Author Archives: Kent Sterling

Stealing signs is what baseball is all about – good for Rhode Island, my new favorite team #LLWS

Stealing signs is as American as baseball. In fact, it IS baseball.

New Hampshire’s Little League team is upset about Rhode Island’s team stealing signs during its regional game earlier this month.

It seems Rhode Island runners at second base may have been stealing signs from the catcher and flashing them to the batter.  Can you imagine!

Sign stealing has been a part of baseball since signs were invented.  It’s how baseball is played.  Signs are designed to hide strategies – like pitches, bunting, hit and runs, steals, and all kinds of other stuff.

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At some point, the big brain adults at Little League Baseball decided sign stealing should be made illegal.  Why?  Great question.  Maybe coming up with a set of signs that was tough to steal was too difficult for coaches.  Maybe players enjoyed stealing signs as much as I did when I was a kid.

There was nothing better when I was 10 than figuring out an opponent’s signs.  It felt like we had cracked a safe containing the secrets of the world.  The key was then to respond in a way that didn’t let the other team know we had them.

Baseball is not just a game of hitting, catching, and throwing a ball.  It’s much deeper than that.  Baseball is about planning, strategy, subterfuge, and secrecy.  That’s what makes it fun.  That’s why kids and adults love it.

For a 12-year old to stand at second, see a catcher’s sign, and communicate it to the hitter without tipping that he knows the signs is the most purely baseball activity a kid can enjoy on a baseball field.

At the Major League level, the guys in the dugout are constantly trying to figure out signs as they are relayed from the manager to third base coach to runners and the hitter.  Runners on second stare into the catcher’s nether regions each pitch to see if he can figure out which sequence of hand movements mean fastball, cutter, curve, slider, and the location of the pitch.

Stealing signals is a purely American act that goes back to the “Ride of Paul Revere”, and the signs used to communicate whether the British were coming by land of by sea.  If the British has cracked our one if by land and two if by sea, who knows how the Revolutionary War would have ended?

If Rhode Island cracked New Hampshire’s signs, that’s on New Hampshire, and they should own it rather than appealing to some panel.  Seems that one team taught kids how to win, and the other is teaching its players how to whine.

Shame on Little League Baseball for outlawing sign stealing, and shame on New Hampshire for valuing rules over gamesmanship.

BWK – Colts practice quiet; LLWS – Why is sign stealing illegal? Nike OK’ed $ to Romeo?

SNBS – Colts ready for Browns; Luck needs to be transparent; IU Football QB battle makes hope tough

After watching one IU Football practice, I’m not as hopeful as I would like – and I’m an optimist

If I had to pick a starting QB for IU, it would be Michael Penix because in thew unknown, there is hope.

There is this feeling in my gut that criticizing Indiana University’s football program is unfair.  Indiana fans have nothing but hope to keep them coming back to Memorial Stadium – well, hope and beer.

It hurts to write a post that doesn’t help IU fans hope.

Hope in IU Football has almost always poorly invested as the horrifying reality becomes apparent soon enough.  It’s just enough to get fans through September’s beautiful Saturdays before the fall overcast skies, chills, and Big 10 opponents ruin the fun.

I went to an IU Football practice yesterday in search of some justification for hope.  I want to believe in IU Football, so I watched practice looking for positives.

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Before I go any further, it’s important to understand I have gone to a total of that one single practice, and that practice was held 18 days before the season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium against Ball State.  To go to one practice and believe you have all the answers about a football team is arrogant and stupid.

When I left, my only reasons for hope are that I saw the Hoosiers on the wrong day, my sample size was too small, and I don’t know enough about football to accurate appraise a team in two hours of paying attention to them.

I’m usually pretty good at talking myself into believing in a team.  I am to sports teams as the guy at the end of the bar at closing time is to women finishing their last drinks.  They are all good looking enough to squint and see the good.

