When the Houston Astros were exposed for electronically stealing signs during their 2017 World Series run, the New York Yankees were their biggest critics. The Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS that season, so the team felt it was cheated out of a World Series appearance. The Yankees were the most vocal in calling out Astros players, but they might have some explaining to do now.
Last Friday a judge ruled that Rob Manfred’s letter to the Yankees about their alleged 2017 sign sealing should be unsealed. The letter reportedly details serious sign stealing. On Monday, the Yankees appealed the judge’s decision to unseal the letter, prompting questions about what they might be hiding.
The Yankees were punished for misusing the bullpen phone in 2017
Although new information is set to be released shortly, this isn’t the origin of the Yankees sign-stealing story. In 2017, New York illegally used its bullpen phone system to steal signs.
The controversy started with the team accusing the Red Sox of using Apple Watches to steal signs. As a retort, the Red Sox accused the Yankees of using the YES Network to steal signs off the game’s live stream.
The Red Sox admitted to using watches to cheat, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred fined them an undisclosed amount. As for the Yankees, there was not sufficient evidence to conclude they were using the YES Network to cheat. However, they were found to be illegally using the bullpen phone system to relay signs in previous seasons.
The investigation was considered closed after both punishments. However, more evidence might suggest more serious sign stealing happened in the Yankees organization.
A DraftKings player reopened the Yankees sign stealing case
MLB moved on from the Yankees and Red Sox complaints in 2017, but one sports bettor did not. Kristopher Olson, who bets using DraftKings, filed a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros, and the Boston Red Sox earlier this year.
Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed the complaint in April. However, Olson filed a petition for the judge to reconsider after he found new evidence that showed the Yankees cheated far more seriously than the original investigation concluded.
Judge Rakoff denied the petition, but he allowed the unsealing on Manfred’s letter. The letter allegedly proves the Yankees did more than just participate in illegal bullpen phone activity.
The Yankees appealed Judge Rakoff’s decision Monday
After Judge Rakoff’s ruling, the Yankees appealed his decision on Monday afternoon.
“Plaintiffs alleged that the 2017 Press Release falsely suggested that the investigation found that the Yankees had only engaged in a minor technical infraction, whereas, according to the plaintiffs, the investigation had in fact found that the Yankees engaged in a more serious, sign-stealing scheme,” Rakoff wrote.
The Yankees clearly don’t the contents of the letter going public. But what could they be hiding? Could the team have been collaborating with the YES Network to steal signs during games? Was there a more specific cheating ruse going on for years in New York?
The organization is fighting hard to keep the letter from going public. Could the contents show New York to be just as guilty as the Astros? We might find out Friday if their appeal is denied and the letter s released.