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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In case you'd missed it over the weekend, the Yankees were caught ... doing something.

If you're looking for a conspiracy theory to explain the Tigers' supposedly superior starting staff sadly surrendering a stunning slew of runs to the Yankees (yes, I just got 1,000 bonus points for my alliteration), here's one possible explanation:

The Yankees were cheating.

How else do you explain 23 runs allowed on 29 hits — including nine homers — and 12 walks? (OK, how do you explain it, if you're not willing to use either the shoebox size of Yankee Stadium or simply poor pitching by the Tigers as plausible reasons?)

Well, maybe they were cheating. Keith Olbermann, the ESPN broadcaster-turned-MSNBC broadcaster-turned-freelance journalist, Tweeted out a picture from Opening Day of Brett Weber, a coaching assistant with the Yankees, signaling the type of pitch just thrown to on-deck batters.

By baseball rules (operations bulletin C-4, to be specific), that's a no-no.

It became the subject of news stories here and here. Brought to the attention to the powers that be at Major League Baseball, it became a brief investigation.

While MLB put a phone call in to the Yankees, telling them to cease and desist, and not to allow Weber to signal on-deck batters (giving a report to the dugout is acceptable), Weber continued to be stationed behind home plate for the rest of the series.

The Yankees contended it was because the scoreboard's radar readout was broken. Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's senior VP for standards and on-field operations, who spoke with the Yankees, seemed to buy the explanation.

"I think he (Garagiola) recognizes the fact that there's no real advantage here. But at the same time, there is a bulletin out there that says you're not supposed to do that. We explained to him that the first inning, the scoreboard was reading 912 mph, so normally that stuff's out there," Yankees GM Brian Cashman told the New York Times.
"It's a silly situation. It's not really an issue."

But it makes for good X-Files-style conspiracy theories.

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