MLB has refused to investigate the New York Yankees for cheating, a questionable move in the wake of the Houston Astros’ scandal.
The Houston Astros were just embroiled in the largest scandal MLB has seen since the Black Sox. That’s been followed up by the Boston Red Sox piece of the pie. The two scandals have cost three managers and a general manager their jobs. It’s also cost, at current count, four premium draft picks.
MLB has made a clear stance that cheating in this manner should not be tolerated. It’s an affront to the game and the cheaters should be dealt with in just fashion. There’s just one lingering question…
The Yankees are known to have cheated in the past under Joe Girardi. They were caught using their video room much in the same way the 2018 Red Sox were. It’s different, though, because the Yankees did it in 2015, before the memo about cheating with electronics went out in 2017.
That’s a fair enough argument except for one thing: If this was such a large issue, why didn’t MLB issue a warning to the league when the Yankees cheated the first time?
In 2017, the Yankees and Red Sox were both caught cheating. The Red Sox were using Apple Watches during the game, something the league prohibited. Meanwhile, the Yankees were caught using their bullpen phone to get information on the strike zone and opposing pitchers.
It was after these incidents that MLB issued a warning. They told teams that if they used electronics to cheat, there would be severe consequences.
The Yankees cheated twice in the last five years using electronics and didn’t get hit with harsh penalties. However, both transgressions came before MLB’s warning. It’s reasonable for them to have not faced harsh discipline.
Things have changed now
The baseball world is focused on rooting out who’s cheating and how it’s being done. The Astros have changed the baseball landscape. The Red Sox are set to face harsh penalties for doing exactly what the Yankees did just three years prior.
So why is MLB ignoring the class of many in the industry to investigate the Yankees?
The first shot came from former outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison. On Tuesday, Morrison claimed that he has first-hand accounts of electronic cheating.
He claimed, “I know from first-hand accounts that the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros and Red Sox all have used film to pick signs,” he wrote, per NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty. “Just want you guys to know the truth. I personally think it’s a tool in a tool belt to pick signs, but if we are going to be punishing people for it. Don’t half-ass it.”
When a former player accuses a team of cheating it should hold weight. That goes double for players who were nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award, as Morrison was in 2012.
The Roberto Clemente Award is given to the player who best shows outstanding commitment to helping players on and off the field.
Why would a player with a history of upstanding moral characteristics lie about this? MLB believed Mike Fiers when he came out and said the Astros were cheating. They nearly immediately opened an investigation after he came forward. Why isn’t Morrison’s claim met with the same vigor?
The one reason that’s been touted is that Morrison never played for the Yankees. While that’s technically true, he was a part of their franchise in 2019.
He was in spring training with them and in their minor league system at AAA. It would be foolish to act like he didn’t have any idea about what the Yankees were doing last season.
Then things got really complicated with a video of Alex Cora resurfacing on Wednesday.
Here’s video of the Alex Cora soundbite we just played on @WFANmornings. This was following the Yankees’ sweep of Boston in the 2019 London Series. Check out the wink after he brings up Carlos Beltran’s name around :27 and unprovoked usage of the word “devices.” (h/t @Pacmangrig) pic.twitter.com/HgkglIoB7O
— Chris Lopresti (@CLoprestiWFAN) January 15, 2020
Now that we have the context of the Astros cheating scandal it seems clear what Cora is talking about here. He makes a clear mention of Carlos Beltran using “devices” to help the Yankees.
Even after this, MLB has refused to interject. In fact, according to Andy Martino of SNY, they went as far as to say, “Video could easily be talking pitch tipping/legal sign stealing.”
This is one way to take it. However, Cora’s use of the word devices is what stands out. Even if MLB believes that the Yankees did nothing wrong, why shouldn’t they investigate just to make sure?
Hypocrisy at it’s finest
MLB had no issues following the words of Mike Fiers and Twitter videos when it came to the Astros. It turns it they were right to investigate. They cheated and deserved to be punished.
That led them to the Red Sox who were also caught cheating. They too should be punished harshly, and look like MLB will do exactly that.
Yet, the Yankees are getting away without any investigation. What sets the Yankees apart from the other teams involved in this scandal? They have a history of cheating electronically, and they’re being called out for doing so again.
That alone seems like enough to start an investigation. Even if the investigation is short and turns up nothing, they could at least say they conducted a thorough investigation. Instead, they’re turning a blind eye to the situation. The Yankees aren’t the only team MLB is avoiding investigating, either.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were also mentioned by Morrison as a team that’s cheating. That’s interesting because the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox agree.
The New York Mets didn’t claim the Dodgers were cheating. They made sure of that. However, the Brewers and Red Sox made specific claims that they thought the Dodgers had a camera in the outfield.
This isn’t the first time the Mets and Dodgers have gotten caught up in this. In 2016, the Dodgers were marking outfield spots with lasers to show where opposing players were standing in the outfield.
This laser was even brought on the road. The Mets complained to MLB and the situation was handled. That said, the Dodgers faced no punishment for using an electronic device to gain a competitive advantage on the field.
So again, just like the Yankees, the Dodgers have avoided investigation despite accusations and past incidents. It really makes one wonder what a team has to do for MLB to finally investigate them—even in a post-trash-can-scandal world.