MLB letter confirms Yankees have been punished for wrongdoing 2022-04-26 20:55:08


Signal theft has always been part of baseball’s strategy. When the batter hits, teammates carefully watch the catcher’s fingers or body language to see what pitch he’s about to throw. This is all fair play as long as the teams are not using any electronic devices, such as cameras or computers, to facilitate the process.

Over past seasons—according to a newly released and partially modified letter from Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman sent in 2017, the Yankees have used electronic devices to decode and share opposing teams’ signals. The message came after the Yankees accused the Boston Red Sox of using a similar process.

Manfred wrote to Cashman: “The Yankees’ use of the cache phone to transmit information about rival club tags during the 2015 season, and part of the 2016 season, constitutes a material violation of the Replay Review Regulations.”

“By using the phone in the video review room to instantly transmit information about signals to the bunker in violation of regulations, the Yankees were able to provide real-time information to players regarding the opposing club’s signing sequence – the same objective of the Red Sox scheme that was the subject of the Yankees’ complaint.” .

The reason why the Yankees were punished less harshly (a $100,000 fine set aside for a charitable cause) than Houston Astros and the Boston Red SoxWorld Championship winning teams who have been suspended, their fines, loss of recruiting selections, and public contempt? These teams continued their signal-stealing ways after MLB began cracking down on them and setting clear punitive terms.

The contents of this MLB letter to the Yankees — which was published Tuesday, and first reported by SNY, before the expected seal opened in court — was not entirely new or surprising. Paranoia about opponents stealing signals between shooters and hunters has been around throughout baseball’s history, but the influx of technology into the game has created new concerns.

New ways to get around the rules emerged in 2014, when the MLB expanded their use of instant replay review, which created rooms near each team’s dugout with live video channels to help coaches decide whether or not to play a challenge. Players were also allowed to visit these rooms during games to see a video of themselves Set up or beating. But any use of technology to decipher or transmit opponents’ signals during the game is still prohibited.

Despite growing concern among many teams that their opponents were going too far, the first big public indication of technology abuse came in 2017, when The New York Times reported that The Yankees have filed a complaint with the MLB Accusing the Red Sox of transmitting signals from video replay personnel to the vault via Apple Watch. After the investigation into the Red Sox, which resulted in a fine, the MLB admitted that it was becoming increasingly difficult to monitor improper use of electronics.

“At the time, banner stealing was used as a competitive tool by many teams throughout Major League Baseball and only became illegal after the commissioner determined the rules on September 15, 2017,” the Yankees said in a statement Tuesday. He later added that they had had no “infractions or violations” since then.

On that day, Manfred sent a note to all 30 teams warning them against stealing illegal banners and stating that the club’s management, and not the players, would be responsible for any such cheating. In March 2018, MLB sent another memo to teams that made it clear that replay rooms and video feeds are not allowed to be used to steal cues during games.

(I’ve taken MLB since then further steps to try to curb such behaviour.)

This is where the story of the Yankees deviates from the story of the Astros and the Red Sox.

The stars are found, according to MLB investigation released in January 2020to hire a scheme during the 2017 playoffs and for at least part of the 2018 season that involved using cameras and monitors to decipher opposing teams’ signals and strike Houston, often by tapping the trash outside the dugout.

Manfred penalized the Astros by issuing a one-year suspension to general manager Jeff Lono and manager A.J. Hinch, both of whom were later fired by team owner Jim Crane, and fining the team $5 million and awarding a first- and second-round draft pick in 2020 and 2021.

The Red Sox, according to a separate MLB investigation released in April 2020, was found to have used a scheme in 2018 that was more limited in scope than the Astros but still involved decoding opponents’ tags while watching live video during games and passing that. information with the players.

Manfred penalized the Red Sox by issuing a one-year suspension to manager Alex Cora, who was also part of the 2017 Astros scheme, and JT Watkins, Boston’s video replay operator. The team also lost its second-round pick in 2020.

Manfred’s once-private letter to the Yankees over a lawsuit, dismissed by U.S. District Judge Jade Rakoff in April 2020, surfaced among fantasy sports racers who claimed harm by stealing a banner in MLB. The Astros and Red Sox claimed that Manfred’s 2017 letter to Cashman, which appeared during the discovery, contradicted the league’s public statements at the time.

The Yankees tried to keep the letter sealed, arguing that they were not a party to the case and that it would damage their reputation. Several judges disputed and argued that most of the rhetoric had already been disclosed by the MLB in its 2017 statement. The Second U.S. Court of Appeals last week Rejection of the application By the Yankees to reconsider the team’s case to keep the letter sealed.

The three-page letter from Manfred to Cashman explained how the MLB found that the Red Sox had violated the league’s rules. Manfred wrote that while investigating the Red Sox, the league was told (by an anonymous person or group) that the Yankees “used a scheme similar to the Red Sox scheme” to decipher opposing teams’ signals and transmit them into the mix when he was a runner at second base.

Manfred also wrote that a person or revised group, who observed the Red Sox using an Apple Watch, told the league that during the 2015 season and part of the 2016 season they provided information on opponents’ signals to players and coaches in the Yankee Stadium replay room, and in turn relayed that to the bunker. In some stadiums on the road, he wrote, the information was transmitted via the dugout phone.

Finally, Manfred wrote that his office found no merit to a formal complaint from the Red Sox accusing the Yankees of pointing their YES network cameras into a Boston bunker when coaches and players gave signals. He also noted minor unauthorized use of an iPad by the Yankees coach during a game.

Both the MLB and the Yankees indicated in their statements on Tuesday that much of the message’s contents have been known for some time.

“The Yankees did not violate the MLB rules while governing signal theft,” the MLB said. At the time, the use of the replay room to decode tags was not expressly prohibited by MLB rules as long as information was not electronically transmitted to the dugout. Due to the evolution of rules regarding the use of replays, many clubs have moved their video equipment closer to the field. , giving personnel the potential ability to quickly transmit signals into the field.”

The MLB said it clarified its rules regarding electronic equipment in that Sept. 15, 2017 Manfred memo and drew a “clear line” on March 27, 2018 that no club or video room equipment can be used to decode the signals.

The Yankees said, “The Yankees fought vigorously to produce this message, not only for the legal principle involved, but to prevent the incorrect equating of events that occurred before the commissioner’s banner theft rules were established with those that occurred after.” . “What needs to be made dynamically clear is this: The fine mentioned in Major League Baseball’s letter was imposed before the new MLB regulations and standards were issued.”