The Rays Tank: Sign Stealing, Umpire Blasting Edition

The two most interesting stories over the past few days, to me at least, are the Jason Hammel sign stealing accusations and the Russel Martin/Laz Diaz incident.

Hammel, having come in to Wednsday's game with three homers allowed on the season, gave up four in a loss to the Blue Jays and all but accused them of stealing signs. More than a few opposing pitchers have thought something fishy is up in Toronto, some even went as far as saying there is a "man in white" in the stands relaying the pitches to the batters. Toronto has hit really well at home over the past couple of seasons and pretty poorly on the road. It still seems like a ridiculous notion, but where there's enough smoke there's usually a fire. I love a good conspiracy theory.

The Martin/Diaz story doesn't have the conspiracy theory flare of the Hammel/Toronto story, but what it lacks in conspiracies it makes up for in childlessness. According to Martin he and Diaz had argued over balls and strikes earlier in the game so as a "punishment" -- Martin's words -- Diaz wouldn't let Martin throw new baseballs back to the pitcher after a foul. That's...hilarious and a finebale and suspendable offense if true. Some umpires like to make the game about them, Joe West comes to mind, and that's something that needs to be curtailed if at all possible. Here's the money quote from Martin.

"And then even at the end of the game, after I got hit in the neck, I'm like, 'can I throw the ball back now?' He's like still, no. I'm like, 'you're such a d---. You're a d---, dude. Like, for real. Unbelievable.' "

Baseball is the best, like, for real.

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