The New York Yankees have officially appealed a judge’s decision that a letter from MLB to general manager Brian Cashman be publicized.
The Yankees’ appeal is in response to a Friday order from U.S. District judge Jed S. Rakoff, who recently threw out a class-action suit brought by former DraftKings players. The $5 million suit alleged the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox affected game outcomes with their illegal sign-stealing. Since DraftKings is a gambling site, the suit says MLB should be held liable for gambling losses.
The lawsuit was dismissed by Rakoff twice. However, he ordered a letter from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to be opened. The Yankees are claiming the letter would damage the team’s reputation. However, Rakoff called any potential embarrassment “not particularly weighty.”
The New York Yankees and MLB have since appealed the order to the Second Circuit Court.
In a nutshell, the Yankees are being a little melodramatic about this. On one hand, it makes sense. The letter supposedly shows the team engaged in more egregious forms of sign-stealing. Why would the Yankees want that information going public?
Except, according to Andy Martino of SNY, Manfred’s letter to Cashman is much ado about nothing.
Can report that Manfred's letter to Yankees in 2017 did not say Yankees engaged in sign stealing. MLB's department of investigations did not find any evidence of violations by in '17. Story up shortly to explain why NYY still want letter sealed.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) June 13, 2020
This is why anyone hoping that Manfred’s letter to NYY in ‘17 will reveal a cheating scheme — including, apparently Bregman and Correa, will be disappointed. There wasn’t one. Of course Yanks have stolen sign but there wasn’t a cheating system in ‘17 as w/Hou and BOS.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) June 15, 2020
Further, in a piece for SNY published Saturday, Martino further detailed why the New York Yankees want the letter to remain sealed:
“The Yankees contend that because their employees took part in a confidential process during MLB’s investigation, the letter should remain confidential. The proceedings were not public, the team contends, and should not become public three years after the fact. Letters from the commissioner to the Astros and Red Sox have not been made public.”
Thus, it seems the Yankees could be making a big deal out of nothing. Mark Teixeira already came clean about what happened back in February. Speaking to Joel Sherman of The New York Post, Teixeira detailed how some Yankees players used the replay room to decode opposing catchers’ signs.
And now we can confirm what we’ve known all along, ladies and gentlemen. The letter the New York Yankees are so insistent on keeping sealed won’t change the sign-stealing narrative at all. For example, the Houston Astros had a monitor set up behind their dugout and were able to transmit pitch signals to hitters in real-time. This includes the trash can banging, for instance.
The Yankees, meanwhile, just had a system multiple teams used. They used replay monitors to decode signs. They were fined in 2017. It wasn’t against the rules then, so why reopen the wound?
However, the appeal has been filed, which means this story isn’t quite over yet.