Let it never be said that Boston can’t be as innovative as Silicon Valley. The baseball team from Beantown has discovered what we may one day look back on as the killer app for smartwatches: cheating.
The New York Times reports that Major League Baseball determined a coach in the Red Sox dugout was using his Apple Watch to help “illicitly steal hand signals from opponents’ catchers in games against the second-place Yankees and other teams.”
Apparently, it wasn’t enough that the Red Sox are leading their division by 3.5 games over the Bronx Bombers in the American League East. The Sox have led the division most of the year, but haven’t been overpowering. And since the All-Star break, they’ve slumped a bit, with a 28-22 record. Not a disaster, but perhaps enough for them to become insecure and worry about dropping into a dreaded Wild Card slot.
The Yankees apparently found video of a member of the Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout. Personal electronics are banned by MLB in the dugout and on the field. Homing pigeons and crows only.
According to the Times, the scheme worked like this:
Up high in a booth, video replay staff for the Sox were decoding the Yankees’ hand gestures. Without a gadget, these would have to be relayed in person, making it impossible to get the info to a batter before the next pitch.
But via the Apple Watch, the staff could send that info directly to the dugout, where it was relayed to the batter. Real time, baby.
The Times says the Sox confessed to all of this. Which is good for the soul, we hear, if not for your general reputation.
It’s unclear if or how the team will be penalized. An MLB spokesperson told the Times that it’s tough to know just how much any these shenanigans may have affected the outcome of any game.