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Saturday, January 18, 2020

MLB Rumors: Here’s where investigation into 2018 Red Sox stands

For those curious as for the state of round 2:

Boston Red Sox fans may have to reserve judgment for quite some time.

Major League Baseball may take “a while” to determine punishment for the Red Sox as it continues to investigate the 2018 team, The Athletic’s Peter Gammons reported Friday morning.

Gammons added the league hasn’t even interviewed former Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whom the club parted ways with Tuesday.

MLB is investigating the Red Sox for allegedly using a video replay room to illegally relay signs to hitters during the 2018 regular season.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:31 AM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dirty rotten cheaters, red sox, shame and scandal

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 18, 2020 at 02:13 AM (#5917124)
Gary Tanguay reported Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition that Red Sox principal owner John Henry fears the franchise may be stripped of its 2018 World Series title.
That reporting, if true, would seem to suggest that the Red Sox rule violations may be worse than those of the Astros, since Houston wasn’t stripped of its 2017 World Series title. What could Boston have done that would warrant the greater punishment - bribe the 2nd base umpires to relay the signs? I’m going to reserve judgment here.
   2. Dale Sams Posted: January 18, 2020 at 03:29 AM (#5917127)
Horseshit....MLB has hurt its brand enough with all this (Attendance is going to go down at a greater pct then seen in 20 years) there's no ####### way they would vacate a GD title.
   3. majorflaw Posted: January 18, 2020 at 04:03 AM (#5917129)
“Gammons added the league hasn’t even interviewed former Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whom the club parted ways with Tuesday.“


Shoulda taken care of that while he was contractually obligated to cooperate.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 18, 2020 at 04:47 AM (#5917130)
Horseshit....MLB has hurt its brand enough with all this (Attendance is going to go down at a greater pct then seen in 20 years) there's no ####### way they would vacate a GD title.


From what I've seen on the internet besides here, it seems like a majority of fans want titles vacated. That said, the commissioner's office seems quite firm on the Astros investigation being over and the punishment handed down. It's awfully hard to see what the Red Sox could have done that would be worse. It's sort of a second offense, I suppose, but the first offense was before the famous memo.
   5. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 18, 2020 at 07:04 AM (#5917132)
I hope MLB isn't considering what "the majority of internet fans" want. I'd like to see MLB vacate the Red Sox titles, all of them, and it has nothing to do with cheating. I just hate them.
   6. Astroenteritis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 08:58 AM (#5917136)
"The majority of internet fans" are idiots, and any talk of stripping titles is absurd. With the increasing awareness that multiple teams were doing this, how can you possible decide which titles to strip? Nobody will ever be able to prove that the Red Sox won the title illegitimately. Just stop it.
   7. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: January 18, 2020 at 09:46 AM (#5917139)
That said, the commissioner's office seems quite firm on the Astros investigation being over and the punishment handed down. It's awfully hard to see what the Red Sox could have done that would be worse.
If MLB decides that the Red Sox cheating was led by the coaches and/or front office they could use that as a justification for treating the Sox and Astros differently. As in the Astros' punishment is the standard for teams that fail to control their players (and lone rogue coaches), while whatever happens to the Red Sox is the standard for teams that arrange for top-down cheating. To be clear, I think that would be a #### precedent -- the Astros' issues were as much a result as the clubhouse culture created and encouraged by the front office as anything else, and the staff tolerated and abetted the cheating. It's a distinction without a difference, but I think that MLB could in theory seize on it.

Vacating titles is always ridiculous. One suspects that BBRef will still have pages up telling us the results of the 2018 World Series. It's unlikely that goons will show up to seize your 2018 Boston Red Sox DVD.
   8. Blastin Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:24 AM (#5917147)
multiple teams were doing this


"This" in terms of stealing signs, yes.

