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Subject:  Re: Isn't that illegal? It should be . . . Date:  10/8/2007  3:51 AM
Author:  Springtex Number:  34044 of 55076

<<Normally I would be the last person on earth to defend anything that goes on in the New England area (there isn't a sports franchise up there that I don't think sucks) but isn't it quite common for football teams to study film of their opponents? In fact, is there anything in the rules keeping them from doing it during the game? In fact (again), don't the offensive and defensive coaches during the normal course of a football game get stills from television shots showing them the different offensive and defensive alignments of the opposition? How would that be all that different from what Ortiz is doing? Btw, all of that is a bit different from what New England was doing... they weren't busted for using game video, they were using their own cameras (or hired cameras) to film coaches to steal the opposition's signals.--rwemerson>>

Congratulations on your Yankees' success in the win-or-go-home game, Ralph. I now predict they will take the series, midges or no midges back in Cleveland.

Now, on the subject of the thread, you are off on tangents like several others. I have already commented, and I think it is possible that you are just pulling my chain by raising the same debunked arguments again. But for someone venerable like you, I will repeat in detail.

First, the reference to the NE Patriots did not set up their situation as something governing the baseball situation. It was just coincidental that they also happen to be from Boston and the issue also happened to involve game video. That's the end of the analysis as far as they are concerned.

You go on to ask several questions regarding the NE Pats issues, though, answers to which do not inform the analysis of the baseball issue except in one respect, which I shall point out below. Answers to your questions are, yes, football teams commonly study film of their opponents, but that wasn't the issue with the Pats. The issue with the Pats was their taking video of the opposition's coaches sending in signals during the game and using that video to try to figure out what defenses were being run in real time in that same game, in order to get a competitive advantage. And yes, they do get still photos of formations on the field, etc., but that isn't the same as deciphering signals (which involve motion that still photos would never capture) and coupling those signals with what is run on the next play. The still photos are allowed; the Pats got busted for taking video of the signal-giving and trying to process that along with game action video. That's the football issue; that's how football dealt with it. You may make the argument to football that since they allow still photos, motion video should be allowed--but I have explained the difference--and it is a significant difference.

The baseball issue is of a separate kind, mostly. Begin the analysis by noting that you have a rule against teams placing spies in center field to steal signs given by catchers. I assume that rule also forbids spies from monitoring TV video in real time to steal signs from catchers. Fine. You also have rules defining what is a "ball" and what is a "strike" and umpires are there to call balls and strikes according to those rules.

However, none of that addresses what the TBS people said Ortiz was doing. They said Ortiz spent his time between at-bats (as a designated hitter) watching TV to study ball-and-strike calls by the umpire to determine what was the actual "strike zone" he was following in the current game--in order to know what to swing at and what to take next time up.