  38. Somehow it would have been better if all the insults regarding that piece of garbage weren’t gender based? 

    Fuck off, Law.  There isn’t a company in the western world that treats women worse than ESPN and you happen to pull a paycheck from them. I didn’t partake in gender-based  insults regarding the Bleacher Report nonsense she and that other dumb fuck farted out, but I’m sure she’d rather see rough or “blue” language on the net than have Harold Reynolds wave his dick at her, or Mike Tirico wave his dick at her, or Sean Salisbury SMS his dick at her, or Woody Paige grab her ass, or Jason Jackson do whatever the fuck he does to human females, or simply work with Chris Berman. Keep holding the Internet to a greater standard than your disgusting fucking misogynist, ditchmonster colleagues — nobody on The Internet would have lasted two seconds after posting the poorly-researched, poorly-sourced, poorly-written dreck you’re trying to champion and  handwave over. 

    Nelson and Keating suck, their editor sucks, Luke Scott and his roving band of secret birthers suck and you fucking suck for white knighting this shit. 

  39. What do you expect?  ESPN has a minority ownership in TSN.

  40. You have it wrong, Paige likes the homegirls, and only via satellite.

  41. I asked KLaw a question in the chat about essentially calling AA a liar given that he (Keith) says the article has merit.  He indicated that it was possible that the GM wouldn’t even necessarily know it was happening.

    I asked a follow up which wasn’t answered…. then who exactly *is* running the “operation” in Law’s mind IF TRUE?  Cito is gone as are his lieutenants (Leyva, Tenace).  Seems unlikely that it would be some behind the scenes exec or a guy like Butter.

    Point being… AA would have to be “in” on anything like this if it WERE happening.  And given his presser…. he’s pretty much staked his rep on this.

  42. You’re getting the timeline wrong.  Cito supposedly was known for this back in the ’90s and the stats are skewed for last year, mostly.

  43. This is all yesterday’s news.

    Today’s more important news is the report that it is “nearly certain” that that Jays will not sign Beede.

    http://minors.mlblogs.com/2011

    I hope that KLaw is right in his suggestion that this is just a ploy to avoid an investigation into the illegal pre-draft agreement allegations.

  44. right, but the implication is that it’s still happening this season, based on Girardi’s bullshit.

  45. I guess, because the story would’ve been dead if Girardi didn’t say anything.  Law mentioned that he hasn’t heard anything about it this year, just last year.

  46. An investigation would be bad for both Beede and the Jays, so they could be “agreeing to disagree” as it were. I won’t put much stock in these rumours until the deadline passes, the dust settles, and we see what’s what. Up until then, it’s just a big poker game.

  47. Listening to Baseball Today, one thing that really annoyed me was KLaw saying he felt worse for Amy than he did for AA; Amy’s inablity to write a non-hackish article put AA in a terrible spot. I’m not disagreeing with his point about the personal attacks. It is childish. However, these personal attacks will make it easier for her to get away with writing her absurd article. 

    Last year KLaw went on the FAN590 and argued with Damien Cox when he “asked the question” about Bautista and PED use. A large segment of people on the internet eviscerated Cox for his shitty journalistic skills.

    Here’s another question: couldn’t these statistics, specifically the focus on Bautista, be used to support a pre-conceived notion that Bautista has used PEDs? In other words, the only difference I see between Amy’s article and what Cox did is that sign stealing is a far less sensitive subject than PED’s. It would have made perfect sense for he to end her article with “someone has to ask the question”.

    While this is a good article, Stoeten telling people to take note that he disagreed with Law is superfluous. If he did a 180 and defended Law’s stance today (other than the legitimate personal attack stuff), he’d be as hypocritical as he could be without even trying. Hence, disagreeing with Law should not earn him any extra credibility

  48. In my defense, I didn’t do any research, which means I expect to see my post on the worldwide leader any moment now. 

  49. All I get out of this is the Jays made Girardi lick his jockstrap after getting whitewashed, and sulks to the media like it’s not supposed to happen because they’re the Yankees. Red Sox could be getting in on it because of the whole divisional rivalry thing. White Sox are a piece of shit clogging the plumbing, not sure why they’re evening opening their mouths – mabe because Anthopoulos “used” them to get Rasmus.

