Red Sox Confident They Won't Suffer Same Punishment As Astros
The Red Sox appear confident that MLB's investigation into any actions taken by their '18 World Series championship team will "not be as damning" as what was revealed about former manager Alex Cora's activities with the '17 Astros and their "system of stealing signs from opponents using a video feed," according to a front-page piece by Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Red Sox were accused of "using video to steal signs" in '17 and were "hit with a small fine." All teams were then warned before the '18 season that "further violations would be more severely punished." Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy said, "The organization is well aware of the rules and communicated those to our uniform personnel and our front office staff." Red Sox Owner John Henry added, "We took a number of steps to assure that we didn't have a problem going forward" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/16). In Massachusetts, Chris Cotillo writes Henry yesterday "sure sounded like a man who knew something we didn't." That hints that the Red Sox "might not think they're [in] as much trouble as the public" (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 1/16). ESPN's Pedro Gomez cited a source as saying that the Red Sox are "not going to be necessarily viewed as a repeat offender" following the '17 Apple watch incident unless MLB finds "more when they investigate." What the Red Sox are looking at is "probably a very similar punishment to the Astros" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/15).
AVOIDING THE ISSUE: In Boston, Jason Mastrodonato notes the Red Sox' top execs "admitted to nothing" yesterday. They "did not apologize." They "put everything on" Cora, then "grabbed a broom and tried to sweep everything under the rug" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/16). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes the Red Sox "didn't own up to anything ... repeatedly saying they were following commissioner Rob Manfred's directive that they couldn't talk about the allegations until the investigation concludes." The ownership group "heaped lavish praise on Cora throughout the press conference." Nightengale: "If the Red Sox ownership truly doesn't know whether Cora and its own players cheated -- particularly considering their love for Cora -- why wouldn't they have waited?" (USA TODAY, 1/16). MLB Network's Brian Kenny noted the Red Sox execs conducted a "delicate dance" yesterday. MLB Network's Dan O'Dowd: "It was an uncomfortable press conference." MLB Net's Ron Darling called it as "tough as I've ever seen any baseball news conference" ("MLB Now," MLB Network, 1/15). In Boston, John Tomase noted the Red Sox ownership claims that Cora "had to go solely because of his actions in Houston." Still, considering Cora is being "accused of conducting the exact same behavior in Boston, minus the trash can, it's hard to see how the team can play the innocent-until-proven-guilty card" (NBCSPORTSBOSTON.com, 1/15).
WHO'S MAKING THE CALLS? In Boston, Sean McAdam wrote the "question that needs to be asked" is what was Manfred's role in the firings carried out by the Astros and Red Sox, even if it is "highly unlikely they'll be answered honestly." Manfred "went out of his way to praise" Astros Owner Jim Crane for his "cooperation in MLB's investigation of the Astros." And within an hour of Manfred's "punishments being made public," both President of Baseball Operations & GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were out. McAdam: "Would it be hard to believe the commissioner could have 'strongly advised' both teams to move on from their implicated personnel?" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 1/15).