Blue Jays' Jay Jackson admits he was 'kind of tipping the pitch' before Aaron Judge's homer
The kerfuffle between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees over possible sign stealing has (hopefully) come to an end.
Jays pitcher Jay Jackson admitted in an interview with The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that he was tipping his pitches when he faced Yankees slugger Aaron Judge on Monday. Judge took Jackson deep after spending a portion of the at-bat shifting his eyes to the side, as if he were looking for something toward the first-base side.
Turns out Judge was looking for something: a sign from first-base coach Travis Chapman, who had picked up on Jackson's pitch grip from his position on the field.
“From what I was told, I was kind of tipping the pitch,” said Jackson, who after striking out the first two batters in the eighth inning threw Judge six straight sliders, the final one on 3-2. “It was [less] my grip when I was coming behind my ear. It was the time it was taking me from my set position, from my glove coming from my head to my hip. On fastballs, I was kind of doing it quicker than on sliders. They were kind of picking up on it.”
Here's Judge's homer and the tipped pitch that helped him hit it. You can hear Jays broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez discussing Judge's sideways glances and what they could mean.
Aaron Judge hits a home run as the Blue Jays broadcasters wonder why he keeps glancing toward the dugout pic.twitter.com/ZrOY7grbYV
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 16, 2023
It's fair to point out here that sign stealing in baseball is not illegal. If a player or coach can figure out the signs between a pitcher and catcher or pick up on a pitcher's tell and then communicate that to their teammates, that's legal in baseball. But when a player uses electronic means to steal signs (like the Houston Astros did in 2017), that's illegal. What Judge and Chapman did was perfectly legal under MLB's rules.
The Jays are now being extra vigilant to make sure their pitchers aren't tipping, and they're also making sure the Yankees aren't getting any extra advantages. Chapman was outside of his first-base coach box on Monday when Judge hit that homer, so the Jays asked the Yankees to make sure Chapman stays inside his box.
And what did the Yankees do in response? According to Rosenthal, the Yankees later asked the Jays to make sure their first-base coach stays in the box, too.