Cruising through the Book of Faces last night, I caught a glimpse of some photos from a high school friend now living in Chicago.
She and her husband were sitting in the legendary outfield bleachers at Wrigley Field, and she happened to capture a few moments of odd baseball behavior.
These are her photos. What do you see happening?
I saw the pics, and thought, “it’s gotta be a bag of sunflower seeds.” I watch (more than) enough baseball to know there’s no sane center fielder who is going to take a cellphone out into the field of play.
Such behavior is total bush league — and it’s also frowned upon by the major leagues. So much so, in fact, that it’s against the rules of play. Players aren’t even supposed to have mobile devices in the dugout.
According to my very reliable source, however, the player in question, San Diego Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia, appeared to check his phone four or five times during the game, making defensive adjustments every time an apparent text came. She also mentioned that the player he replaced (Will Venable) seemed to check a phone to make a defensive adjustment, too, but it only happened once with him.
“Seriously, that happened several times,” she told me. “Someone said that it was the manager giving him strategy, but I read that phones are not supposed to be used… fine-punishable type of thing.”
“Plus, don’t they have signals for that?”
If this story is true… sweet mercy. We all know the Padres suck harder than a Dyson. This would just add to the embarrassment. Heck, most high school teams are adept at making their adjustments by relaying signals from manager to infield to outfield.
Of course, we don’t know for sure that it is true.
Perhaps Denorfia was simply cross-checking the (totally legal) signals he was getting from coaches and/or teammates against some kind of decoder chart — one that looks a bit like a cellphone. It may sound absurd, but crazier things have happened in baseball.