 

I squinted like hell yesterday.  I turned my head sideways.  I spun in a circle to make myself dizzy.  But I couldn’t find a reason to believe IU can find a way to go to win three games against Big 10 teams.

There is a saying in football that if you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have any starting quarterbacks.  I can’t find a saying about having three starting QBs, but that is what coach Tom Allen insists he has.

Peyton Ramsey, Michael Penix, and Jack Tuttle are competing for the top spot, just as Peyton Ramsey, Michael Penix, and Brandon Dawkins were neck and neck and neck last year.

Ramsey won the job for 2018 and started all 12 games.  Clearly, his work wasn’t enough to earn him the job for 2019 or Allen would already have named him the starter.  Penix has fully recovered from a torn ACL and is quite mobile.  Tuttle transferred to IU from Utah.

Ramsey is the known quantity – low risk, low reward.  Penix is the athletic wild card – high risk, high reward.  Tuttle appears to be at least a year away despite a good arm.

The defense looked good, but it should given the uncertainty at quarterback and a great familiarity of IU’s offensive schemes.

Allen encouraged and barked into a megaphone in equal measure.  He was not nearly as frenetic during practice as during games, but still seemed much more comfortable coaching kids than delegating authority to his coordinators and position coaches.

I would love to write that I believe Indiana is going bowling in December, but I can’t.  I’ll still be down there for the six home game Saturdays this fall, but it looks like the beer and laughs will be the big reason – again – for my attendance.  Hope I’m wrong about that.

Here are 10 irrefutable truths about Andrew Luck’s ankle and the Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck might be smiling, but he is not a fan of sharing the truth with media.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck loves football, but he is not a fan of the fame that comes with it.  That much is clear.

He’s never told us that, but it’s communicated in his weekly media availabilities as he effusively communicates very little.  Luck clearly believes that his health is a private matter, and he is not eager to share the details of his various diagnoses and treatments.

Coach Frank Reich defers to Luck when discussing health, but owner Jim Irsay says all kinds of things when quizzed about Luck being on the shelf.  Whether his comments are driven by a desire to open fans’ wallets or simply please them, who knows?  But he is always incredibly optimistic.

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GM Chris Ballard probably came the closest to telling the truth yesterday in discussing a change in the diagnosis from Irsay’s claim of a bone problem to a condition with his high ankle.  Ballard released the tension by relating that Luck was not likely to play in the final three preseason games.  That bought Luck a couple of weeks to rehab in peace and quiet.

Fame can be a difficult companion for those who want to maintain a private life, but transparency is always best.  A craving for privacy brings the appearance of secrecy, and secrecy activates the media’s desire to investigate.  The truth satisfies the media, and ironically deflates the public curiosity that drives famous people crazy.

We are big fans of the truth, so here are 10 truths about the Colts and Luck’s ankle/calf:

  1. No one knows when the pain will go away..
  2. Everyone wants to know when Luck will be pain free, and Luck is at the top of that list.
  3. This story is exhausting for everyone – Luck, the Colts, fans, and media.
  4. Jacoby Brissett may be a nice guy and talented back-up, but he’s not Andrew Luck.
  5. The Colts can win a Super Bowl with Luck at QB, but may not make the playoffs with Brissett as the starter.
  6. Luck hates being famous.
  7. Ballard is an honest man with a track record of telling the truth.
  8. Jim Irsay should be encouraged to avoid interviews.
  9. As long as Luck has an aversion to telling the complete truth, the rantings of conspiracy theorists will be plausible.
  10. The Colts will finish the season with a better record than the Chicago Bears whether or not Luck plays this season.

Breakfast with Kent – Ballard tries to come clean; IU QB battle shows IU needs a QB; Cubs lose

SNBS – IU Football update w/DeBoer, Ramsey, Penix; IU Volleyball with coach Steve Aird

BWK – Colts Rock almost KOs Rake; IU QB job down to Penix & Ramsey; Pacers schedule’s out