The Red Sox Got Caught Stealing Signs Using A Motherfucking Apple Watch
(New York Times) — For decades, spying on another team has been as much a part of the gamesmanship of baseball as brushback pitches and hard slides. The Red Sox have apparently added a modern — and illicit — twist: They used an Apple Watch to gain an advantage against the Yankees and other teams.
Investigators for Major League Baseball have determined that the Boston Red Sox, who are in first place in the American League East and likely headed to the playoffs, executed a scheme to illicitly steal hand signals from opponents’ catchers in games against the second-place Yankees and other teams, according to several people briefed on the matter.
The baseball inquiry began about two weeks ago, after the Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, filed a detailed complaint with the commissioner’s office that included video the Yankees shot of the Red Sox dugout during a three-game series in Boston last month.
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.
If we’re being honest, this is a tough look. I could easily say something like, “Every team steals signs,” but I won’t do that. Cheating is cheating, and the Red Sox were dumb enough to get caught. I could point out this line from the very same New York Times article, which I’m sure everybody will just ignore, that alleges that the Yankees also cheated and stole signs, but that would be petty of me and likely be taken as a deflection from the real story.
The Red Sox responded in kind on Tuesday, filing a complaint against the Yankees, claiming that the team uses a camera from its television network, YES, exclusively to steal signs during games.
I could also point out that the Yankees were blatantly caught breaking MLB rules back in June by streaming their own team’s game in the dugout, but I don’t see how that’s relevant to this particular story.
If the Red Sox got caught stealing signs with an Apple Watch, then the Red Sox got caught stealing signs with an Apple Watch. Fair is fair. Cheating is cheating. Joe Torre’s suspension fingers are still nice and warm after he handed Gary Sanchez a three-game suspension for punching a defenseless player on the ground — three games, the same suspension that was given to Joe West for making a joke about Adrian Beltre — so I’m sure that the disciplinary actions will be called right down the middle following this allegation.
I know it’s going to be a hard decision for Torre, but he’s gotta suspend John Farrell for the rest of the season. His hands are tied. He’s gotta do it. This all happened under his watch (no pun intended), and he’s responsible for the actions of his players and coaches at all times when they’re at the ballpark. This is a serious offense, so he’s gotta pay the price.
It’s gonna be a big blow to the Red Sox to lose their perfectly capable, incredibly competent, flawless bullpen-managing, highly motivating, elite-communicating manager, but they’ve got to endure. And if that’s not enough, then he can suspend Matt Barnes, too. God damnit, it’ll hurt, but if Torre really wants to send a message and shove it up Boston’s ass, Farrell and Barnes have to go.
But this team has to do their best to move on without them. They HAVE to try. As a first place team in the American League East, they’ve gotta shake this one off, accept the penalty, sweep it under the rug next to the chicken and beer, and shift their focus back to winning a division title.