Tracy: Phils' use of binoculars 'out of line'

Tracy: Phils' use of binoculars 'out of line'

DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy was miffed over the Phillies' use of binoculars from their bullpen during Monday night's game.

Foxsports.com and the pregame show on the Rockies' television network on Tuesday, before that night's game was postponed, reported that Major League Baseball had reprimanded the Phillies because bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught using the binoculars early in Monday night's game, a 9-5 Philadelphia win at Coors Field.

The Rockies complained, but the Phillies denied they were stealing signs between Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo and pitcher Greg Smith. And it's not the first time there have been cheating accusations between the clubs.

"I'm not going to have a tremendous reaction to it other than to tell you, as far as I'm concerned, it's out of line," Tracy said Wednesday before the start of a day-night doubleheader with the Phillies. "It's one thing, in my opinion, to go out and play a club as tough as you can possibly play it within the framework of the way they've structured things to be done.

"And cheating, until you get caught, nobody says that you don't explore something like that. But if you're cheating and you get caught, you know what? Then you'd better do something about it. That's my reaction to that."

The visitors' bullpen at Coors Field is located in right-center field, which would mean it would be easy for someone with special lenses to steal signs and relay them to the dugout. Billmeyer was shown using the glasses during Monday's telecast with Philadelphia batting in the top of the second inning, and the video showed center fielder Shane Victorino on the bullpen phone from the Phillies' dugout.

Despite the timing of the video shown during the FSN Rocky Mountain telecast, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Billmeyer uses the field glasses to evaluate his catcher, Carlos Ruiz.

"Absolutely no," Manuel said. "Absolutely ... no. Absolutely not.

"I didn't know anything about it. Mick watches Ruiz catch. That's what it was. We took care of it. I can understand why they'd be concerned about it, but at the same time that's the truth. That's what happened. That's absolutely true. We were not trying to steal signs."

It's not the first time the Phillies have been accused of stealing signs from their bullpen. In the past, the Mets have complained to MLB about sign-stealing at Citizens Bank Park, where the bullpens are stacked in right-center, with the home bullpen being at field level. Foxsports.com, citing a source, reported that the Mets made an accusation after the Phillies had a big game against Mets left-hander Johan Santana on May 2.

Tracy raised the specter of the issue that the Phillies might be sign-stealing.

"A pair of binoculars staring down the gun barrel of the hitting area, I don't think a club in baseball that's competing against that team would take too kindly to that," Tracy said. "Now you can come up with all kinds of different reasons as to why you had them and what you were doing with them. Are we to believe them at all? Or is it OK for us to think that there might be some type of competitive advantage that you're trying to gain for yourself?

"And then you start reflecting back on some of the things that have taken place in previous games and it makes you sit here and wonder a little bit."

In his pregame meeting with the media on Wednesday, Manuel brought up that when the Rockies swept the Phillies in the 2007 National League Division Series, TBS television cameras showed Rockies reliever Manuel Corpas pouring water on his jersey before entering the game, and Corpas constantly rubbed the front of his jersey while on the mound.

That complaint, Manuel reminded, was dismissed as no big deal, and Manuel said Wednesday's complaint deserves similar treatment.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.