Red Sox: Scandal looks worse for the MLB than any of the teams involved

DETROIT, MI - JULY 6: Manager Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox, right, and Marco Hernandez #40 of the Boston Red Sox watch from the dugout during the sixth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 6: Manager Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox, right, and Marco Hernandez #40 of the Boston Red Sox watch from the dugout during the sixth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox find themselves in the middle of the latest cheating scandal but it’s not the organization that looks the worst in the situation.

Cheating scandals seems to follow New England based teams around like a storm cloud on a rainy day. For the second time in the last few years, it’s the Red Sox that find themselves in the middle of the mess. A few years ago it was the sign-stealing via the Apple Watches under then-manager John Farrell. Current skipper, Alex Cora, is the one that’s under fire for the latest scandal and things are getting out of control.

First of all, I’m not here to say that the Red Sox didn’t steal signs by using the replay room. I’m sure they did and I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that are doing it as well, but Boston got caught. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported this week that Boston used their replay room in order to decode opposing team’s sign sequences during the 2018 regular season.

Again, the Sox aren’t the first and won’t be the last. In fact, both the Astros and Yankees were also implicated in Drellich’s report, and yet, Boston is the only squad getting the attention. I do think it’s a bit ridiculous that the Red Sox are the only ones having the light shined on them.

Hell, the Astros were caught stealing signs with a hidden camera in center field and conveying the pitch to the batter in real-time via a trash can near the dugout. THAT SURE SOUNDS A LOT WORSE, FRIENDS!

Back to the matter at hand, everyone steals signs. Is it right? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s been a part of the game for quite a long time. Using outside technology is where I think things get out of that gray area and head towards being unfair. I support the punishment from the Apple Watch debacle as that was just moronic by Boston. This, however, is something completely different and shouldn’t be considered along the same lines.

Every team has access to a replay room just outside of the dugout on the way to the clubhouse. Teams can use this room to review recent at-bats to see what went wrong, or right, during that at-bat. They’re not allowed to use this room to see anything else going on during the at-bat other than the hitter at the plate.

So, the MLB is expecting players and coaches to look at absolutely NOTHING but the batter in the box. Right.

My issue with this whole replay room business is that there wasn’t even an MLB official in the room with the teams while they were using the facility. So they were giving the teams this room to watch game footage, while the game is still happening, and expecting everyone to be Boy Scouts.

I’m sorry Rob Manfred, but this is a bad job by you. If you were going to give teams this great ability to see actual footage right after it happens, then you needed to have somebody in the room with them to keep the shenanigans at bay.

In the report, it did say that the replay rooms did have MLB officials in them for the postseason to avoid any antics by the teams. So, have monitoring during the postseason but not the regular season? There isn’t a pair of MLB officials in the ballpark that can man the two replay rooms from April to October?

I just find this a bit unbelievable and it’s why the MLB is the real loser in this debacle, not the three teams that were named.

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Not only did the league office have the Houston cheating story, which was a serious offense, but now they have this which includes two more of their key franchises. Two recent World Series winning squads and a team that regularly goes deep into the postseason were implicated in a cheating scandal that the league handed these teams.

Seriously, the MLB gave the kids the keys to the candy store and kindly asked them to not eat the inventory.

As far as the Red Sox are concerned, this will most likely end in a suspension for Cora, at minimum. He was involved in some matter in the Astros scandal from 2017 while he was a bench coach and now this with Boston. Whether or not Manfred chooses to drop the hammer on the third-year skipper is yet to be seen, but I can’t see it ending in a different matter.

Another thing that seems very interesting to me is that it’s the 2018 squad that’s coming under fire. You know, the one that won a franchise-record 108 games and then cruised to an 11-3 record in the postseason on the way to winning the World Series. What a coincidence that the three teams mentioned in the report all had incredible 2018 seasons and then got the whistleblown.

The league office did place officials in the replay rooms for 2019 and not a peep was heard about cheating for this year. It may be a little too late as far as the reputation of the league office is concerned as the egg is planted directly on their faces. Had they just put officials in place from the beginning, this could’ve been avoided.

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Personally I don’t see this as a big deal, and that may just be me being cynical, but everyone is stealing signs. I find it to be a massive gray area for baseball as it’s a practice that’s been in place for as long as I can remember and as technology advances, teams will only get more creative. By giving teams another tool in order to figure out the opposing squads’ signs just makes it that much easier. This scandal isn’t on the Red Sox, Astros, or Yankees, it’s on the league.