Angels, Athletics trade accusations after Matt Chapman ejection

May 23, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics hat, glove and ball lay in the dugout at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to allegations of sign stealing, Wednesday’s series finale between the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics got rather testy.

In the second inning, Angels catcher Juan Graterol and A’s outfielder Mark Canha had a heated exchange, but that was broken up by home plate umpire Mike Everitt before anything got out of hand. Later, Graterol had an exchange with Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman. While Everitt kept it from getting physical, he was forced to eject Chapman, who continued talking after the two were separated.

After the game, both parties gave their view of the situation.

“He said it had already be handled,” Chapman said of Everitt, per Susan Slusser, of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But obviously if I’d thought it had been handled, I wouldn’t have said anything. If it had been handled, (Graterol) wouldn’t have been continually staring at us when we were getting in the box. Obviously, I didn’t intend for it to go down like this, but the way I looked at it, I wanted to stand up for my teammates and for myself. … Even though we are a young group of guys, I feel we deserve to be treated just like anyone else in the big leagues and be respected by our opponents.”

Graterol, of course, had his own take.

“I told him, ‘Don’t peek at the signs,’ because I saw him. Chapman told me, ‘We don’t peek at the signs,’” Graterol said, per Slusser. “I said, ‘Yes, you did.’ That’s it. We exchanged some words and that’s it. … The umpire told him, ‘That’s enough.’ And he was still talking. That’s why he got thrown out.”

Sign stealing is of course a hot topic in baseball in recent days. Both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have been accused of rather elaborate forms of sign stealing, which can be read about here.

Generally, this is in the eye of the beholder. While it’s technically sign stealing, there’s nothing wrong with a runner at second relaying a sign to the hitter. It’s why every team changes signs when a runner reaches second. Using shadows to steal signs (as Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia accused Oakland of doing, per Slusser) and looking back towards the catcher is at best, a gray area. With that said, the Angels would not be the first team to get overly paranoid over claims that end up being false.

This is probably the last that we’ll hear of this issue for a while, at least as far as on field issues go. Wednesday marked the final game between the two teams in 2017. But division rivals square off 19 times a season, so this is something to store in the memory bank for 2018.