NEW YORK -- The sideshow of the Yankees' 9-5 win over the Mets on Wednesday meant different things to different people. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira called it "one of the funniest things I've ever seen." Mets reliever Hansel Robles described it as infuriating. Players on each team drew lines in the dirt, taking sides.
In contention was what unfolded in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium, after Robles walked Teixeira and Chase Headley to load the bases with two outs. As Starlin Castro batted, Robles began glaring and yelling at Teixeira, whom he believed was relaying signs to Castro from second base.
Seeing Robles bothered by the situation, Teixeira began touching his face in demonstrative ways, pretending to do exactly what Robles was accusing him of doing. As Robles left the field after giving up an RBI infield single to Castro, the Mets reliever again yelled at Teixeira.
"I've never gotten inside of someone's head just by standing there," Teixeira said. "That's a talent, I guess. Listen, if you think I have your signs, just change them. That's part of the game. I try not to do it a lot. I don't like it, trying to steal signs. If you think I have them, then change the signs. Don't try to challenge me to a duel."
Robles offered a different perspective on the situation.
"That's not the way you play baseball," he said through an interpreter. "You have to play baseball as a man."
Though sign stealing is not illegal in Major League Baseball, it often sparks debates regarding its morality. Some players are fine with it, viewing it as part of the game's strategy. Others feel it violates unwritten codes.
"Teams do things all the time, so you have to watch out for first- and third-base coaches -- we've seen things come out of bullpens," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a thing you always have to protect, and as catchers you have to move late. This has been going on for years and years and years. Some teams are going to think that you're doing it and you're not doing it. You've just got to play your game."
That, more than anything, was what bothered Mets manager Terry Collins -- that Robles visibly lost his composure on the mound. It was not the first time for Robles, who opened this season serving a two-game suspension for throwing near the head of Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp in a game last September.
Nor was it the first skirmish between the Mets and Yankees on Wednesday. Two innings earlier, Teixeira barked at Steven Matz for hitting him on the leg with a first-pitch fastball, after Teixeira had hit a three-run homer in his previous at-bat. Though Matz insisted "honestly, I didn't do it on purpose," noticeably grimacing on the mound after delivering the pitch, Teixeira believed the plunking was intentional.
As he walked toward first base, Teixeira called out to Matz: "Are you kidding me?" That prompted players from both benches to filter onto the field, though the incident did not escalate.
"Listen, I know Matz is a good kid," Teixeira said. "I like him a lot. I've talked to him a few times. But listen, when you hit a home run and the next pitch is not even close to the plate and hits you, it just looks bad. And so I just told him I didn't appreciate it."
While Teixeira reached base in all four of his plate appearances in the game, including his homer off Matz and the walk against Robles, Matz allowed six runs in six innings to take the loss.
"We know Steven Matz. He didn't throw at anybody," Collins said. "And by the way, if his command was that good, we wouldn't have been behind, 6-3. I thought Mark overreacted. That's just my take on it."