There has been no shortage of drama in this year’s National League Championship Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. First it was the play at first base where Manny Machado kicked Jesus Aguilar, which Christian Yelich called “a dirty play by a dirty player.” Then it was The Wade Miley Gambit, where the lefty was scheduled as the game five starter but was removed after one batter as the surprise opener for Brandon Woodruff. Now we can apparently add another layer to the intrigue.
According to a report from Robert Murray of The Athletic, some employees of the Brewers, including players, suspect that the Dodgers are stealing their signs. Los Angeles is said to have a reputation as one of the top teams in the league at decoding the opposing signs, but Milwaukee’s concerns appear to extend beyond simple gamesmanship:
“There is concern amongst some Brewers that the Dodgers are using video to pick up their signs, multiple sources tell The Athletic. One person inside the organization said that on videos of the games, a coach could be seen running from the hallway into the Dodgers’ dugout whenever a runner reached second base, possibly a sign that L.A. was relaying a pitchers’ sequences to the runner during those at-bats.”
Murray explains that the Brewers have reported their concerns to MLB, but that the league’s security personnel had not detected anything along those lines. Still, the concerns apparently remain:
“They use video people to get sequences,” one Brewers source said of the Dodgers. “It’s known throughout the league. MLB knows it’s an issue.”
Said another: “It’s one thing if your signs suck and the runner on second base can tell, but when you have a video person trained on the signs, that’s not right.”
Other than changing their signs around and making them as complex as possible, there probably is not a whole lot that the Brewers can do about this perceived issue at this time. The Astros were just accused of a similar tactic, stealing signs by stationing a team employee in a camera well. But Houston was cleared despite apparent evidence to the contrary, and even if the Astros or Dodgers were found guilty of cheating in this fashion, the penalty would probably be something more along the lines of a hefty fine and loss of draft picks, not the retroactive loss of games or forced forfeiture.
With our Menomonee Valley Nine facing a must-win scenario in tonight’s game six at Miller Park, this is certainly a situation that bears monitoring.