We’re all for greater adoption of technology in sports, but as New Yorkers with a bit of a “thing” about Boston and cheating, we report this with satisfaction:
The Red Sox have been caught using Apple Watches to relay stolen signs to their batters. On the one hand, yay for a new business use case for wearables. On the other hand, those sumbitches were cheating. On the third hand, is it really true that there are no electronics allowed in major league dugouts?
Sign stealing in baseball may be older than the curveball. For those not sportsy, that means one team tries to figure out what gestures or signals the other team is using to tell each other what pitches, plays, or defensive alignments are coming next. If they can figure it out, the next step is to communicate that intelligence to their own players. Stealing signs is not against the rules.
Where the Sox apparently ran afoul of the rulebook is the way they were communicating their ill-gotten information. Some Boston coach watching a monitor would send a text message or other communication to a coach in the dugout, who would then signal the batter what pitch was coming next. The problem was that the Apple Watch was not allowed in the dugout. The rest of the process was fine.
Most electronics on the players themselves are also verboten. Otherwise, a haptic device that could buzz once for a fastball, twice for a curve, would be much more efficient. Not that we’re suggesting that, of course, because That Would Be Wrong.