By Jack O’Dwyer
Could the pride and joy of Boston ever be capable of suspicious behavior? Apparently so. The Red Sox were recently caught stealing signs from none other than their notorious rivals, the New York Yankees.
Major League Baseball (MLB) officials were tipped off to the scandal by Brian Cashman, general manager for the Yankees. In a video provided as evidence, training staff were shown taking information from video personnel and transmitting it to athletic trainer, Jon Jochim, in the dugout via an Apple Watch. This information was used to predict what type of pitch would be thrown to the batter. Players on the field were then signaled to gain the advantage and get the message to the batter in position. This information was even spread to Chris Young, who had previously played for the Yankees. Supposedly, the team’s manager, John Farrell, and other front office personnel were completely unaware of their player’s actions.
The Yankees had been suspicious of their rivals all season, but did not submit a formal complaint until August 23rd. They noticed a strange pattern while playing at Fenway Park. The Sox would hit significantly better whenever they had a man on second-base – the reason being that the Sox could give signals easier with more players on the field.
“It was something we suspected was going on. I don’t want to say I was suspicious. I think there’s certain teams over the course of a season or a series or two seasons, teams that maybe have a higher average against you or hit a lot better against you with runners in scoring position, things like that,’’ said Brett Gardner, an outfielder for the Yankees.
The Red Sox admitted to their wrongdoings last Tuesday and were found guilty through an investigation shortly afterward. However, they have since accused the Yankees of spying on them, as well. They claim that one of the cameras in the New York team’s broadcast network at Yankee Stadium was fixed on their bench coach, Gary DiSarcina, for the purpose of stealing their signs.
The problem isn’t the act of stealing, it’s the use of technology and/or visual aids. Sign-stealing is a commonly accepted aspect of the modern professional game. Using anything technological to gain an advantage in a match, however, is strictly prohibited. This includes cameras, walkie-talkies, and now the Apple Watch.
“There’s a line that can be crossed on how you do that,” said Chase Headley, a Yankees infielder. “The technological aspect is the biggest thing. It’s a fine line. There’s so many cameras out there and so much information available. It’s how you use it. I don’t think anyone’s surprised.”
MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, has decided not to penalize the Red Sox. No players will be disciplined and the Red Sox will not be required to relinquish any victories. Apple has declined to comment. Despite a vehement denial from the Yankees, an investigation into their own technologically aided cheating allegations is currently ongoing.