People who live in glass houses should not throw stones at them.
Yes, it is cliched. But it pretty much sums up the situation between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros.
MLB Houston busted for illegally using electronic equipment to steal signals during the 2017 season, which ended with the Astros winning the World Championship. More allegations of fraud surfaced in 2019.
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In both years, the Yankees’ season ended with losses to the Astros in the MLS Championship Series. That prompted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in March to blame Houston for the current drought streak in New York, dating back to 2009.
“The only thing that stopped us was something frightening and illegal,” Cashman told The Athletic. “I was offended when I started hearing we haven’t been to a world championship since ’09. Because I’m like, ‘Okay, I guess we did it the right way.’ Pull it down, put it back on. Well crafted, well traded, well developed, well positioned. The only thing that got us off course was the cheating circumstances that kicked us out….People are like, “Oh, we didn’t go to the World Championships…” and I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s as true a statement as it could be.” We have the World Championship team. And you either get it done or you don’t.”
However, the infamous message Cashman received from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred revealed that the Yankees had illegally used the team’s video replay room and cache phone to send pitch signals to the runners at second base, who would then transmit them to the hitters via signals. The rule-breaking happened in 2015 and 2016.
This prompted Astros owner Jim Crane to call Cashman in a conversation with Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
“I found his comments very strange,” Crane said. “There’s the message, and you’ve been doing that too. I was there dude. What are you talking about? If you’re one of the teams, and I knew our team was doing it.” [cheating]I will remain silent and carry on with our business. But listen, I can only control what happens here. I can’t control what others do.”
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The letter also stated that the Yankees illegally used an iPad in their office to watch a Los Angeles Angels network broadcast of a game on June 13, 2017.
The MLB fined the Yankees $100,000, which the league said went to Hurricane Irma relief.
The MLB investigation into the Yankees came on the heels of the Red Sox’s Apple Watch scandal in 2017. At the time, the Boston Yankees were accused of illegally using a smartwatch to transmit bowler signals. MLB later disciplined the Red Sox.
According to the letter, the Yankees’ actions weren’t nearly as sloppy as when the Astros were used illegally in 2017 and 2018 to transmit catcher signals to a television near their locker room so staff could decipher them and then communicate with the hitters for real. Time by making a noise indicating the next pitch. Houston broke league rules after clarification.
(NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Cotey contributed to this report.)
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Mike Rosenstein can be reached at email@example.com.