If you haven't heard yet, Jose Bautista is a really good baseball player. And when he's playing up north of the border, he's one of the best and most feared hitters in baseball. After his first boost in 2010 that saw him go from a season high of 16 home runs to a total of 54 and his OPS jump .240 points the rumors started swirling about steroids. But with the lack of a positive test, the claim that Bautista made an adjustment to his swing accounting for the added power, and that most of his home runs were pulled to the same side of the field left the steroid rumors without a lot of fuel to put on the fire.
Well, now it isn't just rumors that are going to around about Bautista and the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays and it doesn't have anything to do with performance enhancing drugs. Players and managers are accusing the Blue Jays of using the aide of people in the outfield to steal signs and the stats are backing up those claims.
There is a great article about it up here from ESPN and in that article it has the stats that suggest there is something going on whenever the Blue Jays step up to the plate at the Rogers Centre. The numbers are so out of control that Cris Myers, a writer for Baseball Prospectus, even wrote a piece on how in was more then just a statistical anomaly before this report came to light. It isn't as if it's just for Bautista either, there are other players that are having huge splits between home and away games.
As for what is allegedly happening, it boils down to this. There is man in a white shirt in the perfect spot to be seen by a batter in the outfield seats. The batter wouldn't even have to adjust his stance to be able to see this fan, and the placement is obviously of the utmost importance. Somehow, whether someone else is watching the signs through binoculars and relaying the signs or something else, the “fan” is being told what pitch is being thrown. If it's an off-speed pitch such as a change-up, curve, or slider the “fan” will raise his arms up over his head. And if he doesn't raise his arms, the players know that they can sit on a fastball and swing for the fences.
Personally, I think that it's the truth. Teams will try anything to get an edge, especially in your division includes the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Add that to what the players have said and the stats that back up the idea that it's more then just a conspiracy theory and you have a believer in me.