"This" in terms of trashcan nonsense? Nah meng.
   9. drdr Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:36 PM (#5917168)
MLB missed golden opportunity for ratings bump. HOU and BOS defeated LA, NYY and each other in 2017 and 2018. So, start spring training a bit earlier, delay a season for a few days, and play 15-game series between LAD and NYY for 2017 and 2018 rings.
   10. John Northey Posted: January 18, 2020 at 03:30 PM (#5917195)
I say a dispersal draft for their top 30 prospects plus no draft picks for 2 years. That would be a pretty serious punishment that would hurt Boston for a decade or more. That would be a serious punishment.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:06 PM (#5917209)
Why wasn't Cora interviewed as part of the Astros investigation?
   12. Sunday silence Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:23 PM (#5917217)
at what point does this "thing" surpass the Black Sox scandal?

my take: it already has.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:30 PM (#5917219)
my take: it already has.


I don't think any attempt to cheat to win will ever surpass intentionally losing.
   14. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:30 PM (#5917220)
Never.
   15. majorflaw Posted: January 18, 2020 at 07:52 PM (#5917254)
“I don't think any attempt to cheat to win will ever surpass intentionally losing”

Agreed. Cheating to win in baseball is older than four balls and three strikes. Older than catcher’s masks, older than catchers gloves, older than batting helmets, older than batting gloves, older than sixty feet-six inches. HoFer Babe Ruth used an illegal bat, HoFer Whitey Ford admitted throwing scuffed baseballs and HoFer Yogi Berra admitted scuffing them for Whitey. I don’t hear anyone suggesting that Yogi, Whitey and the Babe should be kicked out of Cooperstown.. Players trying their damnedest to win is expected and those who cross a line while doing so tend to be forgiven rather quickly.*


*Keeping in mind that the theory behind proscribing PEDs isn’t that using it/them might give a player an unfair advantage, rather it’s a health concern. One of these days there will be steroids (or something similar) which have the “positive” performance benefits with none of the negative side effects. When that happens players will not only be permitted to use them, they will be expected to. Anyone who doesn’t will be viewed as not really trying.
   16. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 18, 2020 at 08:09 PM (#5917256)
I don't think any attempt to cheat to win will ever surpass intentionally losing.


So simple, yet so right. Well said.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:03 PM (#5917272)
Yeah, #12 is an absurd claim on its face. We still talk about the Black Sox 100 years after the fact. This is barely in the natioinal consiousness at all and will mostly be forgotten by next season. And, to this point, no players have been suspended much less banned for life. Even with the increasing fascination with the GMs, players are still what the fans care about. This thing doesn't even rival the PEDs scandal yet.

Now if it spirals out of control and every team is implicated without MLB being able to contain it (via a George Mitchell-esqu blue ribbon special) then, yes, it might have significant long-range damage. Still, while everybody cheating to win calls into question whether you're watching a "fair" contest, (as noted) at least you know your team (or the team you bet on) is doing their best to win.

The various Patriot scandals didn't have any real effect on the NFL or the perceived legitimacy of that competition. What's happened in baseball is more like NCAA recruiting scandals. The Astros (and their fans) may pay a price since their "recruiting" has been limited for a couple of years and likely the Red Sox will face the same. It's embarrassing but it doesn't touch the fundamental nature of the competition. NCAA recruiting scandals seemed threatening because they exposed the fiction that these were noble amateurs playing for the honor of their beloved schools which, you'd have thought, was the only selling point of minor-league basketball. But by this point, I don't think many NCAA fans operate under that delusion anymore yet they still tune in.

As to crippling a franchise for a decade -- what purpose does that serve? To seriously damage the Boston market for the rest of MLB's existence? Why? If, say, they decide that Henry was/should have been aware and they want to punish him, then fine the bejeezus out of him and force him to sell the team. As I suggested in one of the other threads, most "owners" aren't owners, they are partial owners, often less than a majority. If they don't already, I can see where MLB might insist on CEOs/"owners" requiring league approval and subject to league sanction -- then you can push out a Henry or a Crane if you need to.

