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[Rosenthal] Breaking: Red Sox Penalties

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by DieHard Rocket, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. DieHard Rocket

    DieHard Rocket Contributing Member

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    Major League Baseball’s ruling on the Boston Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing in 2018 determined the primary culprit was not the front office, manager Alex Cora or the players, but the team’s video replay system operator.

    The league, in findings that will be released Wednesday afternoon, suspended the operator, J.T. Watkins, and docked the Red Sox a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. It also suspended Cora through the conclusion of the 2020 postseason, but only for his conduct as Astros bench coach in 2017, not as Red Sox manager in ’18, when the team won 108 games and the World Series.

    Following a January report from The Athletic on the Red Sox’s conduct, Commissioner Rob Manfred found that Watkins, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, illegally utilized game feeds in the replay room to help players during games — an undertaking less egregious than the Astros’ famed 2017 sign-stealing scheme.

    The league did not find that Boston’s impermissible conduct continued during the 2018 postseason or 2019 regular season.

    Manfred said the investigation included interviews with 65 witnesses, including 34 current and former Red Sox players, as well as reviews of tens of thousands of emails, text messages, video clips and photographs. The league’s department of investigations interviewed some witnesses multiple times, and Manfred said he personally met with several.

    Watkins, who according to Manfred’s report vehemently denies engaging in wrongdoing, will be suspended without pay for the 2020 regular season and prohibited from serving as a replay room operator for the 2021 regular season and postseason.

    Manfred, in requiring the Red Sox to forfeit a draft pick, said, “The club must be held accountable, particularly since the club may have benefited from Watkins’ conduct.” The commissioner again did not discipline players, adhering to his September 2017 decision in the wake of the so-called “Apple Watch incident” that led to fines for both the Red Sox and Yankees, as well as a later immunity agreement with the baseball players’ union. But the commissioner indicated he wouldn’t have had interest in disciplining players in this particular instance, noting “this is not a case in which I would have otherwise considered imposing discipline on players.”

    It was in 2017 that Manfred publicly said he would hold the general manager and manager responsible for any future sign-stealing misconduct. He restated that position Jan. 13 in his report announcing his discipline of the Astros for illegal sign stealing.

    But with the Red Sox, the league essentially determined that Watkins acted as a rogue employee. Manfred absolved Cora and his coaches from responsibility and found the team’s front office effectively communicated baseball’s sign-stealing rules to non-player staff.

    Not all of the players understood what constituted a violation, however.

    “Many players told my investigators that they were unaware that in-game sign decoding from the replay station had been prohibited in 2018 and 2019,” the report says.
     
    #1 DieHard Rocket, Apr 22, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  2. msn

    msn Member

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  3. Nook

    Nook Member

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    LOL BWHAHA ...... so predictable
     
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  4. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Wednesday afternoon drop during pandemic ... no one cares. :rolleyes:
     
  5. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Major League Baseball’s ruling on the Boston Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing in 2018 determined the primary culprit was not the front office, manager Alex Cora or the players, but the team’s video replay system operator.

    The league, in findings that will be released Wednesday afternoon, suspended the operator, J.T. Watkins, and docked the Red Sox a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. It also suspended Cora through the conclusion of the 2020 postseason, but only for his conduct as Astros bench coach in 2017, not as Red Sox manager in ’18, when the team won 108 games and the World Series.

    Following a January report from The Athletic on the Red Sox’s conduct, Commissioner Rob Manfred found that Watkins, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, illegally utilized game feeds in the replay room to help players during games — an undertaking less egregious than the Astros’ famed 2017 sign-stealing scheme.

    The league did not find that Boston’s impermissible conduct continued during the 2018 postseason or 2019 regular season.

    Manfred said the investigation included interviews with 65 witnesses, including 34 current and former Red Sox players, as well as reviews of tens of thousands of emails, text messages, video clips and photographs. The league’s department of investigations interviewed some witnesses multiple times, and Manfred said he personally met with several.

    Watkins, who according to Manfred’s report vehemently denies engaging in wrongdoing, will be suspended without pay for the 2020 regular season and prohibited from serving as a replay room operator for the 2021 regular season and postseason.

    Manfred, in requiring the Red Sox to forfeit a draft pick, said, “The club must be held accountable, particularly since the club may have benefited from Watkins’ conduct.” The commissioner again did not discipline players, adhering to his September 2017 decision in the wake of the so-called “Apple Watch incident” that led to fines for both the Red Sox and Yankees, as well as a later immunity agreement with the baseball players’ union. But the commissioner indicated he wouldn’t have had interest in disciplining players in this particular instance, noting “this is not a case in which I would have otherwise considered imposing discipline on players.”

