When I first learned that Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was going to hold a press conference to dispute the validity of ESPN’s recent article calling attention to the possibility of the Blue Jays stealing signs and signalling batters, it sounded like a bad idea.

Publicly disputing ludicrousness never seems to work out, and this seemed to me to be the very definition of something you let happen on its own without calling any additional attention to it.

After hearing him speak with genuine exasperation over the fact that he’s even addressing the media at all, I feel quite differently. His words and attitude toward delivering those words drained whatever legitimacy that the article clinged to, defended the organization well, and made me think that the press conference was more about honour than optics.

Here are the notes:

  • Baseball is a small fraternity.
  • Not too hard to find former player/manager/field guy who would confirm this.
  • Compares it to UFO guy who sees something.
  • Guaranteed there is at least one former, disgruntled player who would say something.
  • No general manager has ever suggested anything to Alex Anthopoulos.
  • Common sense question: Is this realistic.
  • Unfair to the players and organization.
  • Every game is broadcast. Go through the broadcasts and look for a man in a white shirt.
  • Spend a little time. Do a little work.
  • A one time thing. Not going to talk about it after today.
  • Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
  • Likes ESPN, visits website a lot. They’re as good as it gets. This is one example of them being wrong.
  • They didn’t do their homework.
  • Still blown away that we’re actually holding a press conference for this.
  • Because four players on another team said something, a story is written and we’re all sitting here.
  • This is nothing. No phone calls, no nothing. Haven’t heard from anyone in MLB today.
  • I’ve been in this organization for years, never a phone call, e-mail, text, nothing. We have GM meetings. This would have come up.
  • Supplied ESPN with a quote for the story and asked that they at least seek out a former somebody from the organization, which shouldn’t be difficult to find.

Comments (38)

  1. Is it already over?

  2. AA is ripping espn good. fuck amy k nelson and her fuckery

  3. What a joke – #ThisWholeThingIsStupid – amazing. In AA I trust.

  4. Seems like it’s still going on… is there anywhere to tune in?

  5. The Jays should have fun with this. Give out white t-shirts to everyone. Have an Urban Legend night. Market an Amy Nelson bobblehead. Encourage ESPN-mocking signs (especially given the ESPN / TSN ties).

    You know, let the collective hair down a bit.

  6. AA laid into ESPN.

    Next time Yankees are in town (this weekend I think, or next week?) they need to have a white tee shirt give away.

  7. A lot of other organizations would never allow a story like this to be published without at least a response from the Jays front office. I have no doubt that, had she even tried, Amy could have had a quote from AA. If ESPN wanted to be a credible news organization they’d reprimand her for shitty journalism.

    And like AA said, surely she could have found a disgruntled ex-player or staff member. I would imagine Jeremy Accardo would have been more than happy to confirm the allegations if they were true.

  8. Ninja stature grows! Make the whole ESPN nation scared of the Jays org!

  9. According to Peter Keating on PTS right now – he refuses to admit who the team was, but suggests that the blog Steal of Home may “winkwink” be on to something. Based on their findings its the Chicago White Sox. Boom. I wonder if Frason Jasor is teaching them some tips?

  10. Here’s a still image fo the man in white in action.

    http://tinyurl.com/3l33yyd

  11. Well there’s only one logical thing to do. Dress all in white, head to the game and hold up a giant sign that says FASTBALL.

  12. @Chris Chapin – John Lott says Bautista says it was definitely the White Sox bullpen who threatened him.

    Bautista: “Last year it was steroids, this year stealing signs. I’m interested to see what they come up with next year.”

  13. @Mr. Wenn Tickets – Check, White Clothes – Check, Sign – Check

  14. Yankees are in town next on Sept 16.

  15. where the bloddy fuck is the video of the press conference?!

  16. Peter Keating on Tim and Sid Uncut:

    “Story was not pre-determined. … Numbers were NOT cherry-picked. … I go after cherry-pickers.”

    Couldn’t listen to all of it, oh well.

  17. Now I get it – the Jays do so poorly in day games because the Man In White has another job. And he was sick on the day of Verlander’s no-hitter.

  18. “Guaranteed there is at least one former, disgruntled player who would say something.”

    Rios?

  19. Would he be disgruntled enough to make up something like this?

  20. John Danks anyone?

  21. OMG.

    I hope AA ended the press conference by saying:

    “There was one piece of information in the article that was undeniably 100% accurate. Every pitch to a Blue Jay in Toronto IS definitely worth watching. See you at the Ballpark”

    Absolute Stud.

