MLB: Manuel says Phillies arenít sign-stealers
By Matt Gelb
The Philadelphia Inquirer
MILWAUKEE ó As more and more teams have come out questioning the Phillies' tactics of stealing signs in light of Mick Billmeyer's not-so-hidden binoculars, manager Charlie Manuel once again defended his team.
"I know we play the game right, and that's how we're going to continue on playing," Manuel said. "To me, a man is only as good as his word. . . . That's what I tell my players. And if my word isn't good enough, then I'm in trouble."
After the Rockies formally complained to Major League Baseball about Billmeyer, the bullpen coach, who was taped using binoculars with the Rockies in the field, Manuel was perturbed Wednesday morning.
When asked why teams constantly complain about the Phillies possibly stealing signs, Manuel said, "Because we beat them. That's why. What the hell? Keep crying."
Colorado manager Jim Tracy was not pleased with that comment.
"The suggestion was made that we're crying? We don't cry here, OK? I want to make that very clear right now," Tracy told reporters Thursday. "We work very hard and we work within the framework. So when it's suggested that we're doing something like that, I take exception to that.
"There was a suggestion made that we should stop crying because we're complaining about it because we got beat. That's not why we're complaining about it. We're complaining about it because it's wrong."
Manuel said Friday his comments were not directed at the Rockies.
"I shouldn't have said a word, but I didn't say anything about Colorado or anything about him crying or anything like that," Manuel said. "If I did something, I'll definitely talk to him but I didn't say anything about Colorado. I didn't say anything about that particular game."
The Phillies were not disciplined by Major League Baseball after a review by the Commissioner's Office was inconclusive. But in recent days, other teams have spoken up about the Phillies.
"We've always had our suspicions," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez told The Miami Herald on Thursday.
Florida catcher John Baker said the Marlins have been suspicious of the Phillies since 2008 when the Phillies "took some strange swings at some pitches that went against the scouting report."
While at Citizens Bank Park last season, Gonzalez said he had a bullpen coach and catcher peer over the edge of the visitor's bullpen to see if the Phillies were using shady tactics.
"We never caught anybody," Gonzalez told The Herald. "But we had our suspicions."
The New York Times reported earlier in the week that both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees complained to Major League Baseball during last season's playoffs of concerns the Phillies were using video cameras to steal signs.
Manuel said he didn't mean anything about his comments criticizing the Mets and suggesting they could be stealing signs because of their better home than road record.
"He just likes to put some spice in the rivalry," Mets manager Jerry Manuel told reporters Thursday.
Regardless if Manuel didn't say what he meant about Tracy and the Rockies, it should be interesting when Colorado visits Philadelphia on July 23.
"Let's face it, when you play one another for in the division series and 2007 and end up playing them again last year in the division series, I think it's only human nature," Tracy said. "I think it is a rivalry. That's what ends up starting and beginning what is termed a rivalry, and it can be very healthy."