The Braves and Phillies do not like each other. Atlanta dominated the division for 14-straight years, which was sure to frustrate those in Philadelphia, and now the Phillies have won five-straight titles in the National League East. For as much as these two clubs meet during the year, you can bet there's a good chance for some bad blood to be shared.
Take Wednesday's thriller in extra innings. The Braves were vividly celebrating on the field while rallying for the lead. Carlos Ruiz responded with a bat flip at home plate after crushing a home run, giving the Phillies the lead once again. And then it was Chipper Jones who had the final laugh in extra innings, admiring his game-winning homer while walking all the way down the first base line.
Rivalries are meant to get ugly at times. You're supposed to call out the other team.
Now should pitchers start firing fastballs away at the heads of opposing hitters? Absolutely not. That's stupid and is how people get their lives and careers changed. But what Chipper said on Sunday following a big defeat of Jamie Moyer and the Rockies was classic.
Here's the situation: Moyer used to pitch for the Phillies, and now the 49-year-old lefty pitches for Colorado. Despite being staked to an early 6-0 lead on Saturday night, the Braves rallied and began pounding him before eventually re-claiming the lead and going on to win for the second straight night.
According to a series of tweets from David O'Brien of the AJC, Moyer accused the Braves of stealing signs, which some frown upon in baseball. Others call it a competitive advantage. And when Jones caught wind of this, here is what he said:
Jones also said he would be willing to meet Moyer in the hallway to discuss the matter, but nothing came of it. Moyer had no comment on Jones' response.
The Phillies have been caught stealing signs before. A few years back, a bullpen coach would take binoculars and likely look in on either the catcher or manager, whichever one was giving signs. Checking out the third base coach for signs was also a likely possibility. The Phillies denied the claims, although their story was pretty weak.
Since then nothing has come from the cheating allegations. And once again, stealing signs is not illegal; just frowned upon by most in the game today.
And a little bit more:
More #Braves Chipper on Moyer"I mean, dude, we don’t need signs, especially for him. I mean, my goodness, every pitch is 78. Come on."— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) May 6, 2012
Were the Braves stealing signs on Saturday night against Moyer and the Rockies? Maybe, but it doesn't seem likely, especially given what Chipper said above. Even Troy Tulowitzki, arguably a top-five player in the game, said he didn't get any sense that Atlanta was trying to steal signs.
Chipper didn't hold back any punches this weekend and has never had an issue expressing what he believed to be the truth. It should be interesting the next time the Braves and Phillies meet, to say the least.
For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.