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[Rosenthal] Breaking: Red Sox Penalties

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

  1. sugrlndkid

    sugrlndkid Member

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    Did anyone honestly expect anything different?
     
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  2. lnchan

    lnchan LeonardTX26
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    Suspend the entire MLB for obstruction of justice for 3 months. Oh that already is happening.
     
  3. Dgn1

    Dgn1 Member
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    Boston Red Sox pulled a Carol Baskins. Meanwhile Mike Fiers out here making tiktok videos targeting teens. FML
     
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  4. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    At least most public sentiment... including Red Sox fans... is a “WTF, that was it?” Sort of response.

    Surprisingly (or not), the media is now trying to stay neutral with this story... they ran out of sanctimony while reporting the other scandal...
     
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  5. Newlin

    Newlin Member

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    But, the Astros banged on a trash can! Much much worse! I guess.
     
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  6. SuraGotMadHops

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    Seriously how can Jim Crane just sit idly by and watch his happen? MLB eviscerated his franchise with four draft picks, two suspensions, and the maximum fine allowed vs. one 2nd round pick and zero fines? This is why Crane should have given the finger to MLB and never fired Hinch and Luhnow. We knew from the start the Astros were being scapegoated.

    The most egregious oversight of all of this is the timeline. The majority of what the Astros did occurred pre-September 2017 (prior to the memo to stop using electronics to steal signs - a memo that was prompted by...oh right, the BoSox using smart watches). Between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 seasons the memo became an actual rule, and the Astros report reflected the video use tapered off in early 2018 and stopped completely. The Red Sox however, used it in 2018 well after the memo, and AFTER the rule prohibiting it was in place, and AFTER the Astros stopped doing it!!

    The BoSox did it later, longer, and after already being reprimanded. This is a sick joke.

    If I'm Crane I hire Hinch and Luhnow right back for 2021.
     
  7. BigM

    BigM Contributing Member

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    I don’t care anymore but that’s a load of hypocritical bullshit.
     
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  8. bloodwings19

    bloodwings19 Member

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    Pretty much the Stros were bombed while the Sox were given verbal warning. JD Martinez and most of the Sox was confident about this outcome because they weren't asked the tough questions. They don't want a prized franchise to be a black sheep. We got a life sentence, the other team got probation.
     
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  9. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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  10. phasors28

    phasors28 Member

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    They waited all this time and released the punishment the day before the NFL draft in hopes it blows over. What a joke!
     
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  11. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

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    Manfred is a bitch.
     
  12. edwardc

    edwardc Member

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    I agree this is the biggest bunch of *ull*hit there is but we all knew it was going to happen it's *ucking boston.
     
  13. Hank McDowell

    Hank McDowell Member

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    Might be done with MLB. Been a fan my whole life, love baseball, but it might just be the college game for me from here on out. This is unacceptable.
     
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  14. right1

    right1 Member

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    “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.

    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.”

    A limited number? Like the 9 players in the starting lineup that particular day? And, oh, they didn"t know it was wrong. What a joke.
     
  15. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]

    Rob Manfred, Mike Fiers, Ken Rosenthal, Evan Drellich & Chandler Rome can go **** themselves.



    Major League Baseball interviewed 65 witnesses and reviewed tens of thousands of electronic communications. Its 15-page report on the Red Sox was six pages longer than its report on the Astros, a team it disciplined more harshly.

    And still, questions remain.

    The Athletic’s initial story on the Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing explained that the team’s actions were less egregious than those of the Astros. Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed as much in the report he issued Wednesday, and also noted the superior conduct of the Red Sox’s front office, saying it “made commendable efforts toward instilling a culture of compliance in the organization.”

    Diligent as those efforts might have been, they proved insufficient, resulting in the second round of punishment for the Red Sox in three years — following the September 2017 “Apple Watch incident” — for using electronics to steal signs illegally.

    This time, Manfred stripped the Red Sox of their second-round pick in the 2020 draft and suspended the team’s video replay system operator, J.T. Watkins, through the 2020 postseason while prohibiting him from returning to the same position in ’21. The commissioner also suspended Alex Cora through 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.

