Earlier this week, an investigation conducted by the folks at Major League Baseball (MLB) found that the Boston Red Sox illicitly used an Apple Watch to help it gain an unfair advantage in at least one recent game against the New York Yankees, according to a report published by The New York Times.
MLB officials allege that Boston’s beloved baseball team used the Apple Watch to receive messages containing information about the Yankee’s upcoming pitches. From there, the messages would be relayed from the Red Sox’ dug-out to the team’s batter, affording them a leg-up in knowing what type of pitch to be ready for.
When the game of ball is being played, the catcher, crouched behind and out of view of the batter, will oftentimes throw gestures or finger signals to the pitcher about how the ball should be thrown (i.e., a ‘fast ball’, a ‘slider’, etc.) Could the batter see them, these signals could actually be quite useful in terms of ‘decoding’ upcoming pitches. And that’s how the concept of stealing signs was born:
‘Stealing Signs’, as the practice is known, is an unfair but nevertheless valuable maneuver that’s rather difficult to achieve, and involves “a team member seeing the opponent’s signal and somehow relaying that information to the batter in the short window before the ball is thrown,” according to BBC News.
How Does It Work?
What the Red Sox did, MLB investigators concluded, was they placed a pawn, err, a person, off the field so they could watch a live camera feed of the catcher and record the signals when they’re thrown to the pitcher. At breakneck speed, the person would then relay the signal to the Sox’ dug-out via an Apple Watch, at which point the information would then be passed on to the batter before the ball is thrown.
It’s a fast-minded and somewhat slimy practice, but it’s nevertheless “a thing” in the game of ball that happens often enough to legitimately concern MLB officials. While stealing signals via ‘analogue means’ — i.e., if a team mate at third base sees the catcher and reveals the signal to the batter — is legal, according to the MLB, using a device such as a telescope, binoculars, or anything electronic to aid in the process is not at all.
The New York Times report claims that MLB officials will now look into whether the Red Sox used this or a similar technique in previous games. It’s unclear what kind of punishment Boston could receive following the investigation; however the team is currently at the top of the American League Eastern division, so let’s just hope for their sake it’s nothing but a fine and a slap on the wrist, right?