    It was in 2017 that Manfred publicly said he would hold the general manager and manager responsible for any future sign-stealing misconduct. He restated that position Jan. 13 in his report announcing his discipline of the Astros for illegal sign stealing.

    But with the Red Sox, the league essentially determined that Watkins acted as a rogue employee. Manfred absolved Cora and his coaches from responsibility and found the team’s front office effectively communicated baseball’s sign-stealing rules to non-player staff.

    Not all of the players understood what constituted a violation, however.

    “Many players told my investigators that they were unaware that in-game sign decoding from the replay station had been prohibited in 2018 and 2019,” the report says.
     
  6. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

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    **** this bullshit
     
  7. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    The Red Sox and Cora said they agreed to a mutual parting on Jan. 14, the day after Manfred found the Astros’ guilty of sign-stealing violations, saying they “collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward.” In his Astros ruling, Manfred said Cora played a significant role in devising Houston’s illegal sign-stealing.

    Manfred did not include discipline for Cora when he announced his penalties for the Astros in January. At that point, baseball’s investigation of the Red Sox was less than a week old, and Manfred said he would wait for its conclusion before determining Cora’s punishment.

    “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,” Manfred wrote in Wednesday’s report. “Communication of these violations was episodic and isolated to Watkins and a limited number of Red Sox players only.”

    As a result, the penalties baseball imposed on the Red Sox were far lighter than what the Astros received for violations that occurred during the 2017 regular season and their postseason run to the World Series title, as well as the 2018 regular season.

    Those penalties included the losses of two first-round and second-round draft picks, a $5 million fine and suspensions without pay for general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch through the end of the 2020 World Series. Astros owner Jim Crane announced the dismissals of Luhnow and Hinch later that same day.

    The Astros’ sign-stealing system included real-time relay to hitters on the type of pitch was coming. Manfred also said that Luhnow “had some knowledge” of the Astros’ illegal activity, “but did not give it much attention” and “failed to take any adequate steps to ensure that his club was in compliance with the rules.”

    The league viewed the Red Sox’s conduct as far less severe — both in the way the front office attempted to comply with the rules, not wanting to commit a second offense on top of its violation in the “Apple Watch” incident, and in the way the team stole signs through the illegal use of electronics during games.

    The Red Sox’s form of communication was replay room to dugout to baserunner to hitter – a less direct and flagrant method than setting up a television monitor to more easily bang on a trash can pitch by pitch, which the Astros did at home in 2017. The Astros’ system was triggered by a center-field camera and a video screen positioned near the dugout; no one on the playing field was involved in stealing the sign.

    Since the advent of instant-replay challenges, every team has a designated staff member who mans the video-replay station during a given game, home or on the road. That staff member typically has other duties with the club, such as advance work: helping prepare players for a given game or series. Watkins’ regular responsibilities in Boston included decoding signs before and after games, a legal act in the sport — so long as he does not decode live during a game and tell the players what he’s found. Determining whether that happened in Boston was one of MLB’s central tasks.

    During home games, Watkins was stationed in a room very close to the Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park, in the same small area where the batting cage is, an area with a lot of foor traffic and hitters coming in and out. He traveled with the team on the road, as well.

    “Prior to the start of the 2018 season, the Red Sox moved the replay station from a relatively remote upstairs area to a small room just outside of the dugout that also housed several stations for players to review clips of their past at bats, known as BATS stations,” the commissioner wrote. “Watkins was the sole Red Sox employee staffed in this replay room, but other staff and players trafficked in and out of the room to review the BATS monitors or speak to Watkins about his advanced research on various topics.”

    In addition to Watkins’ denial of decoding signs during the game via the replay system, the league said that 30 players said they had no knowledge of such behavior.
    MLB investigators talked to six witnesses who observed Watkins write out signs during the game, and 11 said that Watkins communicated sign information in a way that indicated he obtained it during the game. Four witnesses said Watkins used gestures or notes to communicate to them sign sequence information when a major league employee assigned to watch over video rooms was present.

    “One player, who was interviewed twice, said that he had no doubt that Watkins utilized the replay room to decode signs on occasion, and said that he watched Watkins attempt to decode the sign sequence by writing sign information on computer paper while he watched the replay station in the replay room and then circling the correct sign in the sequence after the pitch was thrown,” Manfred said. “Another player said that he believed that 90% of Watkins’s sign sequence information was obtained from his advance work, but that 10% of the time Watkins ‘obviously’ updated that information from in-game video feeds.”

    Manfred wrote that Watkins admitted he communicated sign information during games to players — but that he said when he did so, it was based on old information, not newly discovered during that same game.

