Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Red Sox used Apple Watch to steal Yankees pitching signs →

Michael Schmidt for The New York Times:

The Yankees, who had long been suspicious of the Red Sox stealing catchers’ signs in Fenway Park, contended the videotape showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout and then relaying a message to players, who may have then been able to use the information to know the type of pitch that was going to be thrown, according to the people familiar with the case.

Baseball investigators corroborated the Yankees’ claims based on video the commissioner’s office uses for instant replay and broadcasts, the people said. The commissioner’s office then confronted the Red Sox, who admitted that their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to some players — an operation that had been in place for at least several weeks.

I love this story, and don’t really see what the big deal is. I played baseball for about ten years, and was a Catcher for most of that time.

At the end of the Freshman season in High School, I was called up to help out the JV team. I didn’t start one particular game and my coach half-jokingly told us bench warmers to try and pick off the other team’s pitching signs.

After about 10 minutes of watching their coach, I had the signs figured out. I told my team, and before I knew it, they all were shouting the next pitch at our batter. 1 Eventually, the other team’s coach just let the Catcher call everything himself. Here’s the thing though: you can know what pitch is coming, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t hit it (read: we lost the game).

In the case of the Red Sox, Apple Watch just helped speed up an already-existing workflow — and like my Dad always says: baseball is a thinking man’s game, so good thinking on their part. I think the Apple Watch Series 3 to be announced next week will help the rest of us speed up our own workflows.

  1. Come on, guys. How about some subtlety?