Red Sox used video replay room to steal signs during 2018 World Series season, per report
The Athletic reported Boston used the video replay room near the dugout to aid in electronically stealing signs.
For the second time this offseason, a cheating scandal has rocked Major League Baseball.
On Tuesday, The Athletic reported — using three anonymous sources — the Boston Red Sox used the video replay room near the dugout to aid in electronically stealing signs in 2018, when the team won 108 games during the regular season and the World Series.
The report said players would wander into the unguarded replay room during regular season games to decipher opponents’ sign sequences. That information would be relayed to a runner on second base. The runner would signal to the hitter whether the incoming pitch was a fastball— right foot off the bag first— or an offspeed offering— left foot first. This system, according to The Athletic, only worked with a runner on second or sometimes first.
The Red Sox led the league in runs scored in 2018 (876). The method stopped during the postseason when MLB instituted an in-person monitor inside the video replay rooms, apractice that carried over into the 2019 season.
Sign-stealing is a form of gamesmanship in baseball. A line is crossed, though, when signs are stolen through the use of technology. In March 2018, MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre issued a three-page memo to front offices saying “Tobe clear, the use of any equipment in the clubhouse or in a Club’s replay or video rooms to decode an opposing Club’s signs during the game violates this Regulation.”
This pastNovember, the HoustonAstros were accused of using a center-field camera that fed to a monitor near the dugout, allowing players to bang on a garbage can to alert the hitter to the type of pitch — a practice that peaked during the 2017 season, when they won the World Series. Alex Cora was Houston’s bench coach that season and was reported to have played a role in formulating that system. Boston hired him as manager that offseason, pitting him in the middle of both scandals.
In response to the allegations, MLB said it will open an investigation.
“The Commissioner made clear in a September 15, 2017 memorandum to clubs how seriously he would take any future violation of the regulations regarding use of electronic equipment or the inappropriate use of the video replay room,” MLB said in a statement to The Athletic.
The Red Sox responded with an statement: “We were recently made aware of allegations suggesting the inappropriate use of our video replay room. We take these allegations seriously and will fully cooperate with MLB as they investigate the matter.”
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