    Who knows, who cares. Old news, and Janssen using home-made binoculars is about all anyone should think of it.

  50. Is anyone, other than amateur bloggers (such as can be found on this web site) going off on poor amy?  Does anyone really care what people like us have to say about professional writers?  Fuck I have been called all kinds of shit on this blog and Keith law hasn’t defended me.

  51. DeJesus is an ass-clown. 

    Did anyone else see that jerk fucking with the ball boy? I mean, granted, the kid couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, but still… at one point DeAssClown (who’s a major leaguer getting paid millions of dollars) got so annoyed with the kid’s arm that he threw the ball over the kid’s head… HITTING A FAN IN THE FACE. The next inning, he short-hopped one off the turf and hit the kid in the shins. Brutal. After shaming the kid publicly, DeJesus finally waves him off in favour of a bullpen pitcher. Real classy. 

    The kid may have sucked but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t thrilled to be there. You took that away from him, DeJesus. Worse than that: you tried to hurt him, and nearly hurt a fan. 

    Grow up.  

  52. That’s disgusting. THAT, not overcelebrating, deserves a fastball in the back. 

  53. saw that too…punk

  54. That piece-of-shit article wasn’t so much aimed at the Jays in general as aimed at Jose Bautista in particular.  I doubt ESPN is after the Jays but I do think they have a hair up their ass about the best player in baseball playing…gasp…in Canada!!  The steroids thing is getting old and unsustainable, (not that the NY Daily News didn’t give it a good go a couple of months back with that other dumb piece-of-shit article about whether J-Baut was ‘clean’)  so now we’ve got sign-stealing to explain how he hits so well.  If he was playing in the US they’d be having regular parades for him and he’d be the poster-boy for sports endorsements.  But he isn’t and they can’t forgive him for that.  So every so often the Jays–meaning Bautista–will come in for various accusations of cheating because it will play quite well with the chauvinistic fan-base to the south.

    That having been said, Amy Nelson is no shrinking violet.  Any sexist/male chauvinist comments that bother her, I’m sure she can deal with effectively without Keith Law at al coming to her aid.   Women aren’t natural-born victims.  Please stop thinking of us that way.

  55. About the “4 anonymous sources”…..

    If they were 4 different players, from 4 different teams, who independantly approached Amy or Peter then their stories may bear some validity.  However, its very likely that the accusations all stemmed from one team (and one bullpen) over sour grapes with Joey Bats.  Obviously these “4 anonymous sources” would seem a whole lot more like “1 angry full of shit bullpen”.  I’d be really interested to hear who these sources are…and if they actually strongly beleive that the Jays are cheating, surely they would be willing to go on the record.  Until then this whole thing is stupid.

  56. A few thoughts:
    - When anyone says “LOTS of people are saying…” it often means just the person speaking (and perhaps their invisible friend), but they’re too chickenshit to admit it.  Same goes for “anonymous sources” perhaps?
    - Sign stealing, as a concept, has existed in baseball for a hundred years.  Why do they think the catcher gives a signal from between his legs?  Or the third base coach does 14 different signals each at-bat?
    - Cheating in baseball has existed forever also.  Note the vasoline, sandpaper, or whatever else pitchers used, or that the supposedly adjusted the fans in the Metrodome back in the 80s and 90s to favor Twins hitters, or deliberately adjusting baselines and infield grass length to benefit the home team.

    I’m tired of the whole debacle already.  Can’t we go back to making fun of A-Rod and his centaur paintings yet?

