Christian Yelich Took a Swing at Yu Darvish on Twitter with Electronic Assistance, Still Whiffed

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Christian Yelich Took a Swing at Yu Darvish on Twitter with Electronic Assistance, Still Whiffed

Chicago Cubs

Look, I wasn’t trying to create some beef. Heck, I wasn’t even trying to piss off Brewers fans (this time).

Here’s what happened: Yu Darvish created a fantastic YouTube video to talk about sign-stealing and the growth experience of the 2017 World Series, in which – I’m saying – he probably got screwed by the Astros. That video was translated and turned into an interview piece in the LA Times, which you must read.

In that piece, there was this section, which understandably caught my eye:

“He also shared concerns of how widespread the practice of sign-stealing might be.

Darvish recalled a game this season in which he stepped off the mound multiple times because he noticed something unusual. Batters typically have their eyes set on the pitcher. In this particular game, he observed they were looking into left-center field.”

Like absolutely anyone reading the article, I wondered which team he was talking about. I wondered if I could find an example.

So, I did some really quick process-of-elimination gymnastics to limit the search: it was almost certainly on the road, so there’s half the starts gone. From there, I was definitely going to start with the Brewers because (1) I’ve heard rumors from inside baseball going back to last year (and even before that), and (2) there was a report out of St. Louis that “multiple players” have said the teams they view as the most egregious in stealing signs were the Astros, Rangers, and Brewers.

Turns out, Darvish made just one start at Miller Park this year, so the initial search was really limited. And wouldn’t you know, in the very first inning, there was an odd moment when Yu Darvish stepped off in a way that was not at all typical for him. I watched the moment about 50 times, and the OFF-CENTER camera was zoomed in on the batter, Christian Yelich, as Victor Caratini dropped his sign.

That’s when I saw it:

Yelichs settles in. Is staring at Darvish – as you’d expect a batter to do – and then, as the sign goes down, Yelich’s eyes dart very quickly toward left center, where the Brewers bullpen is, then back to Darvish. That’s when Darvish steps off, making a motion to his right. It was exactly what Darvish had described in the article, so it jumped out to me.

(The camera angles created some confusion for folks, but the game-action camera is dead straight on, and the batter-focused camera is in left-center.)

Anyway, so I saw this, it fit perfectly with what Darvish said, so I shared it. Maybe it sounds like BS that I’m not hurling an “accusation,” but in that moment, I wasn’t. Instead, like Darvish, I was saying it looked odd.

For his part, in replies to the original thread, Darvish seemed to agree that this was the play – or an example of the play – he was talking about, but he also wasn’t specifically accusing the Brewers of cheating:

Darvish wasn’t sure what was up. But in an era where there *ARE* teams using electronic assistance and signals from the outfield to tip off batters, he stepped off. Because he wasn’t sure what was up. That’s it. Against the current backdrop of the Astros scandal, it’s an interesting and worthy conversation.

But man, Christian Yelich was not happy. He decided to go overboard and take a swing at Darvish on Twitter, like completely innocent, chill people usually do (subsequently deleted), writing: “Be better than this. Nobody needs help facing you.”

Setting aside the fact that Darvish has actually owned Yelich’s Brewers teammates over the course of his career, it’s just a really aggressive thing to say, and definitely didn’t make me any less curious about Yelich’s insane home-road splits at times with respect to Miller Park.

For his part, because he’s classy as hell, Darvish wound up just having a lot of fun with the moment, rather than clapping back:

Funny aside (or maybe a previously-simmering issue?) – this is actually the second time Yelich has had to deny he knew in advance what pitches were coming from Yu Darvish:

In conclusion, summing things up in a positive way:

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.