Tipping Pitches or Stealing Signs

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Courtesy of Twinkie Town.
Whoever posted the video is calling it “cheating.” Does anyone know if this is actually illegal, poor form on Joe Mauer’s part, or just a clever way for Mauer to help the Twins out? I know A-Rod was accused of tipping pitches to opponents as some sort of supposed you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours ruse to get pitches tipped back to him — and abetting the other team definitely seems to be against the spirit of the game, so I can understand why that was called “cheating.”
But in Mauer’s case, he’s helping his own team out by stealing signs — how is this “cheating?” Stealing signs, as immoral as some might think it is, has been a part of baseball for years. And since he’s clearly doing it with his naked eye, it’s not against any official rules.
In other news, the magic number is now 2 for the Tigers… if the Twins lose tonight, that’s it for them. On the plus side, that will mean that yes, I will be at the last regular season Metrodome game.
Update: The original poster of the video has changed the title from “Joe Mauer Tipping Pitches (Cheating)” to “Joe Mauer Stealing Signs (Not Cheating)” and left the following comment explaining the change:

Sorry, I titled it Sign Stealing instead of Tipping (I did know the difference) and I agree it’s NOT cheating, but it is a little against the ‘code’ especially for a catcher to do it. If a batter looks back at a catchers sign, he’ll take some chin music. If the Tigers wanted to, they would be within their rights of the ‘code’ to throw a player and/or take out a middle infielder, cleats up sometime in the future.

Ha — I am vindicated!

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