Dusty brushes off Tepera's implication Astros could be stealing signs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Houston manager Dusty Baker, here arguing with umpire Tom Hallion in the fourth inning of Game 3 Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, wasn't especially moved by Sox pitcher Ryan Tepera implying the Astros might be stealing signs.

    Houston manager Dusty Baker, here arguing with umpire Tom Hallion in the fourth inning of Game 3 Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, wasn't especially moved by Sox pitcher Ryan Tepera implying the Astros might be stealing signs. Associated Press

  • White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera, working in the fifth inning of the American League Division Series Sunday against Houston, implied the Astros might be stealing signs.

    White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera, working in the fifth inning of the American League Division Series Sunday against Houston, implied the Astros might be stealing signs. Associated Press

  • A White Sox fan before Sunday night's Game 3 at Guaranteed Rate Field shows what he thinks of the Houston Astros' past transgressions with sign stealing.

    A White Sox fan before Sunday night's Game 3 at Guaranteed Rate Field shows what he thinks of the Houston Astros' past transgressions with sign stealing. Courtesy of Matt Baron

 
Updated 10/11/2021 2:13 PM

Dusty Baker shared some wisdom Monday in responding to allegations by White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera that the Houston Astros might be resorting to cheating again.

"I was listening to Eric Clapton (Monday) morning, and he has a song (with the lyrics) " 'Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself,' " Baker replied after Game 4 of this best-of-five American League Division Series was postponed and rescheduled for 1:07 p.m. Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

 

"That's all I got to say."

The song was actually written by Bo Diddley, but Baker sported a smirk similar to the look Tepera displayed after raising his suspicions late Sunday following the Sox's 12-6 win in Game 3, in which the Astros struck out 16 times -- the same amount as their combined total in Games 1 and 2 victories at Minute Maid Park.

"They've had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there," Tepera said. "We can say it's a little bit of a difference.

"I think you saw the swings and misses tonight, compared to the first two games at Minute Maid (Park)."

Tepera made his comments less than two years after the Astros were assessed with a $5 million fine, the loss of their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for one year and subsequently fired.

Tepera hasn't been shy about expressing his thoughts this season. After receiving a three-game suspension and undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing at Milwaukee pitcher Brandon Woodruff, Tepera said "Today's game of baseball has become a bit soft."

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Tepera's comments caught the attention of Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, who tweeted: "Always good to get an extra motivation."

Baker described Tepera's accusation as "heavy," although third baseman Alex Bregman didn't seem rattled by Tepera's allegations.

"Whatever works," Bregman said at news conference. "It's all good. We're focused on winning games. That's it."

The Astros have been heckled relentlessly by fans around the nation for their cheating, but Tepera's comments marked one of the few times an opposing player has suggested they aren't playing fairly.

"You got to rise above it all," said Baker, who said he hadn't heard of Tepera until he joined the White Sox in July. "Most of the guys weren't even here when it happened."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Astros actually had a higher batting average on the road (.268) by one point, while their home OPS (.787) was only seven points higher than their road mark. They struck out 589 times at home, compared to 633 on the road.

Baker said he hadn't heard any of his players talk about using Tepera's comments as motivations.

"(Tepera) can say what he wants to say," said Baker, who received hate mail during his final days and after his departure from the Cubs in 2006. "I'm not bothered by it at all, really. Most of my life they've been talking stuff about me, anyway."

White Sox manager Tony La Russa declined to respond directly to Tepera's comment, adding only that his reliever exercised his freedom of speech.

La Russa, however, disclosed his ill-fated proposal to eliminate sign stealing based on his two years (2012-13) as an executive in the Commissioner's Office.

"I would have the runner on second base face center field while the catcher is putting the sign down," La Russa said. "I really would. And the umpire will say 'turn around,' and then you wouldn't have to go through all this thing."

La Russa also suggested an infielder stand in front of a runner at second base, but that could set up a confrontation.

That actually occurred in 2018, when Cubs infielder Javier Baez blocked the view of DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies. The Cubs and Rockies bickered without any violence.

Baez said he did this after an opponent tried this ploy in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

@MDGonzales

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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