Phillies’ Shane Victorino Raises Eyebrows With Response to Larry Bowa

November 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

We all know the story of the 1951 New York Giants.

They mounted a historical comeback on the Brooklyn Dodgers and finally won the pennant on the final day of the season behind Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

But, as it would be discovered later on, they did it with the help of a camera mounted in centerfield.

Now let’s flash forward to 2007.

The New York Mets were in the depths of an epic collapse within the NL East, and they accused the pursuing Philadelphia Phillies of using a centerfield camera to steal signs during games at Citizen’s Bank Park.

The Mets asked the league to look into the issue in 2007, but the investigation was inconclusive.

Not unfounded, but inconclusive.

The story has gained new life during the 2009 World Series after former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, who currently serves as third base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, remarked that the defending champs were “good at stealing signs.”

Bowa made the comments on a Philadelphia radio station, and Charlie Manuel didn’t have the opportunity to respond at the pregame press conference on Monday because Manuel had not gotten wind of the situation yet.

That’s when Shane Victorino stepped into play.

Victornio responded in an irate and fuming manner, and he had this to say about the comments from Bowa:

“I guess I’m not smart enough to steal signs, so obviously it’s not working for me,” he said. “I guess if it’s an art, it’s an art, but for a guy to pop off like that and say that’s why we’re not successful right now, that’s what I’m trying to get at.”

Now, Victorino never played for Bowa, as the flyin’ Hawaiian came to Philly in 2005, which was one year after Bowa’s tenure as manager expired.

But logically, how difficult would it be to mount a camera in centerfield under the nose of everyone, including the league?

Not very.

And don’t you think the league would want to keep this under wraps even if they had found a camera in centerfield?

Victorino insists that they wouldn’t have lost the first two games at home against the Yankees in this World Series if they had been stealing signs, and this is why I have a problem with the way Victorino disputed the issue.

He never said straight up that the Phillies don’t steal signs, and his response was unusually aggressive towards Bowa. 

This is where I made my decision that maybe something is going on, because Victorino didn’t have to say anything about this.

He could have swept it under the mat and dismissed it as an off base comment from Bowa, or Victorino could have moved on with his pursuit of capturing another championship. 

Instead, he was the only player on the team to respond, and he attacked Bowa for not knowing what he was talking about because things were different when he managed the team.

“Don’t talk about what has happened or what you know. If you know for a fact that we’re stealing signs, then that’s a different story,” said Victorino.

What does he mean by “that’s a different story?”

Is Victorino unknowingly implying that the Phillies’ indeed do steal signs, but since Bowa doesn’t know the process that he should keep his mouth shut?

The thing is that the accusations began in 2007, two years after Bowa had left the team, so he wouldn’t be commenting as an insider about the situation.

Look, we all know that stealing signs is a part of the game, but you have to use your eyes and not the lens of a camera to do so.

The big thing is that stealing signs doesn’t make for guaranteed production, and that’s where I see a giant hole in Victorino’s story. He makes it out that if you know the other team’s signs, you will automatically win.

Sure, you might know that a breaking ball is on the way, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to do something productive with the pitch.

Maybe you pop it up, maybe you ground out, or heck, maybe you hit a home run.

I just don’t buy Victorino’s defense.

Thanks to Victorino’s interesting comments, I think that something is awry in Philly, and somewhere Bobby Thompson is quietly chuckling.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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