Was Aaron Judge swiping the Toronto Blue Jays' signs on Monday night in the eighth inning? It's possible! It's very possible that the Yankees dugout was onto reliever Jay Jackson and relaying his tells to Judge in the box.
But you know what? That's baseball. And when even former Red Sox players are telling the screaming masses to quiet down, you know we've really reached Peak Crazy online.
Will Middlebrooks, the title-winning third baseman on the 2013 World Series champions, pinpointed exactly what the Blue Jays probably did wrong, turning his gaze on catcher Alejandro Kirk.
According to Middlebrooks' experience, Kirk left himself completely exposed to the Yankees' first base coach, who was more than likely reading and interpreting Toronto's signals (or, at the very least, dictating the catcher's obvious positioning on the outside part of the plate to Judge). Following his initial tweet, Middlebrooks later confirmed Toronto was using dummy signs and PitchCom was active.
Maybe the Yankees' coaches were picking up a leak directly from Blue Jays reliever Jay Jackson instead. Either that, or they could predict his pattern by the time the sixth straight slider rolled around. Could've been Judge trying to get under Toronto's skin. If so, it worked.
Yankees might've had Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk's signs, so he should probably be better
You know this is nothing if Middlebrooks is defending the Yankees. He famously swayed Trevor Story in free agency by telling him New York smells terrible and is packed with rats. Even this guy thinks Toronto's overreacting!
Don't believe Middlebrooks? Take it from his podcast cohost Danny Vietti, who reminded everyone on Tuesday morning that any high school or college team on this beautiful planet spends a good deal of the game trying to swipe signs from the opposing dugout.
Kirk, somehow, managed to open up his stance, combine PitchCom with some dummy signs and give the game away.
From the Jays' side (sigh), ESPN's Buster Olney believes Toronto thinks they've got something to clean up. Olney claims Toronto believes Jackson and Kirk were "betraying the identity of the forthcoming pitches" in Monday's series opener -- but he could've probably just said "tipping pitches," which is a normal, common phrase.
PitchCom should've rendered Kirk's open stance irrelevant a long time ago, and who knows? Maybe it did. Maybe the Yankees had something on Jackson, or maybe Judge just wanted the Jays to think they had a problem.
Either way, the Astros have poisoned the discourse, causing fans to forget the gamesmanship element of sign stealing that's existed for centuries. All of a sudden, Judge looking sideways is the same as hooking a buzzer up to your nipple. Kudos to Middlebrooks for breaking down why this entire thing was kosher, whether the Yankees dugout had information or not.