Toronto Blue Jays: Worst Cheaters in MLB History?

Rich StoweAnalyst IIIAugust 10, 2011

Where is Waldo - if Waldo was a guy dressed in white passing signs to the batters?
Where is Waldo - if Waldo was a guy dressed in white passing signs to the batters?Greg Fiume/Getty Images

ESPN's Outside the Lines is going to be running a story about suspicions that the Toronto Blue Jays are stealing signs from the bleachers of the Rogers Centre.

If these suspicions are true and, as is reported in the story, go back at least as far as 2009, does this make the Blue Jays the worst cheaters in baseball history?

Why do I ask that question?  Well, you would figure that if they were stealing signs and were as good at it as the story makes you believe, they would have a better home record over the last two seasons than 74-62 (28-27 this season), wouldn't they?

Their offense has seemed to perform much better at home than on the road this season, as Hardball Talk points out.  How much of that can be attributed to cheating?  You always expect players to perform better at home than on the road but the sheer drop-off in the numbers of a player like Yunel Escobar, for example, make you think they play in Coors Field instead of the Rogers Centre.

Stealing signs is part of baseball provided runners on the bases are doing it and not someone in the stands using binoculars, cameras etc.  If a base runner can steal a sign, that means the catcher isn't doing his job either in protecting the signs, adding false signs or changing their meaning.

Stealing signs at home would only give the Blue Jays an edge offensively; however, seeing how "pitching wins games," you would think having an advantage over the opposing team's pitcher would make for a home record better than one that is currently barely over .500.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that it takes more than knowing what's coming when you're at the plate; your pitchers also have to ensure that the opposing players don't hit like they know what's coming too.  This is the Blue Jays' bigger problem.  They may score plenty of runs because they know what's coming but their pitchers give up just as many without the opposition knowing what's coming.

If these accusations are true, and even if the Blue Jays aren't as successful as one might expect, the team will go down in history with the likes of Albert Belle (corked bat), Sammy Sosa (corked bat), and Graig Nettles (superball-filled bat) among failures at cheating in Major League Baseball.