On Friday, a New York judge (not named Aaron) ruled that the New York Yankees must unseal a 2017 letter from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred that outlined the team’s sign stealing violations. Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox players and fans alike rejoiced at the notion the Yankees too may be guilty for the very same sign stealing for which their organizations have been ridiculed. However, the folks in Houston and Boston may be rejoicing too soon.
The New York Post has called it a sham, that the Manfred’s letter documents a pair of sign-stealing-related transgressions that were not as serious as the Astros and Sox and they came before the current rule existed. The first allegation was that the Yankees improperly used a dugout phone in a season before 2017. The second was from 2015 and 2016, when it’s alleged that some Yankee players stationed themselves in their replay room in an attempt to steal opponents’ signs, then relayed that information to runners on second base in an effort to tell the hitter what was coming.
Ultimately, Manfred drew the line in the sand in the September 2017 letter for any future sign-sealing scandals, which is what the Astros later violated, as did the Red Sox. It appears, according to The Post, that the Yankees infractions came prior to the mandate, and that it was something commonly, and at the time, legally done across baseball. When clubs were using video monitors to decipher signs prior to the league mandate, it was within the rules so long as the information was not communicated electronically. The mandate in September of 2017 prohibited it all together.
Fast forward to now, the Yankees are trying to prevent this from coming out to avoid the media whirlwind that they anticipated would come down on them. However, now that the story has leaked, the team will just have to make its case after they release the letter by the judge’s deadline of June 19th.