The New York Yankees cheated. Yes, they did. Very few have denied that as a plausible finding in MLB’s investigations into various sign-stealing operations since 2015.
What many have denied, however, is that the Yankees’ transgressions were on the same level as the Houston Astros’ and Boston Red Sox’s. New York fans have understandably drawn a line to avoid having the discourse veer into that dangerous territory, because, yes, this discussion is nuanced, whether you want it to be or not.
There’s a big difference between cheating before it’s officially deemed cheating (still not good, though!), and cheating after MLB says “Hey, this is clearly cheating and is now considered illegal, so please stop doing it.” The Yankees can firmly be placed in the former category, while the Astros and Red Sox are the evident offenders of the latter.
There’s a reason for the paper trail that’s been in the news for over two years now. Houston and Boston fans continue believe this is a witch hunt, but is it? Is it really a witch hunt when the Yankees’ letter gets unsealed when there was no damning evidence whatsoever about the team’s actions?
Why would any opposing fan believe a Yankees blog defending the very team it covers? And you know what, you’ve got a point!
So let’s direct your attention to arguably the most esteemed baseball insider out there in ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who deemed the findings as …. nothing. Just as we all expected. Tough day for the haters, who were using the unsealed letter as their saving grace in every Twitter baseball argument known to man.
The Yankees’ “cheating” isn’t the same as the Astros’ and Red Sox’s
We really hate to tell you this, but there’s a clear reason why baseball forcibly disciplined Jeff Luhnow, AJ Hinch, Alex Cora and Red Sox video room coordinator JT Watkins (lol). It’s because they were the chief offenders in a wide-ranging scandal that persisted after commissioner Rob Manfred laid the groundwork for what was illegal and what was not.
The newest bit of information we received from the Yankees’ letter was that they were fined $100,000 for their infractions from 2015-16. After that, there’s no evidence of further wrongdoing. They bent the rules, the rules were then explicitly defined by MLB, and the tactics were stopped in their tracks.
Would’ve been nice if they continued cheating like the Astros and Sox though, right? Yankees fans would take a tainted World Series right now, especially if it meant no players would be disciplined and their manager getting a 60-game vacation in Puerto Rico before promptly returning for the 2021 season.
Additionally, more teams took part in these sign-stealing tactics, but only the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros have been publicly implicated! That doesn’t lessen what the Yankees did, but it certainly suggests this was a baseball-wide issue, akin to the steroid era when the league/media decided to single out specific players while allowing others to (for some reason) get off scot-free.
The video room shows up. Teams across the league skirt the boundaries, playing around with their new toy. Only the Yankees, Astros and Red Sox end up publicly scorned because of it … and the latter two teams both took things further.
Back in September of 2017, the Red Sox were fined for the infamous “Apple Watch” dugout fiasco, and instead, like children, cried about how the Yankees were using their network camera to spy on their dugout. Would you look at that, though … MLB found no proof of that!
Oh … and there are more crumbs suggesting the Astros’ cheating continued through the 2019 World Series, during which the Washington Nationals publicly called them out for relaying stolen signs via whistling from the dugout? And after Boston’s 2018 World Series run (a 108-win season, mind you), Alex Cora and Co. completely fell apart with the same exact roster, finishing 19 games back of first place in the AL East and missing the playoffs altogether? Interesting how “connecting the dots” brings us here. Very interesting how information gathering and investigating works. Who knew?
Meanwhile, the court documents revealing everything the Yankees did couldn’t come within a mile of what these other two disingenuous franchises did. So once again, we ask: what more information do you need?