The Boston Red Sox have reportedly been caught stealing signs from the New York Yankees with help from an.
The Yankees filed a complaint to Major League Baseball saying the Red Sox were stealing pitch signs by using the smartwatch during a four-game series last month in Boston, according to The New York Times. The Yankees provided a video showing a Red Sox staffer looking at his Apple Watch and relaying a message to players, possibly tipping off what pitches were going to be thrown.
MLB investigators confirmed the Yankees’ case by using the league’s own video for instant replays and broadcasts, the report said. However, it’s unclear if any rules were broken. The MLB began allowing the use of Apple Watches in the dugout in 2015.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday while there is no rule against stealing signs, using electronic means to do so is a violation and the allegations are under investigation.
“It’s the electronic equipment that creates the violation,” he said. “And I think the rule against electronic equipment has a number of policy reasons behind it, but one of them is that we don’t want to escalate attempts to figure out what a pitcher is going to throw by inducing or introducing technology or electronics into that mix.”
The Red Sox admitted to having trainers relay information from their replay staff to players using electronic devices, a strategy that was in place for weeks. Boston won two of those three games against the Yankees, and it holds a slight lead in the American League East division.
The Red Sox responded Tuesday by filing a complaint against the Yankees, saying the team uses a camera from its television network to steal signs during games.
Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday declined to comment specifically about electronic devices, but told reporters that stealing signs has been part of baseball for decades.
“Do I think sign stealing is wrong? No, I don’t. I guess it depends how you do it. But no, I never thought it was wrong. I guess everybody in the game has been involved with it throughout the years,” he said. “People are trying to win however they can. It’s an edge they are trying to gain. Sometimes your sophistication of signs can make a difference.”
First published Sept. 5, 3:17 p.m. PT.
Update, Sept. 6 at 6:58 a.m.: Adds comments from Red Sox official and MLB’s commissioner.
The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.
iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.