Yahoo is running a story right now about a Joe Mauer fan who made a video highlighting Joe Mauer stealing signs on second base after a double and relaying them to batter, Jason Kubel. First of all, anyone that knows baseball knows the guy that made the video is an idiot, but he is catching Mauer stealing signs.
The videographer who so elegantly films his television tells us about Mauer “nonchalantly” stealing signs when he is being extremely blatant. The fact is, Verlander knows he can get Kubel even with the sign stealing going on. Otherwise, Kubel would have ended up in an ambulance with an earflap that needs to be surgically removed.
Laird stops and gets new signs twice during the at bat, and at one point scrapes the ground with his hand. Major League catchers are not dumb, but Mauer was the less intelligent one in this situation, and the least intelligent is the guy filming because Laird and Verlander already knew, but now everyone else in the Major Leagues does.
Moving on, everyone does this. You watch a baseball game at the high school level and this is going on. You just have to get better at it as you go. Mauer is not good at it. If another catcher sees this, and it is in a tighter game, the batter will either get intentionally crossed up or get a fastball that has the same effect as a Gillette 3 razor.
Every year someone makes a big deal about sign stealing, and every year people say its cheating. Every year the people that have actually played the game say stealing signs is as much a part of the game as sunflower seeds and tobacco, but people like to whine about their team losing so someone will always complain.
I’m not condoning having a guy behind the centerfield fence with a telescope, but stealing signs from second base or from the third base coaching box is fair game. Of course you must be willing to wear one between the numbers your next at bat, but sometimes, its worth having stitches bruised into your spine for a week.