Major League Baseball and the Yankees both issued statements Tuesday after the contents of a previously sealed letter from Commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees general manager and senior vice president Brian Cashman from September 2017 were made public for the first time.
In the letter, dated September 14, 2017, Manfred Cashman informed that an investigation into allegations of sign theft showed that the Yankees used the video playback space in 2015 and 2016 to decode sign sequences and pass them on to a runner at Second Base. who would then forward them to the dough. The Yankees were fined $ 100,000 for improper use of the dugout phone. The investigation freed the Yankees to use the YES Network cameras (ie, the center-field camera) to steal signs that the Red Sox had alleged.
The letter does not contain allegations that the Yankees have used technology to steal signs during the 2017 season, and most importantly, it precedes an announcement by Manfred on September 15, 2017 that the theft of electronic signs from that day forward will be subject to more severe penalties. . The Astros and Red Sox were both later punished for electronic sign theft, which took place after September 15, 2017.
MLB’s statement on the matter reads as follows:
“As previously reported in 2017, the New York Yankees were fined for improper use of the dugout phone because the repeat review rules prohibited the use of the replay phone for transmitting information other than whether a play was to be changed. The Yankees did not violate the MLB’s rules at the time that regulated the theft of signs.
“At that time, the use of the playroom to decode signs was not expressly prohibited by the MLB rules as long as the information was not communicated electronically to the excavation. Because the rules for using replay had evolved, many clubs moved their video equipment close to the pitch. , which gave staff the potential to quickly forward signs to the track.
“MLB clarified the rules regarding the use of electronic equipment on 15 September 2017. MLB took further steps on 27 March 2018 by drawing a clear line and making it explicit to all 30 clubs that any clubhouse or video room equipment could not be used to decode signs and that future violations of electronic sign theft will be subject to severe sanctions, including possible loss of drafts. ”
The Yankees had opposed the public release of the letter as part of a lawsuit filed by DraftKings contestants claiming damages from MLB sign theft. In April 2020, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff dismissed the lawsuit, but ordered the letter overturned. The Yankees lost their final appeal of that decision last week.
The Yankees Declaration reads:
“The contents and details of the letter from Commissioner Manfred to Brian Cashman have been widely reported since 2017. As the facts of the letter again show, the Yankees were not punished for theft of signs, but were punished for improper use of the phone in the replay room (which should only used for replay review challenges discussions) .At that time, sign theft was used as a competitive tool by several teams throughout Major League Baseball and only became illegal after the Commissioner’s specific delimitation of the rules on 15 September 2017.
“The Yankees were also justified by Major League Baseball regarding allegations that the team used YES Network resources in an effort to gain an illegal advantage during the matches. These allegations were found to have no justification.
“The Yankees fought hard for the production of this letter, not only for the legal principle involved, but to prevent the incorrect juxtaposition of events that took place before the establishment of the Commissioner’s rules on character theft with those that took place after What should be made vividly clear is this: The fine noted in Major League Baseball’s letter was imposed before MLB’s new rules and standards were issued.
“Since Major League Baseball clarified its rules regarding the use of video room equipment on September 15, 2017, the Yankees have not had any violations or violations.”