Red Sox management needs a refresher on ethics
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox have again been caught with their hand in the baseball cookie jar. The latest is cheating via electronic sign stealing.
There is an ethical vacuüm, a broken moral compass and rampant hypocrisy on the loose. If your first reaction is it is Congress then go into the real local choice – your Boston Red Sox.
Their ownership is now an embarrassment to all Red Sox fans except those that actually believe that winning any game with cheating is acceptable.
"“I do believe that this is a charged situation from a competitive perspective when you have the kind of rivalry that the Yankees and the Red Sox have, I guess it’s not shocking you could have charges and countercharges like this. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the charges on both sides. I want to do that quickly. I think that’s important that we get it resolved.’’ – Commissioner Rob Manfred"
The latest in the list is the Red Sox managing to nefariously steal signs from opposing teams. Red Sox fans do tend to blow this off as “part of the game” – similar to tossing a high hard one at the cranium of a batter either for revenge or the fact you could not get him out with an IED.
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The chain of evidence is that trainer or corporate spy Jon Jochim purloined information via his Apple Watch. That information was then passed down the dugout pipeline to Brock Holt to Dustin Pedroia, who then relayed pitch information to Chris Young. Based on how Young has hit this season the opposition could set the ball on a tee and probably get a strikeout.
The excuse du jour is sign stealing is part of the game. I suppose siphoning off money from your employer or from a public position is also just “part of the game.” And, yes, it is part of the game just like doctoring a pitch or corking a bat. The optimum connection is it is not a crime unless you get nabbed and the Red Sox got nabbed. Seems the Red Sox have about as much talent with sign stealing as investing $217 Million in a petulant pitcher on the cusp of a long decline.
The first I ever read about technology being used for sign stealing was the New York Giants using the massive center field scoreboard at the Polo Grounds for installing a camera and a flash system to notify batters. As a side note, many hitters simply reject the information rather than disrupt their concentration.
This time the Red Sox used what they have been rather good at – technology. This is the team that implemented the extensive use of metrics and Carmen to use proprietary number crunching to their advantage. I would – as anyone would – have difficulty equating that with cheating. Analytics have been with us since someone figured out long division. But using it to cheapen the game?
Just a month ago the management of the team decided to ignore the behaviors or minimize them of David Price. Price tossed a tantrum and called out team analyst Dennis Eckersley – with encouragement from his teammates. The Red Sox response? Crickets.
The Red Sox also suffered the consequences of attempting to cook the books regarding international signings. That manipulation was discovered and the Red Sox paid the price – a very big price in lost prospects and signing limitations. Just who authorizes this nonsense? Do the Red Sox have a black ops department? Do the Red Sox recruit from the CIA?
Owner John Henry is “haunted” by the racial legacy of former owner Tom Yawkey and instituted a possible cleansing by requesting that Yawkey Way is changed. Meanwhile, his organization seems to play by their own set of rules and does a turtle when caught. I guess that no “haunting” is taking place on that front.
"“They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don’t think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners — and they’re good owners. But they don’t love the game. It’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball. It’s different for me. Baseball is my life.” – Terry Francona former Red Sox manager"
I cannot condone these actions and certainly hope that the Commissioner suddenly decides to not brush this incident off. So far the powers to see this as merely another saga in the ongoing broadsides the Yankees and Red Sox toss at each other. Boston’s response is no surprise as they simply decided to make their own accusations. An owner with courage may actually have taken the high ground, but so far all this becomes is a fish rots from the head down situation.
Next: Red Sox September standings watch
This issue is not exactly in the realm of the rantings of an unhinged dictator in North Korea, but in the niche that is baseball, it certainly deserves attention and not a brush off. Also attached to this is manager John Farrell, who may soon have his name prefaced with the word former and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. I assume both will be in full Sargent Schultz mode.
The players themselves also show a rather blissful contempt for the rules. Maybe the Red Sox need another addition to the corporate roll call – Director of Ethics.