Rob Manfred Says Red Sox Being Cooperative With Investigation Into Sign Stealing
The Red Sox could be in violation of MLB regulations "banning the use of certain electronic devices in the dugout" after the team used an Apple Watch for sign stealing, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. A source said that the practice, which was notably used against the Yankees, also "occurred against other teams" and "involves at least four Red Sox players." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred yesterday confirmed that the Red Sox have been "'100% cooperative' with the league's investigation," but also noted that there is "no rule explicitly barring sign-stealing" (USA TODAY, 9/6). In N.Y., Michael Schmidt noted the MLB inquiry began about two weeks ago after Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman "filed a detailed complaint with the commissioner’s office that included video the Yankees shot of the Red Sox dugout." The Yankees "contended the video showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout." The commissioner’s office then "confronted the Red Sox, who admitted that their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to Red Sox players -- an operation that had been in place for at least several weeks." The Red Sox responded "filing a complaint against the Yankees claiming that the team uses a camera from its YES television network exclusively to steal signs during games." It is "unclear what penalties," if any, Manfred will issue against the Red Sox and whether he will "order a more expansive investigation to determine the extent of the Red Sox’ sign-stealing system" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6).
NOTHING TO FUSS ABOUT? In Boston, Jason Mastrodonato noted Red Sox LF Chris Young and team trainers were "interviewed by the league." The team told investigators that manager John Farrell nor President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski nor other front office officials "were aware of the sign stealing" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/6). ESPN.com's Scott Lauber noted Dombrowski "failed to see what all the fuss was about." He "responded to questions with verbal shrugs, smiles and a few chuckles" -- looking "not at all" like the exec of a team that is under investigation. Dombrowski: "Do I think sign stealing is wrong? No, I don't. I guess everybody in the game has been involved with it throughout the years. People are trying to win however they can. It's an edge they are trying to gain. I guess it depends how you do it, but no, I never thought it was wrong." However, Dombrowski "wasn't above a not-so-veiled accusation that the Yankees leaked the story" on a day they knew Manfred "would be in Boston." Dombrowski: "I've talked to other general managers, and I know that (the Yankees) have been involved in those things, too. I'm not really sure why (it was handled this way). Everybody has to do what they think is the right thing to do" (ESPN.com, 9/5). Meanwhile, Yankees manager Joe Girardi denied the Red Sox' counter-complaint, saying, “No chance. We’re not doing it" (WSJ.com, 9/5).
DIFFICULT TO POLICE: USA TODAY's Nightengale noted there "likely will be fines" and maybe even the "loss of a draft pick." But there may be "nothing more" beyond that, as MLB never concluded that Dombrowski, Farrell and management "knew of the elaborate scheme." MLB with its punishment "has a choice: Thoroughly embrace new technology -- and create a digital version of the Wild West as games unfold -- or take a step back in the name of fair play" (USA TODAY, 9/6). On Long Island, David Lennon writes with ballparks "elaborately wired," having the Yankees catch the Red Sox with video evidence was "just the natural progression of an age-old practice" (NEWSDAY, 9/6).
REPUTATION AT STAKE? In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes for the city of Boston, this is "more about their reputation." This is "going to be tough to live down." The Patriots get "ratted out by the Jets and the Colts," and now the "hated Yankees apparently caught the Red Sox red-handed" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/6). Also in Boston, Steve Buckley writes under the header, "Not Surprising This Sad Red Sox Team Gets Caught In Scandal" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/6). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro wrote under the header, "Scandal A Reminder Of Boston Sports' Broken Moral Compass" (N.Y. POST, 9/6). BOSTON SPORTS JOURNAL's Sean McAdam writes under the header, "Watchgate More Silly Than Serious Infraction." The reason this "rose to the level of an investigation is the teams involved" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 9/6). SI.com's Tom Verducci wrote in the short term, this is "good for baseball" (SI.com, 9/5).
TIME TO WATCH AGAIN: CSNNE.com's Evan Drellich wrote the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is "entertaining as hell for everyone watching." The rivalry is "turning into a soap opera again" (CSNNE.com, 9/5). In N.Y., Ken Davidoff writes, "This is fun stuff. Spare me your outrage" (N.Y. POST, 9/6).