Sign language is difficult, especially if you are a pitcher and the third base coach is tossing a bunch of bizarre hand gestures your way.
Most pitchers know only a couple of finger movements.
A recent Boston commercial for a local coffee chain features Bobby Valentine and Jacoby Ellsbury. The silent and officious Valentine goes through a bunch of hand to nose, tapped out on the wrist and other ear grabbers to the viewers.
Dutifully, Ellsbury translates the signs for an audience that is blind, deaf and dumb to the complex semaphore. Jacoby translates that Valentine wants a mocha iced coffee. The manager goes into a huff that his sign of tapping the wrist means he wants caramel.
During the game on Saturday night at Chicago's Wrigley Field with the Cubs, the Sox pitcher Jon Lester came to bat (unusual in itself for American League hurlers). With a man on second, Lester apparently had trouble reading the coach's signals to bunt.
Though this is not rocket science, Lester was completely baffled. It came to the point that Valentine started looking like a coffee commercial refugee. He started to mimic swinging a bat and was yelling to the third base coach to talk to Lester.
After the next pitch, Lester and his coach met each other half way up the third base line. The coach told his batting pitcher how the time for bunting is on the Fourth of July. Lester began to swing away.
For those who yearn for a simpler time and mocha, iced coffee Frappé, this had to be a nadir of Red Sox misplay this season.
Clearly Valentine wanted Lester to go for the caramel.