Well, it seems that cheating in baseball is absolutely worth it. The Houston Astros did it for several seasons, won a World Series, and for the most part, the organization as a whole got a slap on the wrist. No players faced penalties. The franchise itself paid a fine that amounts to a hill of beans and a can of tuna. But compared to what Major League Baseball just handed down to the Boston Red Sox for their part in a sign stealing scandal, the Astros got the guillotine.

In 2018 the Boston Red Sox were using video cameras to watch the catcher put down signs, then relay that information to the dugout, and then the hitters. Their punishment? The video replay guy was suspended for 2020, and he’s not allowed to work as the video replay guy in 2021. Oh, and the Red Sox have to give up their 2nd round draft pick in 2020. That’s it. That was the entirety of their punishment. Alex Cora, who was the manager of the Red Sox until January when he and the team mutually decided to part ways, was given a suspension for the 2020 season – but only for his involvement in the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal from 2017. He was not punished at all for what happened with the Red Sox in 2018.

So what are the difference between what the Astros did and what the Red Sox did? Well, if you are going to believe what Major League Baseball says (spoiler alert: I’m not), this was something that was directed not by the manger or coaches or players, but by the video replay operator.

This is where things become highly questionable from my view. The report basically says that it was the video replay operator acting alone. While it’s believable that he wasn’t instructed to do this on his own, he couldn’t have done it on his own. The signs he was stealing were relayed through multiple people in order to get to the hitter.

This is from the report:

I do not find that then-Manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox coaching staff, the Red Sox front office, or most of the players on the 2018 Red Sox knew or should have known that Watkins was utilizing in-game video to update the information that he had learned from his pregame analysis. Communication of these violations was episodic and isolated to Watkins and a limited number of Red Sox players only.

Are we honestly supposed to believe that no coaches or managers participated in the relay of signs from a video replay room, down a tunnel, into the dugout, and then to the batter? And if we can somehow accept that they didn’t do that, that they were also all so dumb that they didn’t see what was going on around them for an entire season? That somehow several players could figure out the signs the catcher was giving from the dugout and get them to the hitter? On no planet does that make an ounce of sense. But that’s what Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox want us to believe happened.

Oh yeah, they also want us to believe that almost none of the players knew that what they were doing was against the rules in 2018. You know, on the Boston Red Sox, who were fined in 2017 over the Apple Watch incident, which directly led to an MLB memo to all teams about using technology to steal signs – yeah, those same guys seemed to “believe” what was happening wasn’t illegal and against the rules. Right. And I’m the king of France.

12 Responses

  1. Melvin

    MLB, with the way it treated Pete Rose betting on his own team to win, and then steroid users, and then especially the cheating scandals, has basically lost it and is losing all credibility. One has to ask oneself, what taints the game more and who got the harsher penalty? Does it make any sense?

  2. FreeHouse

    Robert Manfred is a joke plain and simple. MLB needs a commissioner who really cares about the game. Players and owners need to come together and force him to step down. Bud Selig sucked as a commissioner but Manfred makes him look good compared to him.

    • Doug Gray

      MLB has a great commissioner…. If you own a team.

    • JayTheRed

      I had no issue with Bud Selig. I thought he did a pretty decent job overall. Its really hard to find someone who the owners will want to keep around and someone who can portray the game of baseball well with the fans and gets the support of the players.

      The things Selig introduced to the game were thought out and made sense. A lot of the changes that have been made by Manfred have been more annoying than anything to pretty much everyone in the game. The world has changed a lot in the technology age since 2000 hit.

      I just wish Manfred would stop tinkering so much.

    • TR

      Red Sox/Yankees is the most popular MLB rivalry for fans and advertisers, so I’m sure Manfred (a Yankee fan) wants to hold back on besmirching that rivalry.

    • Tom Reeves

      If I were a player, I’d refuse to play these two teams. Basically, a targeted strike. That’s a heck of a lot safer than than beaning players at the plate, which is the more likely retaliation.

  3. Hotto4Votto

    The owners are the biggest villains in MLB right now. They prop up a commissioner who enables their greed and dishonesty and allows them to act with impunity regardless of their actions. Baseball is in a sad spot right now because of greed and corruption of billionaire owners. It’s disheartening to see.

    • Scott C

      This is not a new development. Greed and corruption has always been there.

  4. JayTheRed

    What a joke , If they cheated they should get at least the same punishment the Astros got. If anyone was involved that had been with the Astros cases in the Red Sox instigation they should be banned from baseball for life.

  5. AllTheHype

    Unlike the Astros situation, several Red Sox players from 2018, both former and current players, said there was NOTHING to it. They did not cheat. And they said this before MLB released its report. They had no idea what was in the report at the time they publicly made those comments. The only thing they knew was there was nothing to the accusations.

    So the assumption in this article that they must have cheated is not backed up by MLB’s report nor any player not any other evidence.

  6. Colorado Red

    They cover for more popular teams.
    Outside of Houston, the Astros are not the popular.
    The Bosox are real popular.
    So, do not want to affect the cash cow at all.
    The Commish is a total jerk, who should be fired.