SPORTO: Steal This Sign


BY MIKE WOLVERTON In honor of my ADD children, here’s a quick Q&A with myself on some of this weekend’s pressing sports issues.

Q: Are the Flyers the greatest team ever?

A: Obviously. Here’s a team that has had goaltending issues since the Lindbergh/Hextall days of the ‘80s. There’s seemingly a new goalie in town every year (who remembers Ray Emery?). Now the plan has been accelerated to a new goalie every two weeks! The Flyers fell behind the Bruins three games to none in Round 2 of the playoffs, then lost goalie Brian Boucher to injury in Game 5. When they fell behind 2-0 in Friday’s Game 7 in Boston, I actually thought they should just pull the goalie and accept a three-goal defecit right then, because the series had shown that the Flyers weren’t ready to come back until they trailed 3-0. The third Boston goal came quickly enough without pulling the goalie, but starting with James van Riemsdyk’s gift-wrapped tally to get Philly going, the Flyers have now scored ten consecutive goals without conceding. Sunday night they chased Montreal netminder Jaroslav Halak (“The best goaltender in the playoffs”) in merely thirty minutes. And this week’s Flyers goalie, Michael Leighton (27 NHL games played in the previous five seasons), is working on five straight scoreless periods. Seven more wins to the Stanley Cup….

Q: Does Danny Mwanga’s stoppage-time equalizer mean the Union’s top draft pick has arrived?iggy-phillies.jpg

A: Not yet. But it was a wicked strike. As for Mwanga’s post-goal hug-the-coach maneuver…was it a ”Got Your Back” moment or a blatant suckup for more playing time? Mwanga was an 81st minute substitute in this match and has played just 115 minutes in seven games. His goal kept the Union undefeated at home (a win and a draw), but they are 0-5 on the road. Next up: three more away games before PPL Park opens in Chester on June 27th.

Q: Does anybody besides me still care about Horse Racing now that there’s no chance for a Triple Crown in 2010?

A: No. This question presumes that anyone cared beforehand, which is in doubt.

Q: Were the Phillies stealing signs from the Rockies?

A: Of course. Now get over it. Stealing signs in baseball is as time-honored as hot dogs and spit tobacco. Sure, you should try not to get caught. Is using binoculars a bit extreme? Probably. But show me in the rulebook where it says stealing signs is against the rules (you won’t find it). This contrasts with the Patriots’ Spygate scandal in that NFL rules expressly forbid the videotaping of other team’s signals. The Patriots broke a rule. The Phillies didn’t break, but instead complied with the “unwritten rule” that says “stealing signs has always been part of the game”. The Phils just need to be a little more covert next time.

Q: Should binoculars be banned?

A: Good God no. I’ve worked seven seasons in baseball and I can tell you that binoculars are absolutely essential for checking out the hot girls in the stands.

This two-picture sequence provided by FSN Rocky Mountain Sports shows Philadelphia Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer using binoculars in the bullpen during last Monday night’s baseball game between the Phillies and the Colorado Rockies.

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