Such a punishment just makes the "agency" problems worse. The players care about winning now, somebody like Luhnow is hoping to get away with it to set up his next contract (possibly with another team) and won't be around to suffer the consquences of the decade-long debacle if he gets caught. This is where vacating titles would be helpful, that at least denies the perpetrators the "historical" benefits of their cheating. (That's not meant as a claim that vacating the titles is appropriate here nor that I would expect it even if it is.)

Then you get somebody like Beltran. He was at the end of an illustrious career. Clearly this was about winning (via improving his performance) or maybe his ego not about landing one last 1-year contract at age 41. Hinch, Luhnow and Altuve were all extended in early 2018 so to the extent that the cheating continued after 2017, that wasn't about money either.

Anyway, baseball survived the Black Sox scandal, the 81 strike, the 94 strike, the PEDs scandal, the embarrassment of a tied AS game and appears to be surviving half the AL tanking ... does anybody really think this is what will kill it? There's always a tipping point but this would be an odd one.
   18. Mayor Blomberg Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:07 PM (#5917273)
If MLB hasn't talked to Cora, how is the Houston investigation over? Or have they talked to Cora but only about 2017?
   19. John Northey Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:13 AM (#5917285)
Yeah, this is a mess, but it was all in an effort to win. PED's were probably bigger. So the challenge now is to get it settled down. Looks like Boston & NYY will also be hit by it, and unless something else comes out that should be the end of it for now. Hit them hard with penalties more serious than Houston (picks and maybe some other limits like a 30 or 35 instead of 40 man roster for a year or two) and the message should be clear. My dispersal of top 30 prospects was more a Blue Jay fan dream of how to kick Boston while they are down. Hit both them and the Yankees hard - please! Jays, Rays, and O's fans will thank MLB for that.
   20. AstrosOldTimer Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:46 AM (#5917286)
There are different levels of cheating.. there is the on-field cheating like scuffing balls, creative use of pine tar or other substances... things that umpires can legitimately catch during play. Generally considered gamesmanship turned up to 11.

Then there is cheating that happens off the field... corking bats, setting up outfield cameras to steal signs, secretly injecting performance-enhancing druids into your body. These are worse because they are almost impossible to catch during play.

Then there are off-the-field rule PR violations... like betting on your team to win or even gambling in general. These affect the public perception of competitive fair play more than the actual effect.

None of that is remotely comparable to betting against your team or actually throwing games. Those are the worst and are deserving of lifetime bans from the sport.
   21. Sunday silence Posted: January 19, 2020 at 05:05 AM (#5917294)
I dont know. Either way, what you're seeing on the field is not reality.
   22. Sunday silence Posted: January 19, 2020 at 05:08 AM (#5917295)
We still talk about the Black Sox 100 years after the fact.


Well we dont have a way to zero out that effect, so there's really no way to control for it.

****

What if people today have higher standards than the people of 100 years ago? So they expect more and are more disappointed.
   23. Astroenteritis Posted: January 19, 2020 at 11:09 AM (#5917344)
secretly injecting performance-enhancing druids into your body


As a person of Celtic descent, I firmly believe all druids are performance-enhancing!
   24. winnipegwhip Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5917356)
I understand that a part of the Werhmacht's success in The Battle of France was its heavy use of amphetimines to push its soldiers beyond normal energy levels.
I figure this will make France want the German marching into Paris removed from history's records
   25. pikepredator Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5917362)
I dont know. Either way, what you're seeing on the field is not reality.


??? What is this absolute baseball reality you speak of? What if a player is hungover, and thus not actually able to give 100%? That would also mean the product you're viewing is tainted compared some platonic ideal of baseball, which has never - and will never - exist. There will always be players trying to get an edge and trying to cheat in various ways, just as there will always be players not trying their hardest, who don't care on a particular day or week or maybe for a whole month because of behind-the-scenes drama that may be more important in their lives than playing out the string for a terrible Tigers team.

Am I totally missing your point about "what you're seeing isn't reality"?

   26. kwarren Posted: January 19, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5917372)
It's awfully hard to see what the Red Sox could have done that would be worse. It's sort of a second offense, I suppose, but the first offense was before the famous memo.

