Phillies deny stealing signs against Rockies
By ARNIE STAPLETON
DENVER — Binoculars in the bullpen? Major League Baseball didn't like what it saw, and has told the Philadelphia Phillies to knock it off.
The Phillies insisted yesterday they weren't trying to steal signs when bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught on camera peering through binoculars from the bullpen bench at Coors Field in Monday's 9-5 win over the Rockies.
Manager Charlie Manuel told The Associated Press that Billmeyer simply was watching Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz set up defensively.
FSN Rocky Mountain, the flagship broadcaster of the Colorado Rockies, showed Billmeyer using the binoculars to peer in on Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo while the Phillies were at bat in the top of the second inning.
It also showed a quick image of Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino in the dugout on the bullpen phone in the top of the second.
"We were not trying to steal signs," Manuel said. "Would we try to steal somebody's signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don't do that. We're not going to let a guy stand up there in the bullpen with binoculars looking in. We're smarter than that."
FOXSports.com first reported the reprimand from the league, which reviewed video of the matter Tuesday.
While sign-stealing is something all teams try to do, using electronic equipment, enhanced devices and technology is not allowed in baseball.
Victorino, a St. Anthony alum from Maui, said the Phillies weren't bothered by the controversy.
"Nope, not paying attention," he said. "It's not necessary."
Asked if he was concerned about the perception the Phillies might be cheating, Victorino said brusquely: "I'll let myself say 'no comment.' I think Charlie answered it enough for us."
The Rockies weren't buying any of Manuel's explanations.
"As far as I'm concerned it's out of line," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "You know what, I don't think any club in baseball that's competing against that team would take too kindly to that."