    The investigation of the Red Sox was challenging for the league in several respects. Witnesses offered conflicting accounts. The team’s video replay room infractions happened off the field, away from TV cameras, making them difficult to prove. Investigators did not benefit from an on-the-record whistleblower triggering their efforts, the way Mike Fiers did for the Astros investigation. In the case of the Astros, easily discovered video evidence also helped serve as confirmation.

    To Manfred, the differences between the violations of the Red Sox and Astros warranted not only a different punishment, but also a different perspective — a perspective some might interpret as inconsistent with his previous rulings.

    Why were comparable employees in the Astros and Red Sox organizations handled differently?

    Watkins was in a similar role to the Astros’ Tom Koch-Weser, who received no suspension and remains employed by the team. Koch-Weser was one of the lower-level Astros staffers involved with an Excel algorithm that helped decode signs named “Codebreaker.” MLB’s justification for not punishing him was that he “participated in the violations at the direction of others.”

    While Watkins may not have gone to the lengths of Koch-Weser or other Astros staffers, he was, in effect, attempting to do the same thing — decode signs, live, in-game — even if he did so in a more rudimentary fashion, and, according to Manfred’s report, more sporadically.

    The Astros essentially had two sign-stealing schemes. The most blatant one was the 2017 setup that included a live feed of the catcher’s signs and banging on a trash can to signal pitches. The Red Sox are not known to have engaged in anything comparable to that system. But both before and after the trash-can method, including during the 2018 season, the Astros communicated signs to players in their dugout via the video replay room. That system is analogous to what the Red Sox were punished for Wednesday.

    If the Astros committed two crimes, the Red Sox committed one — the lesser of Houston’s pair. But while the Astros’ punishment seemed to hinge on a notion of organizational responsibility, Boston’s did not, at least not to the same extent. The Red Sox’s loss of a draft pick stemmed from Manfred’s desire to hold the team accountable, “particularly since the club may have benefited from Watkins’ conduct,” the commissioner said.

    Why wouldn’t the manager and other staffers be aware of what was going on?

    In his ruling on the Astros, Manfred made it clear that the team’s front office, coaches and manager knew or should have known what was happening. That was not the case with the Red Sox, in Manfred’s view.

    “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.

    But why wouldn’t at least some in the organization have known?

    It is theoretically possible that Watkins operated so covertly that only he knew what he was doing, and further, that only he knew that it was a violation, and that none of the beneficiaries of the system were aware something illegal was transpiring. But an understanding of clubhouse dynamics, and how the video replay sign-stealing relay in fact worked — with the information traveling into the dugout and then to a runner on base — makes that theory somewhat implausible. Manfred said he heard from players who said they were aware that decoding signs during games took place.

    Red Sox hitters met before every game, with staff, to prepare for a given night. In those meetings, the group discussed how a runner on second base would signal with a body movement to tell the hitter what was coming. Such a discussion alone is not illegal — unless in-game electronics enter the equation, as was the case with Watkins. But the system works well only if most of the group is on board. And most players are generally aware of what is going in the dugout.
     
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  16. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Why was Red Sox management not held responsible?

    In his report on the Astros’ illegal sign stealing, Manfred made reference to his handling of the “Apple Watch incident,” saying, “I made the decision in September 2017 that I would hold a club’s general manager and field manager accountable for misconduct of this kind.”

    With the Red Sox, Manfred determined that former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and his staff properly conveyed the rules to Cora and his coaches. While the commissioner did not find that Cora was aware of Watkins’ misconduct, he wrote that Cora “did not effectively communicate to Red Sox players the sign-stealing rules that were in place for the 2018 season,” but imposed no additional discipline.

    After effectively concluding that Watkins was a rogue employee, the league apparently felt it could not justify holding Cora accountable.

    Why should the Red Sox be credited for attempting to instill a culture of compliance when the team’s players did not understand the rules?

    When Manfred first punished the Red Sox in 2017, he said he had received assurances from the franchise no similar violations would occur again.

    Yet in Wednesday’s report, Manfred wrote, “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.”

    If the Red Sox’s culture was so strong, why were their players not better educated about the rules?