    “Similarly, if a baserunner had decoded signs from second base and reported the information back to him, Watkins would circulate that information to other players,” the investigation found. “In fact, he asserted that players were aware that they were supposed to routinely provide him with sign information gathered when they were on second base.”

    Manfred said Watkins admitted that in 2018 and 2019, he did indeed notice sign sequences while working replay, but that he would keep only a mental log and would not send the information to players.

    Watkins also “electronically bookmarked games whenever a player reached second base so that he could incorporate the ensuing at bat into his postgame research.”

    MLB announced its investigation of the Red Sox on Jan. 7, the day The Athletic reported that three people who were with the team during its 108-win 2018 season said that during the regular season, at least some players visited the video replay room during games to learn the sign sequence opponents were using.

    The Red Sox have been punished for sign-stealing behavior before, on September 15, 2017, a ruling that his office viewed as a line in the sand. Both the Red Sox and Yankees were fined for impermissible conduct, the Red Sox a larger amount. The Yankees had video of a Red Sox athletic trainer looking at a wearable device in the dugout and relaying what he was told to players.

    In his statement announcing those penalties, Manfred said he received “absolute assurances” from the Red Sox that they would not again engage in illegal sign-stealing activity, and also warned every other team.

    “The clubs were on notice,” Manfred recalled this winter, “that however the commissioner’s office dealt with these issues historically, going forward, I viewed them with a particular level of seriousness.”
     
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  8. zeeshan2

    zeeshan2 Member

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    pathetic
     
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  9. DieHard Rocket

    DieHard Rocket Contributing Member

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    This is a joke. Watkins was a "rogue" employee but Hinch and Lunhow were forced to shoulder the punishment on our end because it happened on their watch. Guess what- if the hitters knew it was happening, so did Cora.
     
  10. Hank McDowell

    Hank McDowell Member

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    What a load of ****.
     
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  11. HTM

    HTM Member

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    They closed ranks. Nobody blabbed. Astros had Fiers. Everyone associated with Boston saw what happened to the Astros/ Fiers and were like, "we don't want that sh**"
     
  12. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    "Just a rogue employee"

    LOL at believing this guy "acted on his own" and no one had "any idea".

    "Not as bad as Houston so we're not gonna punish them as hard."

    And what about being repeat offenders? A 2nd round pick... :rolleyes:

    So so serious we docked them a 2nd, so while being repeat offenders & receiving "absolute assurances" it would not happen again, at least it wasn't as bad as the Astros.
     
  13. UTAllTheWay

    UTAllTheWay Member

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    Par for the course.

    For the Astros there was NO WAY Hinch and Lunhow didn’t know, but for the Red Sox it was just that one guy, we promise.

    For the Astros the entire organization benefitted from it so they should all be punished. For the Red Sox eh, the hitters just benefitted from it. No big deal.
     
  14. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

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    Also had video evidence so the players had to roll over.

    Not sure how much the Red Sox cheated, but the Astros were way to sloppy in how they were doing it.
     
  15. Zacatecas

    Zacatecas Member

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    Typical. No matter how hard MLB tried to sell the Astros as good guys, the nation pretty much ignored them. They were not a draw outside of it's regional fan base.

    I think MLB was freaking out, the Astros were poised to be good for the next 5 to 10 years with Luhnow at the helm.

    When Verlander complained about the juiced balls, it more than irritated MLB. And the strong push MLB had shown the Astros, started to halt out of the blue. All of a sudden the Astros were not the darlings of baseball, they were arrogant know it all's.

    Marisnick running into that catcher helped the narrative the Astros were bush league players, never mind that Marisnick has been a model stewards of the game.

    MLB at the end of this is a money generating machine. They saw the Astros has too plain, neither harboring animosity or wide spread appeal. Narrative and stories sell the TV content.

    This was MLB way of hopefully eliminating a team that isn't good for their bottom line to be sitting among the top 3 positions. And Crane accepted this crap, by firing Jeff Luhnow....
     
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  16. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  17. Mattician

    Mattician Member

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    Yikes.

    It's almost like they got away with it.
     
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  18. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    This is what should irk baseball, and the writers.... that any rogue employee can accomplish similar schemes from here on out and it will be blamed only on them.

    But alas, the writers will somehow skew this to further emphasize how what the Astros did was so much worse.

    Also, if everybody is believing this report as gospel... then they have no choice but to accept the Astros report that said nothing happened in 2019. Something tells me they won't though.
     
  19. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    "Watkins was a key participant in the “Apple Watch Incident” in late 2017, when the Red Sox admitted to using a smartwatch to communicate opposing Clubs’ decoded signs from the replay room to the dugout."

    This scheme still doesn't get enough attention...
     
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  20. King1

    King1 Contributing Member

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