Well, this is pretty big and almost certain to get bigger. According to a report from the New York Times, the league offices have confirmed that the Red Sox were using electronic devices to steal signs from the Yankees in a series a couple of weeks ago. The investigation started after a complaint from New York and general manager Brian Cashman. The specific rule that the team has broken, and admitted to breaking, is that
I’m not even really sure where to start this, because this is also so dumb (in that the Red Sox are dumb, not that the story is dumb). I guess we’ll just start with how it went down. According to the Times’ report, the Red Sox were getting signs via instant replay and sending the signs to a trainer’s Apple Watch in the dugout. The trainer would then pass the information along to the players. Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia and Chris Young were specifically mentioned in the report as players who were involved in the scheme.
As for the higher ups, this is where this gets more interesting. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any proof that John Farrell and/or Dave Dombrowski knew anything about what the team was doing. According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Farrell says he knew the team was stealing signs but was not aware that electronic devices were being used. He comes out of this looking pretty bad either way, and this (rightfully) will not help his case among the many who would like to see the Red Sox move in a different direction at the manager spot. Either he did know what was going on and allowed it to happen, or he’s lost control of the clubhouse to the point where they are pulling off wacky schemes behind his back.
This is a story that is surely not going away, and the league could very well further its investigation to see both exactly who knew what was going on and how often this has been happening. I can’t begin to guess how long this whole process will take, but the league isn’t going to take this lightly. I’d be shocked if the team lost wins because of this debacle, but the I’m guessing MLB is going to come down hard. As speculated by the Times, that will probably come in the form of fines and possibly loss of draft picks. That’s without bringing in possible suspensions and other punishments to those involved.
The common retort to all of this is that everyone steals signs. That is probably true, but just because everyone does something doesn’t mean it’s not cheating and a punishable offense. If I get pulled over for speeding, the cop isn’t going to care how many other cars I saw speeding. The Red Sox come out of this looking really foolish, and they are going to deserve harsh penalties. For their part, Boston is also asking the league to investigate sign-stealing from the Yankees. It’s certainly possible that there’s something to that, but it honestly sounds a bit petty from where I’m sitting. Either way, the Red Sox are in a bad spot right now and this story isn’t going to make things any easier. We’ll keep you updated when more details surely come out regarding this story.