Must Read of the Day: Yu Darvish on Sign-Stealing, the World Series, and a Prevalent Problem

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Must Read of the Day: Yu Darvish on Sign-Stealing, the World Series, and a Prevalent Problem

Chicago Cubs

It was one of the first things that came to Cubs fans’ minds when the Houston Astros electronic-sign-stealing scandal broke: wait, 2017 was the year that they destroyed Yu Darvish in the World Series, right?

I haven’t said much about it yet because Darvish, himself, kinda distanced it right away with a joke, and the previous belief was that – rather than sign-stealing – the issue in that series was tipping pitches combined with a problematic baseball combined with some poor pitches against a good lineup. I didn’t really want to offer Darvish an excuse if he didn’t want it, especially given that only one of his two blow-up starts was in Houston.

Thankfully, though, Darvish is now speaking about the series, and about his philosophy as a person. You must read this (or you can watch Darvish’s YouTube video on the topic if you speak Japanese):

Turns out, that story about Darvish tipping his pitches? The Dodgers and Darvish investigated thoroughly, and it was bogus. He wasn’t tipping. So you now know exactly what was happening.

But Darvish’s grace and next-level thinking – beyond sport – is so apparent, and he’s not going to blame it all on the Astros: “I feel that if I absolve myself and say it was the Astros’ fault I was bad in Game 7, in the World Series, I can’t develop as a person. In life, I think huge failures are extremely important. I’ve had a few up to this point. The World Series was one of them. I think it will remain a point of reference for me. I’ve already learned a lot from it. So regarding that, I can’t view myself charitably. I think I have to continue to accept the results.”

Oh, and about the road/home thing? With Game 7 having been on the road in Los Angeles? Darvish makes a very good point that is so very obvious that I’m ashamed I hadn’t considered it:

Darvish added that, for himself, he couldn’t win the World Series by stealing signs – like, he couldn’t feel good about it knowing that’s how he did it. Again, he praises the Astros for being great hitters, and says they would’ve had the same success no matter what … but he’s also saying that if they did this, and it did help them, it’s not the kind of thing he would be able to feel good about if it were his team.

One last bit that’ll get us all sleuthing: Darvish says he thinks the problem is really widespread, and he noticed it this season – against an unnamed team – when the batters were looking out to left center field before his delivery, rather than looking at him. So he stepped off. Hmm. Wonder what team it was?

I figured why not check out Darvish’s one start in Milwaukee this year, given the rumors about the Brewers. Wouldn’t you know it? In Christian Yelich’s very first at bat, he locks onto Darvish with his gaze, and then his eyes move to his left – where the Milwaukee bullpen is – and then Darvish steps off:

Is this what Darvish was talking about? Were the Brewers definitely cheating and that would explain Yelich’s insane home-road splits? Sincerely, I’m not drawing firm conclusions here. But man, when Darvish says this happened, and then you see an example that quickly? I’m just saying it stuck out to me.

UPDATE: Kinda seems like maybe this was indeed was Darvish was talking about – but to be sure, he’s not making an accusation:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.