Having players wearing high tech devices while they were batting as the Astros may have been doing in 2019.

Why wasn't Cora interviewed as part of the Astros investigation?


Sometimes there are things that we really don't want to know.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 19, 2020 at 03:41 PM (#5917386)
It's awfully hard to see what the Red Sox could have done that would be worse. It's sort of a second offense, I suppose, but the first offense was before the famous memo.
That wouldn’t seem to be mitigating. Everyone was supposed to knock if off after the 2017 memo.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: January 19, 2020 at 04:37 PM (#5917400)
With the Red Sox -- DD was the GM and is already replaced. Cora was the manager and has been fired. It will be a black mark on DD if he gets officially banned, might keep him out of the HoF. Given that, there's not much more they can do to the Sox that goes beyond what they did to the Astros. They could take 3 years of picks or 3 rounds of picks. The fine is apparently capped at $5 M. Unless public pressure builds over the next two months, they're not vacating the title.

What if people today have higher standards than the people of 100 years ago? So they expect more and are more disappointed

They should probably stop watching reality TV then. And stop voting for Trump.

Baseball is less important to American society than it was 100 years ago. The Black Sox scandal threatened the integrity of the entire league and was major national news. There's an impeachment trial going on right now, I don't think sign stealing in baseball is the focus of those concerned about ethics in 21st century America. And, y'know, it's not like the Astros violated federal law or anything. Other social changes such as baseball journalim now being limited to fairly obscure corners of the internet means this is unlikely to spread seriously even to the casual fan much less the wider public.

If the thing spirals out of control, if it comes to light that everybody was doing this, if it's followed by a widespread drug scandal or 6 players raped a woman or something, then the league as a whole may be in trouble. Right now, the league has acted pretty quickly and rather severely and so it has certainly handled the first steps of ensuring the perception of integrity. The risk has pretty much been contained to the Astros and Red Sox and the Red Sox began by taking the pre-emptive step of canning Cora.

Probably the biggest risk to MLB at the moment is Bobby Rush calling for Congressional hearings. Lord only knows on what grounds but Congress can hold hearings on anything it wants whether it's relevant to legislation or not. Having the scandal hauled back into the light in early summer so some politicians can score cheap points is the last thing MLB wants.

Another issue is whether this follows the pattern of PEDs where every time a big-name player was busted, there were calls for more severe penalties such that first-time suspension went from 10 to 50 to 80 games plus postseason. Maybe MLB will have to institute a rule such tha the next such violation results in vacating titles. (I assume MLB will be raising the max fine or raising the direct financial hit some other way such as limits on shared revenue.) But let's recall there were calls for Bonds to be removed from the record books and the PED guys to be ruled ineligible for the HoF but they didn't result in anything except Melky losing an unofficial batting title.
   29. Sunday silence Posted: January 19, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5917408)
And, y'know, it's not like the Astros violated federal law or anything.


well the Black Sox were acquitted so if that's your standard then that one's a push...


Probably the biggest risk to MLB at the moment is...


The biggest risk is probably something that is unknown to us at this moment. I would guess it's that this sort of cheating went on long after 2017. As you yourself pointed out earlier: why didnt Manfred interview Cora?

That's so weird. Is it that Manfred just intended to sweep this all around the rug as best he could, not cast any penalties on the players and now its coming out that its only the tip of the iceberg.

That to me is a risk. BUt its just a guess, I dont really know.
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 19, 2020 at 08:11 PM (#5917453)
. . . why didnt Manfred interview Cora?
I don’t think we actually know whether Cora was interviewed during the investigation of the Astros, just the it was reported that he hadn’t yet been interviewed as part of the investigation of the Red Sox.
   31. TJ Posted: January 19, 2020 at 09:12 PM (#5917472)
As a person of Celtic descent, I firmly believe all druids are performance-enhancing!


