Yes, the Jays have regularly been accused of sign stealing. Yes, some opposing players thought they saw something fishy going on in the outfield stands at Rogers Centre. Yes, an exquisitely cherry-picked group of Jays players had some extreme home-road splits in 2010. But no, the statistical “evidence” did not demonstrate anything close to where the authors who wrote the piece about it were trying to lead us– and they knew this, judging by their asinine cop out conclusion paragraph.
The Jays’ supposedly-damning 2010 spike in home run rate on contact was almost exactly the same as one in 2006, as seen by ESPN’s own damn graph in the ridiculous original piece– did they stop cheating for three seasons, or is this “smoking gun” just a reasonably believable outlier? The piece brought up several players with extreme home-road splits to “prove” something fishy was going on, but did precisely zero accounting for the many other Jays who saw no such spike or were better on the road– and it did so because, as any grade schooler could recognize, once you acknowledge that it kinda blows a giant fucking hole in your thesis.
Done, right? Not so fast.
Leave it to the dimwitted Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine to reopen this can of worms with a new post, complete with a big ol’ picture of Jose Bautista, following up on the accusations and looking at data from the now-complete 2011 season.
“In 2011,” he writes, “the Jays’ power edge at Rogers persisted at a lower level through the first half of the season, then all but disappeared — around the time that other teams started making news for changing up their signs in Toronto even with no men on base. By the end of the season, there was nearly zero difference between how Rogers affected home and visiting hitters.”
Wait a minute. You’re saying an outlier regressed to the mean? Alert the papers!
“To be sure, a whopping home-run-on-contact rate gap could be the result of a home team adapting to its environment successfully. And a fluctuating park factor could result from chance,” Sherlock fucking Holmes continues. “Still, the numbers are odd enough that they deserve further investigation.”
Great! Let’s take the two fucking seconds needed to investigate!
Jose Bautista put up crazily fucking near-identical numbers at home (.305/.454/.609/1.063 with 20 HR in 72 games) as he did on the road (.300/.442/.607/1.049 with 23 HR in 77 games).
“But Bud Selig has let the matter slide. ‘We never received a formal complaint from any of our clubs regarding this,’ MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told The Mag,” Keating writes. “Asked how many formal complaints from clubs MLB got about players named in the Mitchell Report, the commissioner’s office declined to comment. “
Oh, fuck you, Peter Keating.