Red Sox

Evan Drellich: Sign stealing is escalating spitting game for Yankees and Red Sox

Evan Drellich: Sign stealing is escalating spitting game for Yankees and Red Sox

BOSTON — These teams want to watch each other burn. What a wonderful spitting game to take in.

The Red Sox have no doubt the Yankees wanted the sign-stealing story public. It’s just a little icing on the cake for the Yanks, who took three out of four over the weekend and are quickly closing in on first place. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday noted the league’s investigation has been going for 10, 12 days — maybe two weeks.

“The Yankees decided they wanted to give it to the [New York Times] today, for whatever reason,” Dombrowski said.

To be clear: one of the game’s most well-respected executives just accused the game’s most famous franchise of leaking a story to The New York Times.


George Steinbrenner would be eating this stuff up. Yankees president Randy Levine is probably laughing himself to sleep.

It’s entertaining as hell for everyone watching. Between the competitiveness of the division, CC Sabathia’s unhappiness with bunting and new accusations of electronic theft, The Rivalry is turning into a soap opera again.

The Red Sox’ guilt doesn’t seem in question.

The New York Times reported the iSox have acknowledged they stole signs using electronic devices. Neither commissioner Rob Manfred nor the Red Sox confirmed as much Tuesday, saying the investigation was still ongoing. There were no denials issued on the Sox behalf, and Dombrowski seemed more bemused than anything else. 

The Sox have cooperated fully, and indications are they know they were wrong. The commissioner noted that stealing signs is a legal act, simply one that can’t be aided by electronics. 

Normally, though, the Sox’ discipline wouldn’t be public. None of this would be. Now everyone knows.

Just how the Yankees wanted it, perhaps? 

Clever, clever. It’s notable the matter became public the same day that the Sox filed a counter-complaint about the Yankees: for using a TV camera to steal signs.

Per the Times, the Sox’ complaint came on Tuesday.

“I do believe that this is a charged situation from a competitive perspective,” Manfred said. “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 counter charges 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.

The iSox, who are trying to gain a competitive advantage like everyone else, have only themselves to blame for what happens from here. The commissioner said he wants any potential punishments to act as deterrents. So, the Sox may once again be held up as an example for the rest of the league, just as they were last year when they were punished sternly for impermissible international signings.

But the Yanks might get their punishment too, now that the Sox have countersued.

Once electronics get involved with the intent of gaining an advantage, a rule has been violated — Apple Watch, a YES Network camera, it does not appear it should matter by the letter of the law.

The most relevant portion of a bulletin provided to all teams prohibiting such action: “No equipment may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage.”

So here’s the Yanks position: you, the Red Sox, tried to cheat us and got little out of it. We beat you anyway, and you hit .143 against us with runners in scoring position, which is when your sign-stealing was supposed to work. And now, you’re turning around and trying to accuse us of cheating?

Here you go, check out the Grey Lady.

It’s a brazen move, particularly if the Yanks don’t win the division, or get knocked out in the Wild Card round. And it is befitting the rivalry.

Manfred said at Fenway Park on Tuesday that these matters are typically handled between general managers. One GM calls another, the league doesn’t get involved and that’s that. But, Manfred said, there have been times where other teams have raised concerns about electronic sign stealing with the league, so the matter is not unprecedented.

Spitting games are much more enjoyable when public. 


Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor league catcher Oscar Hernandez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, our own Evan Drellich reports.

Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in January and currently is on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster. The 24-year-old will be able to return in late May.





Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

File Photo

Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright will be suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, NBC Sports Boston has learned. The league is set to make the announcement Friday.

Wright, working his way back from right knee surgery, has to serve the suspension when healthy. Potential time on the disabled list to begin the season would not count. Wright is not expected to appeal.

Wright was arrested at his Tennessee home in December following an incident involving his wife, Shannon. Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call, which are misdemeanors in Tennessee, and released on a $2,500 bond.

The case in December was retired by the Williamson County courthouse. If Wright commits no other offenses for a 12-month span, the charges are expected to be dropped.

Fifteen games matches the lowest suspension MLB has given out in relation to a domestic violence case since the league and players union agreed to a policy in 2015. Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games in March 2017.

"It's a situation that, it sucks not only for me, but for my family, for the team," Wright told reporters in Florida on Thursday. "But I try not to think about it. When MLB comes out with their discipline, or if there's going to be discipline or not, it's just going to go from there."

Wright said this spring that he did not harm his wife.

“We’ve been going to counseling. We’ve been working through it,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to put it past us, but it’s hard. Because MLB is doing their investigation and it’s in the limelight. It’s really hard on a personal level to get past something that’s constantly being thrown at you. But I did it to myself. It’s one of those things that I’ve got to live with the consequences that came from my actions that night.”