Yankees in dugout continue to strongly insist no sign stealing against Mets

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Yankees and Mets clear benches at Citi Field
Yankees and Mets clear benches at Citi Field

In Game One of the 2019 American League Championship Series, players and coaches in the Yankees’ dugout believed that Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron was whistling to convey stolen signs.

An Astros source later confirmed to me that Yanks catcher Gary Sanchez was tipping pitches by rising higher in his stance when a fastball was coming, and that the whistling allegation was true.

During that game, Yanks manager Aaron Boone, asked by Cintron what he was going to do about it, said, “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to raise it with [home plate umpire] Bill [Welke].”

Boone’s gripe was that then-MLB officials Joe Torre, Chris Young and Peter Woodfork had visited managers offices that spring to specifically emphasize that whistling to convey pitch tipping and sign stealing was against the rules and would be newly enforced.

The argument escalated to the point where Yanks third base coach Phil Nevin screamed to Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, “Tell your f--king hitting coach I’m gonna kick his f--king ass!”

This was not real-time electronic sign stealing, but illegal nonetheless, one of the final acts in Houston’s three-year cycle of rule breaking to obtain signs.

This context made the Mets’ allegation against the Yankees on Sunday night particularly jarring.

According to ESPN’s Marly Rivera and Buster Olney, Jonathan Villar believed that the Yanks were doing exactly what had so deeply offended them about the Astros in 2019.

In a retaliatory taunt, Francisco Lindor whistled at the Yankees’ dugout during one of his home runs. Giancarlo Stanton later chirped at Lindor while rounding the bases after his homer, and the benches cleared.

“Over the past couple days — I can’t accuse them of whistling for the signs because I’m not 100 percent [sure],” Lindor said on Sunday night. “But I know what I heard. I felt like there was something out of the ordinary going on. I heard what I heard. I’m not accusing them. I’m not saying I heard them doing it 100 percent, because I don’t know 100 percent. But it definitely felt that way and I took that personally.”

On Monday morning, Yankees people present in the dugout continued to insist in the strongest possible terms that the story they told publicly on Sunday was true: Reliever Wandy Peralta was yelling and whistling to try to liven up the team.

“Wandy is kind of the class clown,” one irritated Yankee said on Monday by telephone. “This is a total non-story.”

According to sources in the Mets dugout, Villar believed that he noticed the whistling on Saturday, when he was playing third base and Taijuan Walker was pitching.

Villar noticed that Walker was tipping pitches, and specifically heard Peralta whistling in the dugout. The whistling wasn’t widespread as far as the Mets knew, but limited to Peralta.

The Mets were not certain that Peralta was whistling to communicate the tipping. Privately, Mets staff accepted that Peralta was acting on his own, whatever he was doing, and there was not organized cheating.

Mets brass, meanwhile, was planning to discuss the incident late Monday morning to determine whether it was worth pursuing with MLB.

The attitude coming from the Yankees on Monday morning was a strong sense of, 'Let them look into it if they want to.' The team feels it has nothing to hide.

The Yankees’ anger in 2019 and 2020 regarding Houston’s actions was not manufactured. Following Villar’s allegation on Sunday, Yankees players and field staff remain extremely adamant they were not doing the same, and highly annoyed that Mets players raised it.