A new report from The New York Times says that the Boston Red Sox have been using Apple Watches to steal signs. The report indicates that it started about two weeks ago, when the general manager of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman, filed a complaint with the MLB. The complaint alleges that the Red Sox were stealing signs with an elaborate Apple Watch ploy. Investigators from the MLB used video evidence to determine that the Red Sox did, in fact, “execute a scheme to illicitly steam hand signals from opponents’ catchers”.
So how did they do it, exactly? A member of the Red Sox training staff would look at his Apple Watch in the dugout. He would then relay messages to players on the field. The trainer was receiving messages from Red Sox personnel in charge of viewing instant replay video. In baseball, stealing signs is discouraged. But it’s also viewed to be part of the game as long as electronic devices and binoculars are not used. Which is what makes this kind of bad. That being said, everyone has a camera on their phone. So it’s easier to steal signs, and harder to manage.
Several teams have been accused of having people in their clubhouse watching replay video, and then relaying the signals to the dugout by foot. From there, the dugout informs players on the field of what pitch is coming. The Red Sox’s method is significantly simpler because of the Apple Watch. When contacted by the MLB, the Red Sox admitted to stealing the signals.
It’s unclear at this point what the next move will be by the MLB. It’s believed that the Red Sox have been using this scheme for several weeks. But the situation is getting more complicated as the Red Sox are now accusing the Yankees of stealing signs through the use of cameras. This isn’t the first time that an Apple Watch has been involved in MLB drama. Kansas City manager Ned Yost was caught using an Apple Watch in the dugout two years ago. But the drama fizzled once it was confirmed that Yost’s watch wasn’t actually connected to his iPhone.
So is this really a big deal? Sure, it’s “illegal” in terms of the MLB rule of no electronic devices. Which I get, but is this just a natural progression because of technology? I’m not condoning this by any means. But it is 2017, so technology is bound to play a role in sporting events. What I’m getting at is this. Could some kind of wearable – an Apple Watch for example – be beneficial to the athlete in terms of performance? In theory it could help him perform better. So perhaps wearables should be considered when it comes to sports. That being said, there are always going to people trying to break the rules.
I wonder if these kinds of rules need to be reviewed because of the technology that is available to us now. Like I said, these kinds of things could be beneficial to a player. Yes, I understand rules around jewelry. I get it. But I wonder if it’s a dated rule. Not using electronic devices is also a league rule. So they will have to decide what to do with the Red Sox… and Yankees if that’s true. But I also think they might want to consider what other rules could be updated.