If you haven’t already seen it at Deadspin, I suggest you watch the above video of Joe Mauer stealing signs immediately. MLB will probably yank it down soon. Make sure you read the text in the clip, you won’t need any sound.
As for some context, that video was taken from the 6th inning of the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, and a win would have tied the Twins with Detroit for the AL Central with five games to go, two against the Tigers. Minny was down 5-0 and had just two weak singles off Justin Verlander in the previous five innings. Denard Span doubled, Orlando Cabrera singled him in, then Mauer doubled with O-Cab going to third. It was the Twins first rally of any kind off Verlander, and apparently Mauer decided to do what all good MVP’s would do: he stole the signs from Gerald Laird and relayed them to Jason Kubel at the plate via a series of hand signals.
This is nothing new to the game of baseball and Mauer is far from a horrible person for it. Players have been stealing signs for over a hundred years, and Mauer’s team was behind in what was then the biggest game of their season. Laird and Verlander were aware of it (as you can see in the video), and did what they could to throw the pitch they wanted without giving away the signs. I’m sure Laird has stolen signs at some point in his career, so what’s the big deal?
That’s the question, do you think it’s a big deal? It’s a big game for Minnesota and Mauer is doing what he can to help his team win. Heck, for all we know Miguel Cabrera was stealing signs from second and relaying them to Brandon Inge in the previous inning, when Inge broke things open with a two-run single. How would you feel if you knew the Yanks did something like this in the postseason? What if they had it done to them?