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If you use a telescope, binoculars, or video camera to steal another team’s signs — THAT is cheating. But if all you use is your eyes, it’s completely within the rules — and it could mean the difference between winning and losing.
Watch an example of Joe Mauer stealing the opposing catcher’s signs and relaying them to his teammate:
I do not advocate stealing signs below the high school level. In lower leagues, it is more important for players to be focusing on executing the fundamentals. Stealing signs — from the catcher or a coach — is an advanced technique that requires concentration and thinking. In addition, players and coaches should always be aware that someone may be watching, and therefore develop means to prevent their signs from being stolen.
We’ll get into the techniques on both sides in the future, but in the meantime if you have any suggestions for stealing signs or preventing the theft of signs, please post your comments.