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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Red Sox Caught Cheating Against Yanks

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Red Sox Caught Cheating Against Yanks

Two weeks have made all the difference for the Boston Red Sox. In two week’s time, the Sox have gone from being one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball to once again barely hanging onto their lead in the American League East. Red Sox ace Chris Sale has gone from American League Cy Young frontrunner to now having to answer questions about his durability. On top of it all, the Red Sox were just accused of, and admitted to, cheating against their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees.
As described in a New York Times article, the Yankees issued a formal complaint to the offices of Major League Baseball regarding their most recent series against the Red Sox in Boston. The Yankees accused the Red Sox of using Apple Watches to steal and relay catcher signals so that batters could anticipate pitches. Incidentally, the Red Sox batted .375 with runners in scoring position in that series, while batting a combined sub .100 average, with runners on, in every other series against the Yankees. The Red Sox did not deny these reports when confronted by Major League Baseball, but do maintain that Manager John Farrell and Team President Dave Dombrowski were unaware of this operation.
Now, although the Red Sox admitted that the scandal took place, the matter is far from resolved. In addition to Boston now awaiting their punishment for the signal-stealing operation, they also responded with accusations of their own against the Yankees. The Red Sox accused the Yankees of using the live TV feed of games from YES Network to steal catcher signals. New York denied this claim, of course, but the general prevalence of signal stealing in the game is probably worth considering.
Stealing signs is nothing new in the sport of baseball. It has been going on since the inception of the game, and has continued into the modern-day era. In 2010, the Philadelphia Phillies were reprimanded for their bullpen coach’s use of binoculars to steal catcher signs, but nothing more than a “finger wag” was handed out. Reports as of Wednesday night suggest that the Red Sox themselves will be given a “slap on the wrist” as a result of their actions. The reasoning behind this is probably that the league doesn’t take as much issue with the action of stealing signs as they do with the means the Red Sox used to accomplish the theft.
The Watch-Gate scandal presents a grey area for the league to review in its rule book. Now, electronics are specifically outlawed in the dugout, but at the same time, this is a watch, and the high-tech capabilities of modern watches is something that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred apparently hadn’t considered. Clearly this is something that Manfred will have to look at going forward, as he tries to adapt the sport to a more technological era.
Ultimately, teams will just have to go back to reading pitchers the old-fashioned way; by paying close attention to their tendencies and knowing what to expect. It is this intellectual aspect of the sport that makes baseball so unique, and something I believe will stand the test of time, even as technology advances around it.