Boston Red Sox used Apple Watch to steal pitching signs in games against Yankees

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 2017
The Boston Red Sox used an Apple Watch to steal pitching signs from catchers in recent games against the New York Yankees, and potentially other teams, in an illicit ploy to gain an advantage for their hitters.


Apple CEO Tim Cook attends a Red Sox game in June. | Source: Tim Cook via Twitter


The Yankees caught Red Sox personnel stealing signs during a three-game series in Boston last month, reports The New York Times. Video of the scheme being carried out in the Red Sox dugout was included in a complaint filed with Major League Baseball, which examined the footage and confirmed the Yankees' suspicions.

According to people familiar with the inquiry, the video showed Red Sox assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim looking at his Apple Watch, which presumably displayed text information about Yankees catcher signals, and passing those details on to team members including former Yankee outfielder Chris Young.

Stealing signs is allowed in baseball and players commonly observe catcher cues to the pitcher in order to determine what kind of throw is on the way. For example, a baserunner on second with a clear view of home plate can steal signs and pass the information along to a teammate up at bat, who can then better respond to the toss. The use of binoculars, electronic devices and other equipment as an sign stealing aid is strictly verboten.

In a normal -- legal -- scenario, team personnel viewing instant replays determine pitch signals and run gathered intelligence down to the dugout on foot. Trainers or other staff then relay that information to runners on base. That chain of events can be dramatically shortened through the use of text messaging and other digital technologies, though MLB rules prohibit such tactics.

When confronted by MLB investigators, the Red Sox admitted that trainers had been receiving signals from video replay personnel via Apple Watch for at least several weeks. Whether the strategy helped Boston reach its current spot at the top of the American League East is up for debate.

According to box stats compiled by The Times, the first Red Sox runner to reach second during the first of the games in question was Xander Bogaerts. Rafael Devers, who was at bat when Bogaerts was on base, hit a home run to give Boston a 2-0 lead. During that first game, the Red Sox went 5 for 8 with a man on second, the report said. Despite the strong initial showing, Boston went 1 for 6 in the second game and 3 for 10 in the third game.

In response to the investigation, the Red Sox filed their own complaint against the Yankees, saying the New York team steals signs in games using its YES television network.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has yet to hand down a decision on potential punishment, if any. Some in the baseball community are calling for Manfred to dock Boston's wins, though it is more likely that the Red Sox will face fines and draft pick penalty.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    Oh no, not this again, with Boston.
    randominternetpersonrobin huber
  • Reply 2 of 30
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,485member

    What is it with Boston and their sport teams, I guess the entire town is filled with cheaters.

    Oh, I forgot it is okay to cheat as long as you pay the fine and promise not to do it again.

    edited September 2017 jbdragonrobin huberdasanman69
  • Reply 3 of 30
    If someone figures out the 'code' behind a 'secret' hand signal, why is that cheating exactly? I mean, can't someone figure them out at any time? Do you want to blindfold everyone? Is looking at tape of the people you will play and discussing it cheating? Is having surgery that replaces your knee caps or bones fair? It seems to me the line between 'cheating' and people doing what they can using technology (medical and otherwise) is pretty thin in sports. Are to imaging that no one has ever figured out hand signals before? 
    bshank
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Real winners never get “caught” cheating. 
    jbdragonmacky the macky
  • Reply 5 of 30
    Misleading title. The watch was used to receive information not actually steal the signs.


    jbdragonlolliverbshank
  • Reply 6 of 30
    anomeanome Posts: 1,260member

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    jbdragon[Deleted User]cyberzombie
  • Reply 7 of 30
    LOL.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,043member
    anome said:

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    I think it should be allowed. Then the Pitcher and catcher can get headsets and someone can tell them what to throw. Then there's no signals to see to cheap. See how it all works out in the end.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 9 of 30
    If iPhones are banned in dugouts how are they receiving information via Apple Watch?
  • Reply 10 of 30
    maestro64 said:

    What is it with Boston and their sport teams, I guess the entire town is filled with cheaters.

    Oh, I forgot it is okay to cheat as long as you pay the fine and promise not to do it again.

