Boston sports teams have had quite a bot of success these last 17 years or so. The Patriots have won 5 Super bowls and played in 8, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, and most of all, the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004 after 87 years without winning one. They also added titles in 2007 and 2013.
But the Patriots have been caught cheating in that same time period. Tom Brady famously may or may not have had the footballs tampered with two years ago during the infamous “DeflateGate” scandal, and in 2007 were caught taping practices and walkthroughs of practices, specifically of the New York Jets. That one has a spiffy name as well: “Spygate”. Now, the Red Sox have their own version. Wonder what we will call this one?
Investigators have determined that the team was using an Apple Watch to steal signals from opposing teams catchers in games against temas this season, including against their bitter rivals the New York Yankees. This is a big no-no in baseball circles. While more than likely most teams and players do this type of thing, especially runners on second base tipping off their teammate at bat, this is taking things to a weird and not cool level.
This all started a couple weeks back when Yankees GM Brian Cashman filed an inquiry with the league office and provided video they took of the Red Sox dugout during their three-game series in July. They say the video shows a Red Sox training staff member look at his Apple Watch in the dugout, then relay the information to players in the dugout, who would then signal the players on the field about what pitches were about to be thrown. After agreeing with the findings, the Sox admitted to the wrong-doings and admitted that this system had been in place for weeks.
Commissioner Rob Manfred was asked about the situation in Boston when visiting Fenway Park:
“We will conduct a thorough investigation on both sides, We’re 100 percent comfortable that it is not an ongoing issue.”
When asked what kind of punishment he would, or even could hand out in this situation:
“Could it happen? You know, is there the authority to do that? I think the answer to that, under the major league constitution, is yes,” he said. “Has it ever happened with this type of allegation? I think the answer is — I know the answer is no.
“And the reason for that,” he added, “is it’s just very hard to know what the actual impact on any particular game was of an alleged violation.”
Boston manager John Farrell also commented:
“I’m aware of the rule,” Mr. Farrell said. “Electronic devices are not to be used in the dugout. Beyond that, all I can say is it’s a league matter at this point.”
Electronic devices are not allowed in the dugouts at all, so for a manager to see that type of thing and not speak up is not a good look for Farrell here. Even if he was complicit, they had to have known they would get caught eventually. Again: sign-stealing is not exactly against the rules really. As long as you are using only your eyes. They have gone way past that. It will also be hard to decide what an adequate punishment will be for this. In the past, it has been hard to prove what was happening, or no action was taken. But this one is a little different, having visual evidence and a full confession. I am guessing a loss of draft picks and a monetary fine, maybe even a game or two suspension for the people on the video.
More importantly though, what shall we call this? “AppleGate” seems too on the nose…