May 31, 2023

A college baseball coach has resigned after umpires found illegal communication devices in two players’ helmets, according to the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.

Rodney Velardi was in his 13th season coaching Atlantic Cape Community College when an opposing coach, Rob Valli of Rowan College Gloucester County, became suspicious of his team’s plate discipline.

The drama reportedly started when Rowan College pitcher Ethan Dodd approached his coaches to see if he could have tipped his pitches after losing 11-6. Valli said the team dismissed his concerns, but noted during a doubleheader the next day that Atlantic Cape was swinging aggressively and making great reads on the basepaths.

Later, Rowan College first baseman Felix Diaz told Valli that he could hear a voice coming from the other players’ helmets during the first inning.

From the courier mail:

“I didn’t believe it,” Valli said. ‘I just thought, no. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe him, but despite that sophisticated trickery, I just didn’t think they would. I didn’t think they would. For me, I wouldn’t go straight there in the first inning. We had to confirm that it was. So, the second time, those same guys got in, and he confirmed with me the whole time. Once those guys start, he says I hear. I hear it.”

Valli then asked an umpire to check the helmets, and lo and behold, both baserunners had earpieces in their helmets, which are explicitly prohibited by NCAA rules except in catcher helmets.

Before a game, a blue batting helmet and a wooden baseball bat lie on the lawn.

Atlantic Cape Community College has reportedly taken sign stealing to a new level. (Getty Images)

Play was reportedly stopped and earpieces removed from helmets, but no players or coaches were ejected. Valli also pushed for the removal of a midfield camera:

“They had a center field camera, where I wasn’t watching the stream, but the center field camera, they can see in, they can see the catcher, they can see the signs,” Valli said. “Velardi had an iPad in his hands in his dugout, so my assumption, and I don’t know if it’s true or not, my assumption was that he was using the iPad to watch the live stream, the midfield camera and looking at the signs of the catcher. Whether he did or not, who could prove or say, but he had an iPad in the dugout and you are not allowed to do that.”

The system sounds no different than the Houston Astros drove to infamy, except instead of using a trash can to emit rudimentary noises, the Atlantic Cape team would have sent pitch signals directly to batters as they watched a feed in center field. watched.

Anyway, the fallout was that Rowan College ended up winning the game and Velardi was suspended two games each by his school and NJCAA region. He resigned eight days after the game.

That could put a damper on Atlantic Cape’s playoff run, which starts on Saturday as number 5 in the regional tournament.