Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was spotted using binoculars during Monday night’s game against the Rockies at Coors Field.
No, he wasn’t looking at the Rocky Mountains in the distance or looking for hot chicks in the stands. He was stealing signs.
This isn’t anything new. Stealing signs has always been, and will presumably continue to be, a part of the game. Managers are often paranoid that signs are being stolen and go to great lengths to prevent it from happening. Consequently, attempts to steal signs has become a covert operation–usually at least.
The Rockies flagship station captured Billmeyer’s actions live during the second inning, after the Rockies players noticed him using the binoculars early in the game. Shane Victorino was seen talking on the phone to the bullpen during the inning, and just like that the secret was out. Billmeyer was seen focusing on Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo while the Phillies were at bat.
Talk about plumb dumb.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel agreed, “We were not trying to steal signs. Would we try to steal somebody’s signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don’t do that. We’re not going to let a guy stand up there in the bullpen with binoculars looking in. We’re smarter than that.”
Major League Baseball is review the comical actions and should rule on the matter soon.
In an act of a poetic justice, the victim of the creeping had the best game of his career Wednesday against the Phillies. Miguel Olivo collected three hits off Roy Halladay, and added another hit before belting a walk-off homer in the 10th inning.
Manuel contends that Billmeyer was watching Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz set up defensively. We all know what was really going on.
And you can bet it will happen again.