By JACKSON DOWNEY
While most people who own an Apple watch use it to track their steps, see notifications, or just as a fashion statement, the Boston Red Sox used Apple watches in an underhanded way. The team was caught by baseball authorities for using the watch to ‘steal signs’ or in other words cheat and they admitted to their dishonest actions.
The Red Sox team used the watches to receive pitching signs that the New York Yankees were using against them in a game. The team got away with this by having an inside source from the Yankee team training room sending messages to a trainer in the dugout, who would then read it off of his watch. A player or coach in the dugout would then signal the batter about the incoming pitch.
Signs are signals used by catchers to tell the pitcher what kind of pitch he should use for a certain player isn’t new. Teams will steal these signs by relaying the information to the batter so that he will have a better chance of hitting the ball. Typically, sign stealing involves a base coach or another player signaling the batter about the sign. This practice has been used before and it is allowed as long as there are no visual aids or technology.
Mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets are banned from use in the dugout. Wearables, however, such as the Apple watch were deemed acceptable in the dugout as long as they were not used to send or receive any messages or information. By using the watch in such a way, the Red Sox will receive punishment by the league that is currently undisclosed. Possible punishments could include a fine or the termination of members of the Red Sox administration, though this is not likely to occur.
This scandal was brought to light by the New York Yankees, who accused the Red Sox of using this tactic last month. The Red Sox admitted to cheating as the evidence mounted. Shortly after admitting to cheating, the team went to the Major League Baseball administration, citing evidence of the Yankees using a YES network video camera to steal signs from them as well. The Yankees have denied the accusation, which is currently under investigation by the league commissioner, Rob Manfred.
Some have taken this second accusation as evidence that the use of technology to steal signs is far more rampant within the MLB. Mirroring the doping scandals within cycling, it is possible that a majority of teams are cheating in similar ways but are not getting caught. Others have pointed out the fierce rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox, pointing out that the Red Sox may be making false accusations in order to hurt the reputation of the Yankees.
While it is unlikely that the Red Sox would go to the MLB just to get back at the Yankees, experts have said that the biggest punishment for the Boston team is the negative attention it is receiving.