Did Joe Mauer tip off pitches to Jason Kubel from second base on Tuesday night? There is some compelling video evidence suggesting Mauer touched the earhole on his helmet to signal curve ball, and the front of his face to signal fastball. The at-bat resulted in a sac-fly for Kubel, cutting the Tigers' lead to 5-2 in an eventual 6-5 Detroit victory. The big question: if he was, indeed, stealing signs, do you consider that cheating or simply gamesmanship? Our take is that it falls somewhere in a grey area, but shades more toward gamesmanship.
Just got off the phone with Tony Faust, a 28-year-old graphic designer who lives in Maple Grove. Faust is the one who posted the video to YouTube. He said he was watching the play in real-time on FSN but had it recorded also. He played it back, recorded the feed off TV with his iPhone and added the captioning.
"I think it was pretty obvious," Faust said of the alleged pitch-tipping from Mauer. "It was perfectly timed."
For the record, he doesn't consider it cheating and doesn't want to get Mauer in trouble. In fact, like many Minnesotans, Faust is a huge fan of the Twins and Mauer.
"He’s a good player ... I think it’s impressive that he’s trying that hard to help his team," Faust said. "I don’t think it’s cheating. Technically, it’s not playing by the code. But what are you going to do? Every team does it."
Faust seemed interested and somewhat taken aback by the interest the footage is generating. As Joe C. notes, Ron Gardenhire and players were swarmed before today's game with questions about it (even if they pretty much laughed off the notion that they're stealing signs). Faust said it was the first time he's noticed any indication of pitch-tipping.
"I never looked for it before," he said. "I guess I will now."
Here is the video that has plenty of people buzzing today.