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BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 15: Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Boston Red Sox hits the game winning three run homer against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 15, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeat the Yankees 7-5. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox Used Apple Watches To Steal Pitching Signals From Yankees

Major League Baseball investigators have confirmed the New York Yankees‘ allegations that the Boston Red Sox illicitly used Apple Watches to steal pitching signals during a three-game series at Fenway Park in August.

Red Sox Apple Watches Sign-Stealing Inquiry News

The New York Times first reported the story on Tuesday evening.

Hand signals are typically used by baseball teams — particularly catchers — to tell players when to steal bases or what type of pitch will be thrown next, among other reasons. The Yankees have now accused their division rivals of stealing such signs with the use of Apple watches and inside information from video replay personnel to gain an unfair advantage in games.

This development comes as the Yankees (74-64) are in a tight race against the Red Sox (78-61) in the American League East. The second-place Bombers are 3.5 games behind division leading Boston.

The Times reported that two weeks ago, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman filed a detailed complaint with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s office that included a video his team took of the Red Sox dugout during the three-game series in Boston in August.

The report said the Yankees “contended the video showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout. The trainer then relayed a message to other players in the dugout, who, in turn, would signal teammates on the field about the type of pitch that was about to be thrown, according to the people familiar with the case. ”

The Times then went on to explain that investigators used Manfred’s office instant replay and broadcast videos to verify the Yankees’ allegations. When investigators confronted the Red Sox, the team then confessed “that their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel” and then passed those signs onto their own players.

The Red Sox also reportedly responded with their own accusation against the Yankees, claiming the New York team also utilized a camera from its YES television network “exclusively to steal signs during games, an assertion the Yankees denied.”

Manfred has not announced how harsh a punishment, if any, he will deal to the Red Sox.

“We will conduct a thorough investigation on both sides,” Manfred told reporters at Fenway Park, where he made an appearance for an unrelated event. “We’re 100 percent comfortable that it is not an ongoing issue.”

Manfred added that although this form of cheating is certainly possible, he doesn’t recall it ever happening.

“Could it happen? You know, is there the authority to do that? I think the answer to that, under the major league constitution, is yes,” he said. “Has it ever happened with this type of allegation? I think the answer is — I know the answer is no.

“And the reason for that,” he added, “is it’s just very hard to know what the actual impact on any particular game was of an alleged violation.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell stated he knew his players were attempting to rob signals from the Yankees’ catcher and other players but was unaware they were using electronic devices. According to MLB rules, players can only use their eyes to steal signs when attempting to steal second base or in any other similar scenario. Binoculars and electronic devices are both forbidden.

“I’m aware of the rule,” Farrell said. “Electronic devices are not to be used in the dugout. Beyond that, all I can say is it’s a league matter at this point.”

As part of the probe, baseball investigators have interviewed the Red Sox team trainers and outfielderChris Young, a former Yankees player. According to the Times, “The Red Sox told league investigators that Mr. Farrell; Boston’s president for baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski; and other front-office officials were not aware of the sign-stealing operation.”

In the first game of the series from last month, the Red Sox gained a significant advantage the first time one of their runners reached second base. Shortly after Xander Bogaerts reached second in the second inning of the contest, Rafael Devers hit a home run and Boston went up 2-0. “The Red Sox went 5 for 8 in that game when they had a man on second,” per the Times.

The Red Sox were not as successful, however, when they had runner on second in the following two games of the series: they went 1 for 6 in the second and 3 for 10 in the third.

The Times also added that the video the Yankees showed the commissioner’s office included three clips. “In the clips, the Red Sox assistant athletic trainer, Jon Jochim, is seen looking at his Apple Watch and then passing information to outfielder Brock Holt and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was injured at the time but in uniform,” the paper reported. “In one instance, Pedroia is then seen passing the information to Young.”

This is not the first such instance of sign-stealing in MLB. In 1997, teams accused the Mets of placing tiny cameras near home plate in Shea Stadium to rob hand signals. The Mets denied the allegations, and the league did not investigate or hand down any type of punishment.

More recently, the Philadelphia Phillies were alleged to have stolen signs in 2011. Multiple teams filed complaints with the commissioner’s office that the Phillies used binoculars and other prohibited devices to rob signals. The league never imposed penalties on the Phillies.

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 15: Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Boston Red Sox hits the game winning three run homer against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 15, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeat the Yankees 7-5. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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Written by Pablo Mena