The Boston Red Sox found themselves under scrutiny on Tuesday afternoon when the New York Times reported they had used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the New York Yankees during the August 18-20 series at Fenway Park.
Before that series, the Yankees were sure the Red Sox were stealing signs, but they weren’t able to prove it until they reviewed video showing blatant use of the computerized watch.
“It was something we suspected was going on,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said.
Gardner acknowledged that stealing signs is a ‘game within a game’. But when you add technology to the picture, the simple game turns into an illegal edge. After discovering evidence, the Yankees handed video to commissioner Rob Manfred, who is now investigating the incident. Not only do the Yankees believe the Red Sox were cheating against them, but also against the entire league.
So, how exactly did the Red Sox manage to pull off ‘Applegate’?
Members of the Red Sox organization would study the catcher’s signs to decode what pitch would be thrown in the next sequence. They would then relay the information to assistant trainer Jon Jochim via text message–which can be viewed on an Apple Watch–and he would relay the message to the hitters in the dugout.
Because the Yankees were aware the Red Sox were stealing their signs, Gary Sanchez made multiple mound visits to change what each sign meant. While the constant mound visits were criticized by those around baseball, the revelation of ‘Applegate’ made it clear what Sanchez was doing.
After the Red Sox admitted their doing in ‘Applegate’, they attempted to shift the attention to the Yankees by claiming the Yankees were also stealing signs by using the YES Network camera feed.
Manager Joe Girardi was quick to debunk the theory, and officials claimed it couldn’t have been possible because the Yankees are not majority owners of the YES Network. A source told ESPN New York that the Red Sox were simply trying to ‘muddle the waters to win some PR points‘, especially since the Red Sox were unable to provide proof.
According to Major League Baseball’s official rules, teams are not allowed to use iPads, iPhones or other electronic devices during the game under any circumstances. After the review of ‘Applegate’, I imagine Apple Watches will be added to the list of electronic devices teams cannot have in the dugout.