    Except that the "cheating" in question is pretty tame. The violation in Spygate with the Patriots was that the camera guy filming the opposing team's signals was on the sidelines and not the official filming area in the stands. So it was the location of the filming, not the filming itself, that was a violation. In Deflategate, the NFL never actually had a violation by the Patriots that could be verified by anyone. Roger Goodell even had to change the reason for the team and player punishment later on due to lack of evidence that the Patriots had actually deflated footballs. As for the Red Sox, the violation is simply using an electronic device to relay the stolen signals instead of having to do it by foot. As with Spygate, the actual stealing of the signals is within the rules.
    jony0
  • Reply 11 of 30
    jbdragon said:
    anome said:

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    I think it should be allowed. Then the Pitcher and catcher can get headsets and someone can tell them what to throw. Then there's no signals to see to cheap. See how it all works out in the end.
    I've believed for some time that if athletes want to use performance enhancing substances to give them a competitive edge, it should be allowed. It's their choice if they want to ruin their health or get themselves killed by using something dangerous in order to beat another team or make another point. As long as they divulge the substances they are using so everyone knows in advance.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 12 of 30
    If iPhones are banned in dugouts how are they receiving information via Apple Watch?
    If the dugout and field are covered by wifi that the paired iPhone has connected to in the past, an Apple Watch can use the wifi to stay connected. 
    mpantoneRayz2016
  • Reply 13 of 30
    anome said:

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    Give me a break.  Most sports have rules against using technology in an unusual or unsportsmanlike manner.  For example, here's a quote of FIFA's Laws of the Game:  
    "The use of radio communication systems between players and/or technical staff is not permitted."   So, yelling from the sidelines  is allowed but signaling with technology isn't?  Exactly.
    stompyronn
  • Reply 14 of 30
    I've believed for some time that if athletes want to use performance enhancing substances to give them a competitive edge, it should be allowed. It's their choice if they want to ruin their health or get themselves killed by using something dangerous in order to beat another team or make another point. As long as they divulge the substances they are using so everyone knows in advance.
    I disagree.  Some players are worshipped by young fans and aspiring athletes.  Condoning the use of performance enhancing substances might lead to mimicry.  Youth sports should teach lots of lessons besides "Win at all costs!"
  • Reply 15 of 30
    ronnronn Posts: 320member
    ph382 said:
    I've believed for some time that if athletes want to use performance enhancing substances to give them a competitive edge, it should be allowed. It's their choice if they want to ruin their health or get themselves killed by using something dangerous in order to beat another team or make another point. As long as they divulge the substances they are using so everyone knows in advance.
    I disagree.  Some players are worshipped by young fans and aspiring athletes.  Condoning the use of performance enhancing substances might lead to mimicry.  Youth sports should teach lots of lessons besides "Win at all costs!"
    Young athletes that don't have the right stuff will use PED no matter who is or isn't using them. It's already used in high school and college football, wrestling and even baseball.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,976member
    anome said:

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    A runner on second base can easily see the signs but if that information is only good for the batter who cannot see the sign. 
  • Reply 17 of 30
    There's no way to police this so you may as well let it go. They can just be more surreptitious by having a vibrating alert which no one will know about. A better course of action would be for the fielding team to develop a trickier code. In fact they could use very subtle modifiers for their signals so that the batting side would in fact pick up an incorrect signal and relay that.

    This would be a much better solution because it would use the team that is stealing the code against them.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 18 of 30
    anome said:

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    Yeah, it's definitely not cricket. 
  • Reply 19 of 30

    anome said:

    So "sign stealing" is legal, but using technology to signal the batsman isn't?

    You USAians and your weird games.

    Give me a break.  Most sports have rules against using technology in an unusual or unsportsmanlike manner.  For example, here's a quote of FIFA's Laws of the Game:  
    "The use of radio communication systems between players and/or technical staff is not permitted."   So, yelling from the sidelines  is allowed but signaling with technology isn't?  Exactly.
    OTOH, in US football, 'radio communication' allowed. Also, the use of instant replays to judge questionable calls is now common in basketball, baseball, and US football. It's all a matter of degree, so one can't really make broad generalizations. 

    I think that that fighting technology in sports is futile. And a bit Luddite. 
  • Reply 20 of 30
    "Great artists steal." /s
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