Chris Grant’s Sports Talk: Sign stealers

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Baseball’s oldest rivalry had fuel added to its long-burning fire this week when the New York Yankees accused the Boston Red Sox of stealing signs during their series last weekend. The Red Sox did not do much to dispel the rumors that their video team was sending information about the Yankees’ signs to one of the trainers in the dugout on his Apple watch. Supposedly, this guy was then relaying these signs to the Sox hitters who proceeded to use said data to lose three of four games to the Pinstripers. Yeah, even if they were cheating, it was not really helping, was it?

Honestly, stealing signs is about as much a part of baseball as the suicide squeeze or a pitcher hitting a batter who shows him up. Remember Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world” home run? You know, the one the led to the Giants winning the pennant back in 1951? It is pretty well known that the Giants were stealing signs all season at the Polo Grounds and Thomson knew the pitch that was coming before knocking it out of the park. So what’s the big deal here? I suppose it’s just the fact the Yankees caught the Red Sox doing something that could be construed as underhanded. Honestly, even if the roles were reversed, I would not think much of this, despite all the headlines it has generated. In the end, I am sure the Red Sox will pay a fine, or some minor team employee will lose his job (and by that I mean be reassigned) and the world will move on to what really is important, and that is the actual pennant race.

I would be remiss not to mention something about the first weekend of college football. In my estimation, it was a pretty great one. I watched quite a few games with the UCLA-Texas A&M game being the one that generated the most excitement in our house. If you are unaware, the Aggies somehow blew a 34-point second half lead and lost to the Bruins 45-44 at the Rose Bowl. As collapses go, A&M’s was pretty epic, although not at all unexpected. The Aggies’ coach, Kevin Sumlin, is one of the worst game callers in the history of NCAA football. He and his teams have a pretty long history of choking, so, if someone was going to do it, it was going to be the hapless fellows from College Station.

The Aggies were so bad they made UCLA’s Josh Rosen look like the second coming of Joe Montana, which I think is kind of an oversight. Like I said, the Aggies more or less gift-wrapped the game for the Bruins. You’ve got to give Rosen credit for taking the opportunity and delivering when his team needed him to step up. But I struggle to see him as the next great college quarterback. I have even less faith in him as the next great NFL signal caller. Truth be told, he came very close to throwing an interception late in the game that would have sealed the loss for UCLA and changed the story about his success. Had the Aggie defensive back made what should have been an easy catch, instead of letting the ball go through his hands and end up in the hands of a Bruin receiver who caught it for an easy touchdown, Rosen would have been looking at his third turnover of the game instead of another score. Of course, that is often just the way things go, and ultimately, he was the hero of week one, sending the Aggies’ coach off to work on his resume in the process.