Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado has seldom spent a moment out of the headlines since the start of the MLB playoffs, from being criticized for lack of hustle, to being called a “dirty player” by opposing players, and, of course, playing some clutch baseball. Now, Boston Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie says he caught Machado stealing signs during Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, which the Red Sox won 4-2.
But let’s be clear: sign stealing has been going on in baseball for practically as long as the game has existed, and it’s not against the rules. What LeVangie is upset about is that he himself did not alert starting pitcher David Price to the situation soon enough.
Machado was repeating motions LeVangie interpreted as relaying signs, including touching his helmet with his left or right hand, and pulling or touching his uniform lettering.
The fourth-inning Puig at-bat resulted in an RBI single that put the Dodgers up 2-1. So why didn’t LeVangie go out earlier? Price had just battled through a nine-pitch at-bat to strike out Kiké Hernandez with one out and two runners on base, including Machado at second.
Had the Dodgers held on the to win, LeVangie surely would be kicking himself even more for the delayed decision, which could have cost his team a win. But in retrospect, it was just a harmless learning experience.
Regardless of who’s at fault, Machado will surely be under even more scrutiny as the series continues Friday night in Los Angeles.