Punishment in order for Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox were caught using an Apple Watch to steal signs from opponents

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A decision is expected by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on the fate of the Red Sox this week.

Baseball is well known as America’s pastime, an old-school game that has been around since the mid-nineteenth century. For as long as the game has been played, sign stealing has been a long-standing tradition and unwritten rule of the sport. It is essentially a game within the game, if you will.

Sign stealing consists of one team intercepting the hand signals of their opponent and deciphering them to gain a strategic advantage during a game.

In 1951, the New York Giants reportedly used a telescope from center field to read signs from opposing catchers. In 1997, the New York Mets were accused of using a small camera near home plate to peek at catchers.

Even as recently as 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies caught heat when they were accused of stealing signs when teams complained they used binoculars to watch opposing catchers, according to Sports Illustrated.

None of these instances resulted in any punishment from Major League Baseball, mainly because there is no such rule against sign stealing.

The Boston Red Sox recently added their own modern twist to sign stealing, which was not to the liking of their longtime rival, the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the Yankees and possibly other teams.

On Aug. 23, the Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, submitted a complaint with the commissioner’s office coupled with video footage of the Red Sox bullpen during a three-game series between the two teams.

The Yankees believe the video shows a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout. The trainer relayed the message(s) to players in the dugout, who would then signal to teammates on the field about what type of pitch was going to be thrown.

When confronted by the commissioner’s office, Boston admitted their trainers received signals from video replay personnel that were relayed to Red Sox players, not only in this series but for several weeks, according to the New York Times.

While there is no rule explicitly barring sign stealing, there are regulations in place banning the use of certain electronic devices.

MLB approved the use of tablets before the 2016 season, but these dugout and bullpen devices do not have internet or live stream capabilities to avoid the type of behavior the Red Sox are currently under investigation for.

Under the league constitution, the commissioner, Rob Manfred, has the power to strip the Red Sox of wins if he sees fit. When asked of the likelihood of any punishment in store, Manfred was vague.

“It’s just very hard to know what the actual impact in any particular game was of an alleged violation like this,” Manfred said.

With the Red Sox currently in first place and the Yankees right behind by three and a half games, the decision will be impactful.

I am all for trying to gain a competitive advantage in sports when legal. Catching on to an opposing team’s signals is fair game and has been for as long as baseball has been around.

However, using training personnel and banned electronic devices in the dugout to gain a leg up is simply against the rules and should be punished accordingly.