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The Jays-Rays Data Card issue


Useful Idiot
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I'm  sure many of you are  familiar with this story:

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/32253731/tampa-bay-rays-outfielder-kevin-kiermaier-adds-more-drama-burgeoning-rivalry-takes-toronto-blue-jays-data-card-home-plate

And, a couple questions come to mind. First...why  is this even an issue?  If it is something the Jays left on the field, isn't that "discoverable" material? I can see no evidence of wrongdoing. The Jays catcher screwed up,  and let the consequences be what they may.

Second...why is this even an issue? Would the information thereon be proprietary? Seems like it would be information available through any of the common scouting sources, and in fact I would think most managers would want to know what the rest of the league considers to be your batters vulnerabilities...So they would be buying that information anyway

 

Unless I am wrong about the latter, this seems to be a story about nothing. 

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18 minutes ago, Useful Idiot said:

I'm  sure many of you are  familiar with this story:

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/32253731/tampa-bay-rays-outfielder-kevin-kiermaier-adds-more-drama-burgeoning-rivalry-takes-toronto-blue-jays-data-card-home-plate

And, a couple questions come to mind. First...why  is this even an issue?  If it is something the Jays left on the field, isn't that "discoverable" material? I can see no evidence of wrongdoing. The Jays catcher screwed up,  and let the consequences be what they may.

Second...why is this even an issue? Would the information thereon be proprietary? Seems like it would be information available through any of the common scouting sources, and in fact I would think most managers would want to know what the rest of the league considers to be your batters vulnerabilities...So they would be buying that information anyway

 

Unless I am wrong about the latter, this seems to be a story about nothing. 

I think this hinges on the disconnect between 'normal courtesy' and the deep tradition in baseball that it is *always* up to a team to protect any communication they do on the field  - it's always the right of the other team to intercept the other team's communication as long as it is done by 'ordinary' human means, (sign stealing etc) and picking up a dropped data card certainly qualifies as 'ordinary human' means to me. To me, a catcher that doesn't have the presence of mind to realize he's dropped his data card is no different than one that doesn't realize he needs to change signs with a man on second. Tough luck. If I'm Kiermaier, I pick it up.

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I think there’s a professional courtesy issue at hand here, in which all teams freely use the cards and no teams want their use of them to be questioned or put in danger, so they allow each other to use them without publicly threatening to undermine the practice. This may exist in the same vein as sticky substances or spider tack earlier this year: managers were loathe to call other teams on its use because their own pitchers used it to good effect. Professional courtesy.

There may also be the very public act of Kiermaier picking it up and simply walking back to his own dugout with it. He publicly disrespected the Jays when he did that. That’s the kind of thing that just doesn’t go unpunished.

I would like it if the incident were to spur a discussion inside The Game about whether the use of cards during play should even be appropriate, and whether they should move to a sort of “Amish baseball”, in which all the technology you want to use is fine while prepping for the game, but once you cross the white lines, no cards, no tablets, no smartwatches, nothing but printouts in the dugout. Maybe make players actually memorize tendencies about the other team while they are out on the field. Wouldn’t that be a kick.

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I could see a rule where nothing is allowed on the field except equipment.  I've seen outfielders pull out cards from their pocket.  

I don't care either way.  This is inside baseball.  No rules were broken.  If they don't like it then hit him and deal with the consequences of that.  No different than the battles of "stealing signs".  No need for regulation. Let them sort it out internally.  We don't need a geneva convention.  Treat our soldiers like you'd want yours treated.

 

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1 minute ago, oblong said:

I could see a rule where nothing is allowed on the field except equipment.  I've seen outfielders pull out cards from their pocket.  

I don't care either way.  This is inside baseball.  No rules were broken.  If they don't like it then hit him and deal with the consequences of that.  No different than the battles of "stealing signs".  No need for regulation. Let them sort it out internally.  We don't need a geneva convention.  Treat our soldiers like you'd want yours treated.

 

I think it might be hard to get the union to agree to the Amish baseball idea, basically because players like it and it gives them a competitive advantage, or at least not put them at a competitive disadvantage.

I'm sympathetic to the hypothesis that one of the reasons that pace has slowed to a crawl is the introduction of analytical information during the game. Pitchers and catchers especially seem to be taking extra time sorting through and deciding from among all the options before making the next pitch. It wouldn't surprise me if banning cards shaved several minutes off average game time.

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When I see a pitcher looking inside his hat it doesn’t bother me. It’s just unmanly. You’d never catch Bob Gibson doing it. When the catcher does it, it bothers me vastly more when the pitcher does it. I know it’s new data every day and it changes but it’s something that just rubs me the wrong way. 

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2 hours ago, Archie said:

This debacle escalated even further.  After Kiermaier got HBP, Charlie Montoyo and the pitcher have been suspended.  All because the catcher can't keep track of his paperwork.  I don't know why they would intentionally hit Kiermaier because everyone was waiting for it.

people are never so adamant about  proving than point than when they know they are really wrong. "double-down"syndrome at work.

Edited by gehringer_2
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On 9/22/2021 at 3:41 PM, Useful Idiot said:

And, a couple questions come to mind. First...why  is this even an issue?  If it is something the Jays left on the field, isn't that "discoverable" material? I can see no evidence of wrongdoing. The Jays catcher screwed up,  and let the consequences be what they may.

Second...why is this even an issue? Would the information thereon be proprietary? Seems like it would be information available through any of the common scouting sources...

Regarding the first question, I tend to agree.  It was left on the field, it's "discoverable."  I don't think it's incumbent on the other team to look away if they spot useful information in the normal course of a game.  There's no rule (written or otherwise) that if a pitcher start tipping his pitches that the other team should call time out and let the pitcher know.

Regarding the second question, some of the information might be proprietary. Maybe the Jays have noticed something minor that other teams haven't picked up on yet. Even beyond that, there may be specific info on how the Jay are planning to exploit a specific data point.  I suspect there would be specific information in there that isn't common knowledge league-wide.

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