Manuel says he should've stayed mum on binoculars

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says he should have stayed quiet during the binoculars flap in Denver this week.

The Phillies insist they weren't trying to steal signs when bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught peering through binoculars from the bullpen at Coors Field.

Manuel said in Denver that teams "keep crying" about the issue, and that upset Colorado manager Jim Tracy.

The Phillies were in Milwaukee on Friday and Manuel said he shouldn't have commented on the brouhaha. Manuel doesn't think he said anything derogatory about the Rockies, but said he would be willing to talk directly to Tracy.

"I shouldn't have said a word," Manuel said. "If I said something, I'll definitely talk to him and things like that. But I didn't even say anything about Colorado. I didn't even say nothing about that particular game."

The Phillies have been accused of stealing signs before, but several of Manuel's counterparts shrugged it off as part of the game.

"You will always have teams looking for advantages. Players at second base have tried to give location signs ever since I remember. So I don't think that that's ever going to stop," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "If your club is smart enough on what another club's signs are, I mean, that's just using your head."

Brewers manager Ken Macha went so far as to say that Billmeyer couldn't have been stealing signs from that far away even with the binoculars.

"What was he doing? That's probably a personal question," said Macha, who was a bullpen coach but acknowledged he's never used binoculars from that vantage point. "Colorado, it's what, 500 feet out there? You might need a spotting scope."

Macha said all of his pitchers have several sets of signs and he doesn't worry about potential sign swipes from the Phillies or anyone else.

Macha also said he believes that the Pirates thought the Brewers were stealing their signs during an April sweep in Pittsburgh. Milwaukee outscored the Pirates 36-1 during the series, but lost two of three against the Pirates at home later in the month.

"My feeling is if they're stealing your signs, it's almost your fault. You should have a complicated enough set of signs and change them out," Macha said. "It's your job to disguise the signs. If you don't disguise the signs, then it's like putting out free candy on your dinner table with your kids. What do you think is going to happen?"

Manuel, for his part, is done talking about the issue.

"The least that I say about it, the better off we'll be," he said. "We're better off when we just go out and play."


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.