  22. GRRRRRR! Can’t access AA’s video on the Score. Stupid regional restrictions!!!!!

  23. @ dexter

    thats gold. i love anthopoulos

  24. Hi, I’m the co-author of the story you are discussing. Thanks for your interest, I always welcome feedback, positive, negative or nuclear. I will let our piece speak for itself. But:

    @Chris Chapin: I did NOT indicate anyone, including the blog you mentioned, was “on to something” with respect to who our sources were. I wasn’t even on Prime Time Sports today until 5:20 PM, in an interview that just concluded. Please correct this.

    @Canuckistani: We did quote Alex Anthopoulos in our story. In fact, we quoted him twice, and at some length.

  25. Pretty weak story @Peter…good way to get your name out there, in a bad light…

  26. @ dexter

    wait, he didn’t actually say that? dammit

  27. @ eric

    Unfortunately, I don’t think he did. But he definitely should have.

  28. Mr. Keating, was there a reason you chose to ignore the fact that Bautista has hit more home runs on the road this season than at home? Or that the Jays hit significantly more HRs on the road last season than their opponents did?

  29. Hey Peter, Thanks for responding and while I generally disagree with the story I respect you commenting here.

    You mention that the numbers weren’t cherry picked, which may very well we true, but the story just didn’t seem to address the numbers from every angle and seemed to lack completeness. I really would have liked to have seen a comparison with other hitters ballparks, as you seem to mention the difference of HRs for Toronto at home and on the Road but there was no mention of other teams HR splits such as Colorado which had a 108 to 65 Home/Road split (this is just an example).

    You also mentioned that the Jays hit 5% of the pitches they made contact with for a Home Run in 2010 and showed a graph. However this graph also had the Jays at almost that exact rate in 2006. This would seem to imply that they Blue Jays were cheating in just 2006 and 2010 or that it was simply a strange occurrence based on small sample size that may occur when looking at only an 82 game sample size. I may have missed it but I didn’t see a 2006-2010 comparison at all.

    Lastly, it seems that a team that was swinging at more pitches and trying to pull the ball (i believe the philosophical approach of the 2010 Blue Jays would have the highest rate of pitches swung at, a high Home Run rate (if playing in a home run park), a low OBP and the low BABIP would partially be due to the high HR Rate as that isn’t included. I felt those numbers were cited to back up the “Jays are cheating point”, but to me, they were expected.

    Again, thanks for responding and hopefully someone could take some time to clear up those questions or at least go further in depth into the statistics. It wasn’t the story I had a problem with (definitely suspicious) My problem was using these statistics to “prove” the sign-stealing when they felt inconclusive.

    Thanks, Drew

  30. @ Peter Keating

    I’m obviously a bit biased as a Blue Jays fan, but like to think I’m pretty objective overall.

    But even if this article came out about the Yankees or Red Sox (who lets face it have hit much better than the Jays for the last 2 decades) I still wouldn’t put much weight on it.

    Unnamed sources, a mysterious man in white, handpicked statistics being used to prove the point. It seems clearly like a case of a few people with a conspiracy theory that is being used to drive traffic to ESPN and attention to the authors.

    Honestly. Read your story again and play the contrarian who wants to disprove your position. It’s really not that difficult.

    There is no question it’s driving traffic and attention to both ESPN and you as the co-author. The good news is it will likely drive fan support and ticket sales for the Jays. The bigger the crowds, the higher the payroll and the sooner everyone is looking up at us in the AL East.

    Thanks for your contribution to the cause.

  31. Wilner,
    Nice question dick.

  32. more sign stealing fuckery

    http://www.sportslogos.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/jays-2010-whitesox1.jpg

    not that it means anything. im the one in the first pic

  33. why delete my post about the fuckin hack-job by amy k nelson and keating? these horrible writers give journalism a bad name and don’t deserve to have an audience as large as espn provides.

  34. Someone needs to ask Ozzie Guillen about the White Sox players incident with Bautista. It will be awesome…

  35. If anyone’s interested in sending their well-thought out analysis and posts ripping the ESPN article, here’s the link to do so:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?id=2826900

  36. defamatory? are you fucking kidding me? what the bloody fuck happened to the drunk jays fan parkes? you’re really gonna censor people for defamatory comments on 2 cocksucking espn hacks? never mind the fact that espn in pretty much the fox news of the sports world, but this is a fuckin BLOG not a fucking newpaper. i can say whatever the fuck i want.

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