The hot Druid girl I dated before getting married certainly was!
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 19, 2020 at 09:37 PM (#5917481)
The hot Druid girl I dated before getting married certainly was!
Funny, she didn't look Druish.
   33. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 19, 2020 at 10:25 PM (#5917490)
This purports to be the latest on the Red Sox’s managerial search:
It seems Boston may not name a replacement for Alex Cora any time soon. Speaking to reporters (including Chris Cotillo of MassLive), Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy allowed that Boston could enter spring training without a manger in place. The Sox “would like” to have the position settled by then, Kennedy said, but it’s not a mandate.
Heh?
   34. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 19, 2020 at 10:41 PM (#5917492)
My guess is that the Sox want to either give the job to Roenicke or Febles but they want to make sure they aren’t going to give the job to someone who gets found to be involved in something (if anything is determined to have happened) so they are trying to wait.
   35. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 19, 2020 at 10:46 PM (#5917493)
Incidentally the Sox and this ownership group HAVE actually been down this road before. The ownership transfer took place late just before Spring Training in 2002 and they punted Joe Kerrigan (thank god) and hired Mike Cubbage as interim manager on March 5 (yes I looked up the date). They then hired Little who had previously coached with the organization a week later.

I’d assume that the Sox are going to enter ST with Roenicke running the show and waiting to make a determination if he will take over full time or not. The Sox won 93 games that year (and as karlmagnus will remind us all they had 100 Pythagorean wins) so it was not any kind of disaster.
   36. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 19, 2020 at 11:49 PM (#5917499)
My guess is that the Sox want to either give the job to Roenicke or Febles but they want to make sure they aren’t going to give the job to someone who gets found to be involved in something (if anything is determined to have happened) so they are trying to wait.
Don’t you think that by now ownership knows what went on and who was involved, even if they didn’t know before stuff hit the fan?
   37. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:31 AM (#5917502)
The cynic might suggest that the Sox want to know if Roenicke will get caught,

Practically even if they feel confident that Roenicke is clean as a whistle they may want to wait for the investigation to be completed to confirm that what they’ve been told is in fact accurate.
   38. Darren Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:10 AM (#5917517)
Even if they think they know, there's still a chance they get blindsided by a) someone having withheld info or b) a stronger penalty than they anticipated.
   39. CubsInSeven Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:57 AM (#5917539)
Re: 28, I think much more severe penalties will be needed for future offenses. I think these are especially egregious offenses that give MLB a huge black eye and should be punished appropriately in the future. In my opinion, this is on a level worse than using PEDs if not as bad as the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Frankly I think the commissioner should rule that any future techie sign stealing will be punished with lifetime bans. Then also state that anyone that fully cooperates with the current investigation(s) will be shown leniency. If anyone lies to the investigators or attempts to deceive in any way that offer will be rescinded. That would likely get nearly everyone to tell the truth and unearth all other potential instances of similar behavior from other teams. Players are unlikely to lie because they don’t know which former or current teammates may tell the truth. Then the league can appropriately punish those involved and hopefully move on from this scandal forever.

Anything less than this, and I think we'll see people push similar boundaries in the future and it will be another scandal then.
   40. Buck Coats Posted: January 20, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5917552)
Vacating titles is always ridiculous. One suspects that BBRef will still have pages up telling us the results of the 2018 World Series.


You would think, and yet they don't list Melky Cabrera as the 2012 NL BA leader. So that "vacated title" they go along with.
   41. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:05 PM (#5917557)
I say a dispersal draft for their top 30 prospects plus no draft picks for 2 years.


Do the Red Sox even have 30 prospects right now?
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5917558)
You would think, and yet they don't list Melky Cabrera as the 2012 NL BA leader. So that "vacated title" they go along with.


The only difference there is Melky agreed to vacate the BA title before he won it. I'm not sure that it should matter though. Since winning the batting title is really just leading a category, rather than being voted for something, I think he ought to be listed where finished under the rules governing rate leaderships.

   43. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2020 at 02:42 PM (#5917590)
You would think, and yet they don't list Melky Cabrera as the 2012 NL BA leader. So that "vacated title" they go along with.

In that case, vacating the title meant giving it to the next person up. That's different than just saying that there was no winner.

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