The Boston Red Sox are reportedly under investigation for cheating during the team’s 2018 World Series championship season.
The Athletic website cited multiple unnamed sources who were with the team and detailed a system of using video to pick up and decode an opposing catcher’s signs to the pitcher during the regular season. The video was reportedly monitored in the replay room just outside the Fenway Park dugout.
Once the signs were decoded, they were relayed to players in the dugout then to a runner on second base, who could watch the catcher’s signs knowing what they meant and use subtle body language to tell hitters which pitches were coming.
While runners on second base have always attempted to decode catchers’ signals, the use of video adds a high-tech element to the scheme ― one that violates Major League Baseball rules.
“It’s cheating,” an unnamed person who was with the team during that season told The Athletic. “Because if you’re using a camera to zoom in on the crotch of the catcher, to break down the sign system, and then take that information and give it out to the runner, then he doesn’t have to steal it.”
MLB told the website it was investigating and the team promised to cooperate.
The investigation comes months after allegations surfaced that the Houston Astros cheated with their own sign-stealing scheme during their 2017 championship season. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was then the bench coach for the Astros.
Now, Cora’s sterling debut as Boston manager, in which the team dominated the regular season with 108 wins, is being called into question. The 2018 Red Sox led all baseball in multiple offensive measures including hits, runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
“It’s hard to see a scenario in which Cora doesn’t get suspended,” wrote the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato.
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy said that if the reports are true, “the Red Sox are an arrogant disgrace” and urged MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to come down hard on both teams if the allegations are confirmed.
“Throw the book at ’em,” he wrote.
“We’re going to investigate the Red Sox allegations with the same thoroughness and vigor that we did Houston,” Manfred told Sports Illustrated Tuesday.
The results of the Astros investigation have not yet been announced. ESPN said that’s expected in weeks and will likely include “long suspensions.”