Major League Baseball finds the Red Sox sign-stealing behavior in 2018 more limited in scope than what the Astros did, and concludes they didn’t cheat in the 2018 World Series against the Dodgers.
After being victims of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in 2017, Dodger fans have been waiting to learn whether they were cheated again during the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
Major League Baseball’s long-awaited investigation on the Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing in 2018 has finally reached a conclusion. The league determined Boston misused game feeds in the replay room to steal signs during points of the 2018 regular season, but they did not conduct impermissible conduct during the postseason, according to The Athletic.
The investigation concluded the Red Sox illegal behavior was far more limited in scope than the Astros, as the sign-stealing operation was not directed by the manager or coaches, or anyone in the front office, and did not use any warning techniques of incoming pitches, similar to the trash cans utilized by the Astros.
The Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games during the 2018 World Series. Current Dodger reliever Joe Kelly was an instrumental contributor out of the bullpen in that series, striking out ten of the 22 batters he faced. Kelly recently voiced his frustrations about the investigation on a local Boston radio show, saying the Sox would have swept the Dodgers had they been cheating.
The MLB report puts the emphasis of blame for the Red Sox’ actions in 2018 on staffers, such as the team’s video replay operator, which accounts for the way the team has been punished. According to The Athletic, Boston will lose a 2020 second round pick, and their replay operator will be banned from doing the same job until 2022, and Alex Cora, who was part of the Astros sign-stealing scheme, is banned through the 2020 playoffs for his conduct specific to his time in Houston.
In a copy of MLB’s report released online, several reasons were outlined as to why the league found insufficient evidence to suggest the Red Sox cheated during the 2018 postseason.
"Many of the witnesses who believed that Watkins violated the rules in the 2018 regular season said that they do not believe the activity continued into the Postseason because sign sequences were too difficult to decode in the Postseason, and MLB increased its monitoring of the replay room, which made it more difficult. Additionally, no witness described any specific support for in-game sign decoding, such as Watkins circling the correct sign in the sequence or describing sign information in problematic terms, as had occurred in the regular season."
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly says 2018 Red Sox would have won the World Series in four if they were cheating.
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