  57. I believe that when the Jays return to the playoffs, the US media will try & discredit Bautista ‘s accomplishments & portray the Blue Jays as a team of angry castoffs. Look for the facebook photos of Lawrie, interviews of Colby Rasmus as a southern Hick etc….

  58. DJF mentioned of the Baseball prospectus; up and in podcast (ep 61 around 59 min mark)

  59. I love those defending Amy Nelson with all the sexist, paternalistic vigor of an outraged champion of the middle-ages. She did the crime. Focusing on the sexist backlash allows those who have an interest in protecting ESPN to do so without acknowledging that she and her co-writer effed this one up solid. It also ignores the fact that as a professional woman she doesn’t need a bunch of men to protect her from the sexist language she has encountered over the past 48 hours.

    Not nice to say sexist things. Also not nice to smear someone’s reputation without proof.  If she’s going to put herself out there – she’s got to be ready to face the music – which she would probably say herself. Playing the victim at this point is WAY out of line.

  60. Good comment, but… dude, I’m not asking for extra credibility by pointing out I disagree with Law, I’m just shoving it in the faces of the morons who think I reflexively do and can’t think for myself.

  61. That’s true Stoeten; if I were in your shoes I’d be annoyed with the idea that all I did was echo KLaw’s comments as well.

    A lot of the commenters here seem to revel the fact that Law was wrong on Bautista not being a one year wonder…even though, you know, every credible analyst had the same opinion and nobody predicted he’d be even better, save for the ChiSox bullpen perhaps.

    Law is cited here a lot but 99% of the time he is an excellent source and authority. No need for the peanut gallery on this blog to take pleasure in the rare instance he is off base as though it makes them any smarter.

  62. From Jayson Starks Espn chat today:

    Billy (Toronto)Hey Jayson, did you happen to catch Brett Lawrie’s grand slam and reaction in the dugout the other night? How much of a factor to the team do you think his energy can be?Jayson Stark  (2:01 PM)It isn’t just his energy. How ’bout his talent? Had a scout tell me a few weeks ago that not only was Lawrie the best player he saw in the minor leagues this year, but that it wasn’t even close. He’s going to put up some gigantic numbers, especially playing in that park.I just popped a chubby!

  63. I resent Keith Law’s employer; not him, his insights, his gaffes.

    And there are many times he will obstinately refuse to take the opposing viewpoint of said employer.

  64. FUCK AMY K NELSON. she’s the same fuckin whore who deadspin exposed on that luke scott article. bitch probably sucked a lot of cock to get to where she is today. and keating is not even worth mentioning. i mean who the fuck is he anyway?

  65. ps i agree with everything stoeten said. good for you stoetes

  66. The “K.” stands for “Kitchen”, obviously.

    Fuck Kevin Goldstein too.  This is so ridiculous. Is Amy K. Nelson going to lose sleep at night because some doofus on Twitter or in the ESPN comments told her to make him a sandwich? Is that going to prevent her from progressing forward in her career? I’ll tell you what will prevent her from progressing forward in her career — it’s continuing to write shitty exposes like this one.

  67. Really: Stark ended his comment by saying “I just popped a Chubby?”

  68. No. That was me. I didn’t do a very good job with paragraph structuring. But he could have. Maybe an anonymous source told me.

  69. If you’re going to disgrace an entire organization and its players in the eyes of so many, you have to do a hell of a lot more than what Nelson and Keating did in this article. But ESPN saw the Jays as an easy target, Bautista as the attention-getter and lead for their American audience (living in the States I can tell you that baseball fans are still constantly looking for reasons to discredit his production), and decided to let them go ahead with something that clearly was incomplete. Complete bullshit journalism, really.

    For some of these writers (particularly those employed by ESPN) to be deflecting attention to these irrelevant insults or even outright ignoring the obvious flaws and shoddiness of it is amusing to say the least. 

    I don’t blame AA for getting angry about this nonsense. He should be.

