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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Yankees accuse Red Sox of stealing signs using Apple Watch

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The rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox has hit a new state following formal accusations of sign stealing by both parties.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Yankees filed a complaint with MLB recently in which they accused the Red Sox of stealing signs while using electronic communication, which is against the rules. The Yankees sent video to MLB showing what they believed to be examples of the sign stealing. The Times says MLB found the Red Sox to be guilty and that Boston admitted to the sign stealing.

Per the Times, the video the Yankees sent to MLB was shot from a three-game series between the teams in Boston last month.

Schmidt details the nature of the Yankees’ complaint against the Red Sox:

The Yankees, who had long been suspicious of the Red Sox stealing catchers’ signs in Fenway Park, contended the video showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout and then relaying a message to players, who may have then been able to use the information to know the type of pitch that was going to be thrown, according to the people familiar with the case.

Baseball investigators corroborated the Yankees’ claims based on video the commissioner’s office uses for instant replay and broadcasts, the people said. The commissioner’s office then confronted the Red Sox, who admitted that their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to some players — an operation that had been in place for at least several weeks.

The sign stealing allegedly occurred without the knowledge of Red Sox manager John Farrell or GM Dave Dombrowski.

The thinking is that the Red Sox could use instant replay technology to break the opposing catcher’s signals when a runner is on second. The Sox could then relay that information to someone in the dugout (which they did using an Apple Watch) and that person could relay more information to a player in the field/runner on second, who could then tip off the batter about what pitch is coming.

The Times notes that the Red Sox went 5-for-8 with a runner on second in the first game of the series in question. Their batter hit a home run the first time Boston got a runner to second. Boston batted just 1-for-6 in the second game and 3-for-10 in the third. All in all that’s a pretty health .375 mark, and that’s without knowing how often the Yankees were mixing up their signals after perhaps figuring Boston was stealing their signs.

In response, the Red Sox have also filed a complaint with MLB accusing the Yankees of sign stealing using electronic devices.

Stealing signs has long been considered a part of baseball, though teams/players get offended and upset if they feel another team is trying to crack their code. The big difference here is that the Red Sox were using technology to aid them and give them an advantage, which is a huge problem. It’s unclear what type of discipline they may be facing as a result.

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