Within the great game of baseball, there are quite a few unwritten rules, conveniently kept in a book that has yet to be written and published. Recently, the Red Sox informed the Yankees that clapping is, in fact, against said rules and would be punishing them accordingly. Another unwritten rule is that, as a hitter, you do not look down at the catcher in the batter’s box while he is setting up. If batters can hear or even feel the movement of the catcher behind him, that’s fine, but no peeking!
Not part of that section of the rulebook, surprisingly enough, is giving away pitch location as a base runner on second base. On Monday, in the series opener of the Phillies/Reds series, Wilson Valdez was on second base with two outs in the top of the fifth. NL MVP candidate Shane Victorino came to the plate and worked the count to 3-0 quickly against Homer Bailey. While you couldn’t see it on the normal camera shot from center field, Wilson Valdez was giving Victorino the pitch location from second base. Bailey had battled back to 3-2, but catcher Ryan Hanigan still wanted to take every necessary precaution. Before the third pitch, he eyed up Valdez at second, confirmed he was on reconnaissance, and called time.
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Hanigan walked out to the mound for a brief chat with his pitcher, telling him he would be setting up late to give Victorino the least time possible with the valuable information. Not only did Hanigan set up late, but he set up on the wrong side of the plate. Bailey threw a hook that grabbed the outside part of the plate and Victorino, expecting the pitch to be inside, struck out looking to end the inning.
Both Rick Sutcliffe on the ESPN national broadcast and Jeff Brantley on the Reds’ broadcast deduced that Valdez was tipping signs. Although the Phillies had been suspected of stealing signs in the past, the Reds didn’t seem to care. No baseballs were thrown at any heads.