  70. REGARDING BEEDE – I think the fact that the bluejays.com editor chose to put the news article about them “not being close” is proof positive that the rumors are only there to insulate the Jays Brass from the claims that they negotiated illegally.  It looks to me like theyre trying to leave an indelible paper trail to the contrary.  i hope im right, find out in a few days

  71. I’m not saying I believe the Jays are cheating but I think you have to ask the question…

  72. I hope youre making a funny reference to Damien “has a tiny” Cox and arent being serious

  73. Hey guys!  I can’t tell you how great it is to play on a team that’s 64-54 and only 2 games out of first place!  If we played in the AL East, we’d be 9 games out and the season would be pretty much over. 

  74. Dear Vernon – Eat a dick.  Yours very truly

  75. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_
    Scroll down and find another example of ESPN trying to discredit Bautista.

    Stark doesn’t bother mentioning, of course, that Bautista has the highest walk rate on the road in baseball and the 3rd highest road OPS. That wouldn’t help him insinuate that Bautista is cheating.

  76. Just imagine if Amy Nelson were a black man and everyone wrote about how he’s a fucking nigger.  Wouldn’t happen, or if it did, people would be quick to condemn it.  But calling Amy Nelson a whore and a cunt is just fine! She can defend herself! Nothing to see here folks! 

  77. ESPN probably thinks that Lil’ Bautista is actually real Bautista.

  78. This is officially as ugly as a modern political campaign where it’s not about your own ideas/abilities, but the other guy/gal’s flaws, and even the most microscopic flaw of your opponent is fair game, whether it’s true or not. It’s. Fucking. Pathetic.

  79. Yep. I’m making light of that statement. 

  80. YOU LIVE IN THE STATES???

  81. As much as I want to agree with almost every single comment i’ve read here today, I’m just not as sure as most of you seem to be.  I think there is a real decent chance that these accusations are true. 

    I’m not so sure of the ‘guy in white’ nonsense being true, or I think someone would have been able to catch proof of that on camera forsure once they suspected it.  I do think the Blue Jays have been stealing signs for the last few years though since Cito has been back in the picture. 

    I do agree that the american media deperately wants to discredit Jose Bautista, and that article Fullmer person just posted was pretty brutal.  In my mind Jose Bautista is legit even if the sign stealing is proved to be true.  Every fuckin team wants to get any edge they can to improve, and if the Blue Jays are better than other teams at sign stealing techniques then thats a credit to their coaching staff and their managment for hiring coaches with that skillset.  It is fuckin retarded to believe that other teams aren’t involved in sign stealing, as it’s been going on for 120+ years. 

  82. IMO Jose Bautista is no guiltier than any other players in baseball regarding sign stealing.  I truely believe that every team is involved in some degree of sign stealing.  As they should be.  The fact that ESPN is trying to tarnish the image of Jose Bautista should come as no surprise to anyone. 

  83. stealing signs or location isn’t cheating. is figuring out what the 3rd base coach is flashing, cheating? stupid article about nothing. personally, i hope the jays are stealing signs, we should do everything in our power to get an edge and win games.

  84. AA has been open about the team’s chances this year and yet the Jays are doing everything they can to cheat and scheme their way to .500? Seems a bit iffy. 

  85. The fact that ESPN is choosing to single out Jose Bautista rather than a player on another team should come as no surprise.  ESPN clearly has an agenda in discrediting Jose Bautista, and for obvious reasons.

    thats how I should have ended it! Does this site have no ‘edit’ option?

  86. I dont agree with this.  Being able to get a tell from a pitcher, or steal signs from a catcher while on base, or maybe steal signs from a thirdbase coach or straight from the manager or bench coach is a skill that every player should try and learn.  Why would a team stop trying to teach it’s players skills just because they dont expect to contend.  Should they stop taking batting practice and groundballs as well?  SMH.

    and stealing signs isnt ‘cheating and sceming’ it’s part of the game

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