Did the Boston Red Sox use an Apple Watch to steal the New York Yankees’ signs?
Commissioner Rob Manfred said he wanted to get the matter resolved quickly.
Looking for any edge in an age-old rivalry, the Boston Red Sox got called out in a high-tech sign-stealing scheme they ran on the New York Yankees.
The Red Sox admitted to Major League Baseball that they used an Apple Watch to relay signals from opposing catchers to Boston players, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Sign stealing is the practice of working out another team’s signs and has long been a part of the game. In this instance it refers to a team gaining an advantage by working out what the opposing catcher is signalling to a pitcher – employing electronic gadgets to do it is against the rules.
The MLB is looking into allegations levied by the Yankees after a series between the teams last month in Boston. The NY Times said the Red Sox told MLB investigators that Boston manager John Farrell, general Dave Dombrowski and other team executives were not aware of the operation, which had been going on for weeks.
Commissioner Rob Manfred, who was at Fenway Park on Tuesday night as part of a previously planned visit, said he wanted to get the matter resolved quickly. He didn’t comment about possible penalties.
“The only thing that I can tell you about repercussions is that to the extent that there was a violation on either side — and I’m not saying that there was — to the extent that there was a violation on either side, we are 100% comfortable that it is not an ongoing issue — that if it happened, it is no longer happening,” he said.
Farrell said he knew the rule.
“Electronic devices are not to be used in the dugout,” he said before Boston hosted the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. “But beyond that, the only thing I can say it’s a league matter at this point.”
Dombrowski said it was the first time a team he’d worked for had been formally accused of stealing signs.
“I’ve been in the game for 40 years. I’ve known of it for 40 years, sign stealing itself,” Dombrowski said. “I’ve known of people that I talk to that played back in the ’50’s that talked to me about sign stealing, so I do think sign stealing has been taking place for a long time. I will acknowledge that.”
The NY Times, according to unidentified sources, said the MLB probe started after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman filed a complaint with the commissioner’s office that included video. The newspaper said the video showed a member of Boston’s training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout and relaying a message to players.
“I think there was something that was suspected of going on,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said before Tuesday night’s game in Baltimore.
The NY Times said the Red Sox filed a complaint against the Yankees, alleging the club used a camera from its YES television network to steal opponents’ signs.
“No chance,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The NY Times said the Red Sox told MLB investigators that club personnel watched monitors and then electronically sent pitch signals to team trainers in the dugout, who relayed the information to players.
The newspaper said video showed Boston assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim checking his Apple Watch and relaying the info to Red Sox players Brock Holt and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The newspaper said one clip showed Pedroia passing along the intelligence to Boston outfielder Chris Young, who formerly played for the Yankees.
Players are allowed to try to figure out the opponents’ signals on their own. Computers, cameras and electronics are not permitted.