The Boston Red Sox have been using an Apple Watch to gain the upper hand while stealing signs, according to a report from Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times.
The investigation began about two weeks ago, after the Yankees, currently second in the AL East behind the leading Red Sox, filed a complaint with the commissioner’s office. Schmidt writes:
“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.”
The commissioner’s office reportedly corroborated the Yankees’ evidence with video from the league. Once confronted with the findings, the Red Sox “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 Times reported.
But the drama did not end there. On Tuesday, the Red Sox filed a complaint of their own, arguing that the Yankees were using a camera from the YES Network to steal signs – a claim the Yankees declined to comment on, according to The Times.
While sign stealing is permitted, it is against the rules to do so using anything but your eyes.
As the commissioner’s office looked over the evidence the Yankees provided, it found what appeared to be a troubling relay of information, according to The Times:
“In the clips, the team’s assistant athletic trainer, Jon Jochim, is seen looking at his Apple Watch and then passing information to outfielder Brock Holt and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was injured at the time but in uniform. In one instance, Pedroia is then seen passing the information to Young.”
The Red Sox seemed to bat pretty well with a runner on second during one of the games under investigation – Schmidt notes that they went 5 for 8 with a runner on second in the first game of the series, including a home run that gave them a 2-0 lead.
There’s no word yet on whether the Red Sox will be punished. According to Schmidt, some would like to see the MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, take away wins from the Sox, but some combination of fines and the loss of draft picks is a much more likely scenario.
The Red Sox’s manager, John Farrell, told Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe that while he knew players were trying to steal signs, he was unaware of the devices used.
“I would have shut that down,” Farrell said, according to Abraham.
The Red Sox hold a 2.5-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, and the Yankees lead the AL wild-card race. If the teams meet again this year, it will be during the postseason.