10/17 19:54 CDT Hinch blows whistle, calls sign stealing suspicions 'a joke'
Hinch blows whistle, calls sign stealing suspicions 'a joke'
By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- Astros manager AJ Hinch blew his own whistle Thursday on sign
stealing and pitch tipping: He's had enough of allegations about Houston
hitters going out of bounds to decipher what's coming at the plate.
Hinch eagerly weighed in again on an issue that won't seem to go away this
postseason. He was asked before Game 4 of the AL Championship Series about
reports that indicated the New York Yankees suspected the Astros of whistling
from their dugout during the opener to communicate pitch selection to their
Major League Baseball looked into it and concluded Houston didn't break any
rules, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to The Associated Press. The
person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
discuss it publicly.
"Man, I'm glad you asked that question, and I thought it would come up today,"
Hinch said at the start of his Yankee Stadium news conference. "In reality,
it's a joke. But Major League Baseball does a lot to ensure the fairness of the
game. There's people everywhere. If you go through the dugouts and the
clubhouses and the hallways, there's like so many people around.
"And then when I get contacted about some questions about whistling, it made me
laugh because it's ridiculous. And had I known that it would take something
like that to set off the Yankees or any other team, we would have practiced it
in spring training," he added. "It apparently works, even when it doesn't
Hinch said he understands the "gamesmanship" and "creating a narrative for
But he's bothered by the anonymous accusations.
"The problem I have is when other people take shots at us outside this
competition," Hinch said. "When you guys ask me this question, my face, my name
is by my quotes, my opinions, my reaction is all for you guys to tweet out and
put on the broadcast. But we have people that are unnamed, or you guys have
sources that are giving you information. I suggest they put their name by it if
they're so passionate about it to comment about my team or my players."
Houston made headlines last year following suspicions of illegal sign stealing
when a man associated with the Astros was caught pointing a cellphone into
"I understand where the paranoia comes from. We have it. I have it," said
Astros ace Justin Verlander, scheduled to start Game 5 on Friday in New York.
"I'll be using multiple signs here tomorrow night. There's just so many cameras
and there's so much video now, it just kind of evolved a few years ago. You've
got teams studying what signs you use at second base before you even step on
the mound. ... You just have to be extremely diligent about it and pay
attention and try to do the best you can to not help the team know what's
Hinch pointed out that during the game in question this time, the Astros were
shut out on three hits by Masahiro Tanaka and three Yankees relievers.
"So nobody heard it. You guys have audio, video, people in places, and nothing.
There's no evidence of anything," Hinch said. "So to the Yankees, there's no
--- nothing bad going on. Pitch tipping is a little bit of a different story.
If you don't want us to know the pitch is coming, don't do something that
demonstrates what pitch you're going to pitch or what you're going to throw.
But they're doing the same thing. Every hitter wants to know what's coming by
virtue of what a pitcher is doing or not doing."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone declined to comment about the whistling
allegations, but acknowledged all teams are always looking to gain an edge ---
and they try to get into each other's heads.
"It's part of the game," he said.
With a World Series berth at stake, Houston held a 2-1 lead in the
best-of-seven playoff between American League heavyweights.
"There's nothing going on other than the competition on the field," Hinch said.
"The fact that I had to field the question before a really, really cool game at
Yankee Stadium is unfortunate. But we can put it to rest. That will be the last
question I answer about pitch tipping or pitch stealing."
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports