Well, well, well…what do we have here, Yankees fans?
No, seriously, what do we have here? Because it’s a lot of accusations, many of which are very jarring.
It’s long been assumed that while the Houston Astros were the most public and brazen offenders in MLB’s landscape, they weren’t alone. It’s not “scapegoating” if the guilty party is extremely guilty, but the ‘Stros were caught and punished because they were extremely successful, often victorious, and the victims of an ill-timed leak.
Former Yankee Erik Kratz raised alarm bells a few weeks ago by accusing the Rockies of shenanigans. The 2018 Brewers have long been a target of suspicion. The Red Sox were caught with Apple Watches and suspected of nefarious behavior in 2018, too, for which they lost a video room employee and second-round draft pick.
It’s safe to say, though, that the team most people want to see exposed is the New York Yankees, hated beyond the bounds of the tri-state area. There’s a reason our mentions are spammed with Houstonians begging to “unseal the Yankee letter” every time we type the first few letters of “Altuve”.
That’s why people are going to love MLB analyst Ryan Spaeder’s accusatory thread on Wednesday. After years of teasing his scoops about cheating, he let them fly this week, leaving the Yankees (and Aaron Judge) in the crosshairs.
Were the Yankees cheating in 2017 and 2018?
Spaeder lays the accusation bare, though the specifics are lacking. Is he claiming that the Yankees used these cameras in real time to decode and relay signs like the Astros did? Or is he just stating that the team placed several cameras in the outfield to help with their dissection of their opponents’ signs post-game in video review sessions?
The implication, of course, is that this is an accusation of an Astros-like scheme. We would like to learn more information about what is being levied here.
Additionally, if Judge without cheating was able to put up a .935 OPS on the road…that’s pretty good. You’ll take that.
Spaeder didn’t stop with the Yankees, though they’ll garner the most headline clicks. He went on to accuse a Dodgers employee of intentionally mislabeling himself with the wrong wardrobe to mess with cameras at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 World Series, then claimed Adrian Beltre employed a friend to sit in center field in Texas to relay him the signs (though Texas had a…wide open grass berm out there, begging questions about how far into center this friend sat).
He also accused his “favorite player” Chase Utley of wrongdoing, though that particular tweet lacked specifics.
Funnily enough, the 2019 Yankees have been a much bigger outlier in recent baseball history than the 2017 team, and Carlos Beltran’s employment by that year’s team stands out as a bigger red flag than anything that happened in ’17 — especially since largely the same roster has performed so much worse in 2020 and 2021.
If Spaeder has any more specific information there, we’re all ears.