Mauer Steals Signs: So Does Everybody Else…

October 1, 2009
Public enemy number 1 in Detroit because hes really bad at stealing signs, and his biggest fan made a video of it.

Public enemy number 1 in Detroit because he's really bad at stealing signs, and his biggest fan made a video of it.

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.

The Famous Shot Heard Round the World may have been influenced by a stolen sign, but from a telescope in CF.

The Famous "Shot Heard Round the World" may have been influenced by a stolen sign, but from a telescope in CF.

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.

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Blue Duck MLB Awards: Day One: Comeback Player

September 29, 2009

Brad Lidge has proven that MLB voters dont know anything.  Our picks will stand the test of time.

Brad Lidge has proven that MLB voters don't know anything. Our picks will stand the test of time.

At Blue Duck we love when fallen heroes return to their days of glory and regain abilities thought to be lost.  That is why we get all giddy when thinking about the Major League Comeback Player of the Year.  We probably wont find out who actually wins this award, but the Blue Duck version is slightly more appreciated by the players.

So here are Boomer and my picks for the AL and NL Return to Glory Award for 2009.

AL:
Boomer:
Victor Martinez

(C) Cle/Bos

Youre Welcome, Victor. You deserve it.

You're Welcome, Victor. You deserve it.

After missing half the season in ’08, Martinez has bounced back to his norm.  Currently sporting a .301 average, Martinez has also been clutch since arriving in Boston at the trade deadline.  His versatility has allowed him to contribute behind the plate (spelling the relic, Jason Veritek) while also playing above average defense at firstbase.  This has allowed the Sox to shift Kevin Youkilis to third, and keep Mike Lowell as healthy as possible following off-season hip surgery.

His arrival has coincided with a revival of sorts to the offensive game of David Ortiz.  Already having appeared in 150 games on the season, Martinez has not lost the power he displayed between the 04-07 seasons, hitting 22 homeruns.  He’s healthy, he’s producing, and he’s in the middle of the playoff race.  He’s officially back.

Well Done Justin

Well Done Justin

Carebear
Justin Verlander

The Tigers have almost become the team they were supposed to be last year in 2009.  Much of this is due to the reemergence of Justin Verlander.  Justin had a league leading 17 losses last season, and has come back with 17 wins in the ’09 campaign.  His 4.84 ERA last year reflected the fact that he lost his fastball, and lost control.

Verlander’s WHIP is down dramatically, and he has already pitched 20 more innings than last season.  Anyone who watched him pitch the last two years will tell you the difference is night and day.  He was topping out at about 94 MPH for much of the year, and in ’09 his free and easy motion producing 99MPH fastballs deep into games has wowed commentators and opposing hitters all season.
Verlander makes this team a big threat in the playoffs.
NL

Boomer:
Chris Carpenter
(P) StL

Way to not get injured again, Chris.

Way to not get injured again, Chris.

After being limited to 21 innings combined the last two seasons, Carpenter has proven he’s healthy and can still pitch.  His 2.30 ERA ranks him first in the National League.  Add in his 16 wins (behind only teammate Adam Wainwright) and it’s no wonder the Cardinals have clinched the NL’s Central Division.  The fact that he’s been able to throw over 180 innings in his first full season in two years it all a bonus for the Cards.

Even more astonishing than his win/loss total is that he’s only allowed 7 homeruns on the year in addition to a ridiculous 1.01 WHIP.  But he’s been able to pickup where he left off, just about matching his career average for K/9 while exceeding his career averages for ERA and WHIP.  He’ll be pitching one of the first two playoff games for St. Louis, which seemed unimaginable at this point last year.
Carebear:
Troy Tulowitzki
This is how excited Tulowitzki was after we called him about the award.

This is how excited Tulowitzki was after we called him about the award.

It may be ridiculous calling a 24 yr old the Comeback Player of the Year, but after his Rookie of the Year in 2007 many thought Troy was just a flash in the pan.  Tulowitzki proved everyone wrong this season.  A lot of his troubles were caused by injury in 2008, and returning to good health brought in some healthy numbers as well.

His 30 homers are first among MLB shortstops, and his 87 RBIs trail only Hanley Ramirez.  Troy is also having a solid year fielding the ball.  The Rocky has committed only 9 errors this year.  Most importantly, Troy has helped his team back into playoff contention.  Finishing 14 games below .500 last year without a healthy SS, Troy Tulowitzki has shown that he is an integral part of what should be the NL Wild Card team.

Tune in tomorrow for Blue Duck’s presentation of the John Rocker Award to the AL and NL’s best Closer.