    “At the end of the day, we all could have done a better job and we need to do a better job as we go forward,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday night.

    Are Red Sox players and staff comfortable with Watkins taking all the heat?

    The positioning of Watkins as a singular fall guy, even if warranted, will be difficult for many to accept.

    Watkins, whose role was to serve players, faced pressure to help them in any way he could. Sources said that in fighting the charges, he provided evidence he had stopped players from peeking at his monitor on more than one occasion.

    Clubhouses are tight-knit communities. Traveling staff members such as Watkins often are treated like family, like players themselves. Watkins first joined the organization in 2012 and returned in ’15 after serving two years in the military. He is well-liked, hardly known as a lone wolf.

    “It’s unfortunate that the violations occurred and it’s probably a better question for Major League Baseball and the commissioner’s office,” Kennedy said when asked if the result was fair to Watkins. “We did not participate in the investigation at all. Everyone fully cooperated and ultimately the determination was made by Major League Baseball. So, I guess I’ll leave it at that.”

    How much responsibility should MLB bear for an environment that was conducive to cheating?

    Teams are obligated to follow the rules, but the body issuing those rules, the commissioner’s office, is obligated to ensure their clarity and enforcement. Manfred acknowledged that Watkins’ job responsibilities placed the employee in a precarious spot.

    “In my view, Watkins was placed in a very difficult position by virtue of his dual role as the person responsible for decoding signs pregame and as the person responsible for operating the Red Sox’ replay system (a structure, as I have previously noted, that was not uncommon within MLB Clubs),” Manfred wrote. “Watkins admitted that because he watched the game feeds during the entire game, he was able to determine during the game when the sign sequences he provided to players prior to the game were wrong.

    “Thus, he was placed in the difficult position of often knowing what the correct sequences were but being prohibited by rule from assisting the players by providing the correct information. While this does not excuse or justify his conduct, I do believe that it created a situation in which he felt pressure as the Club’s primary expert on decoding sign sequences to relay information that was consistent with what he naturally observed on the in-game video.”

    To address its lack of foresight about the potential for the combination of video replay, the challenge system and club culture to create an environment conducive to rule-breaking, MLB can only revise its rules again — something it plans to do before play resumes.

    “I think the report does a good job of highlighting some of the potential issues that have arisen from the perfectly legitimate process of instant replay. I think it’s something that we as a sport ought to look at,” Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom said.

    “It’s no excuse for a rule violation. We’re all accountable for our behavior and we’re all responsible for following the rules, whatever they are. But I also think structurally we ought to do everything we can to make sure that confusion can’t occur and that these aspects of our game are beyond reproach.

    “What exactly those remedies are, I think it’s something that has to be discussed. But I think it’s definitely something that we should look at. These types of issues are not things that were meant to go along with instant replay, so we should explore ways to take them off the table.”

    For baseball, that is the next step.
     
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  17. msn

    msn Member

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    Hypocrites. Manfred is full of it.
     
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  18. JayGoogle

    JayGoogle Member

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    If I'm Hinch I re-hire Lunhow ASAP. Why f'n not? Lunhow can still make decisions behind the scenes.

    I just go F' it.

    Say your son is the interim president of baseball operations and have Lunhow's decisions relayed to him with the promise to Lunhow that he's getting his job back.

    They want the Stros to wear the black hat, so let's wear it.

    WW season 2 spoiler...
    [​IMG]

    I'm so-so on re-hiring Hinch. If Dusty does a good job, he should keep the job, I don't think Hinch was irreplaceable, but Lunhow was.

    The bias is clear here. They should give us back our picks.
     
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  19. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Media: HOW DARE JEFF LUHNOW PASS BLAME AND CALL THEM LOW LEVEL EMPLOYEES! SUCH A TERRIBLE PERSON!

    *Red Sox blame the low level employee, get off free*

    Media: This is fine. Just a low level rogue employee no one knew about.

     
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  20. msn

    msn Member

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    I can't see their point; their bias is in the way.

    I mean we all knew it was going to be complete BS, but it still sucks.

    Screw Manfred, the media, and MLB offices.

    Hypocrites.
     
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