In recent months, revelations of sign-stealing in both Houston and Boston have cast genuine doubt upon two of the last three World Series outcomes and scandalized baseball. Along the way, outrage has bubbled over, and dozens of reputations -- some of them mostly sterling before any of this happened -- have been sullied forever.
The pilfering of a catcher's signs to his pitcher has been a part of baseball since time immemorial and is sanctioned so long as it's achieved by dint of the intelligence and savvy of uniformed personnel. What the Astros and Red Sox (and possibly other teams) did, though, was expressly against the rules because it leaned so heavily upon technology -- the use of replay monitors, specifically, and even decoding algorithms built by front office quants. For most observers, that pushes it beyond the pale.
To be sure, none of it is unprecedented. The 1951 Giants -- authors of the Shot Heard 'Round the World -- according to contemporaneous reporting used spies and buzzers to steal signs throughout that storied season. Bill Veeck's 1948 Indians, who won the World Series, intercepted signs from the opposing battery with a telescope positioned inside the scoreboard at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. That's not an exhaustive listing of such pre-Astros-Red Sox behavior, but it's enough to make the point. So if you want to add nuance to the current discussion, there it is.
That current discussion, though, owns the moment in baseball, and it may not even be over yet. Think about what we know thanks to the official channels. We know some objective facts, and we know how MLB preferred to have those objective facts rendered. Most of what we know, however, comes from the reporting of writers like Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic and Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal. Without their work, we'd have carefully selected fragments of the story and not all these particulars and constituent moments that make up the timeline you're about to read.
This, as it stands so far, is the chronological story of the sign-stealing scandals of 2017-2019.
Jan. 16, 2014
MLB under then-commissioner Bud Selig announces expansion of the replay review system. Managers will now be able to challenge certain calls they believe to be incorrect. In order to determine whether a call merits a challenge, managers are allowed to speak with a video specialist stationed in the clubhouse who will have access to the same video available to MLB's replay command center in New York. An unintended consequence of this change is that the clubhouse replay room will come to serve as a locus for electronic sign-stealing thanks to camera views of the catcher.
According to the reporting of Jared Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, Astros front office intern Derek Vigoa, who would later become director of team operations, delivers a PowerPoint presentation to GM Jeff Luhnow. In it, Vigoa lays out the basics on the sign-stealing system that will come to be known internally as "Codebreaker." The system was also referred to internally as the team's "dark arts."
The Astros used Codebreaker to decode signs during home and road games, according to Diamond, and the information was passed on to the dugout. As commissioner Rob Manfred would eventually detail in his 2020 report, the information was initially used by runners at second base. Eventually, though, the Astros started banging on garbage cans in order to relay signs even with the bases empty, which allowed for much more frequent use of the system. The revelations in Diamond's story countervail Manfred's later claims in his report that the scheme was "player-driven."
After spending parts of the prior three seasons with the Yankees, veteran Carlos Beltran signs a one-year deal with the Astros for his age-40 season. Early in his tenure, he reportedly tells the Astros that their approach to stealing signs is "behind the times."
May 24, 2017
Diamond reports that Astros Manager of Major League Advance Information Tom Koch-Weser sends an email to Luhnow, among others, that reads in part:
"I don't want to electronically correspond too much about 'the system' but Cora/Cintron/Beltran have been driving a culture initiated by Bregman/Vigoa last year and I think it's working," Koch-Weser wrote. "I have no proof that it has worked, but we get real good dope on pitchers tipping and being lazy. That information, if it's not already, will eventually yield major results in our favor once players get used to the implementation."
Cora is Alex Cora, then the Asros' bench coach and later to become manager of the Red Sox. Cintron is Alex Cintron, who was an Astros assistant coach at the time of the email and is now the team's hitting coach.
Koch-Weser will later tell MLB investigators that he was unaware of the scheme until September of 2017.
What will come to be known as the Astros' "banging scheme" begins in earnest.
"One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can't) do and report back your findings."
ESPN's Jeff Passan will later report that the unnamed executive is special assistant Kevin Goldstein.
Aug. 18-20, 2017
During a series against the Yankees, a member of the Red Sox training staff is seen using an Apple Watch to aid in relaying decoded pitch signs to batters from the dugout. The Yankees file a complaint with the commissioner's office, and the Red Sox counter-complain that the Yankees used the YES Network broadcast to decipher catcher-pitcher signs.
Aug. 26, 2017
Koch-Weser in an email to other members of the Astros front office refers to Beltran as "the godfather" of the sign-stealing scheme.
Sept. 15, 2017
Manfred rules that the Red Sox violated MLB rules by "sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout." Manfred further rules that his investigation found insufficient evidence that the Yankees stole signs via use of electronic equipment. He does, however, determine that the Yankees had improperly used the dugout telephone within the past season. Manfred notes in his report that he "received absolute assurances from the Red Sox that there will be no future violations of this type."
"Taking all of these factors as well as past precedent into account, I have decided to fine the Red Sox an undisclosed amount which in turn will be donated by my office to hurricane relief efforts in Florida. Moreover, all 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks."
Both the Red Sox and Yankees are fined, with the Red Sox being penalized the higher amount.
This same day, Manfred distributes a memo to all 30 MLB teams reminding them that stealing opposing signs with the aid of technology is strictly and expressly against the rules. The memo specifically mentions that the use of replay rooms for purposes of sign-stealing is forbidden.
Diamond of the Wall Street Journal will later report that Luhnow and the rest of the front office failed to distribute this memo or communicate it to Astros players or field staff. According to Diamond's sources, because of this failure on the part of Astros upper management, Manfred comes to believe he would lose a grievance in the event that he disciplines any Houston players. Indeed, no active players will be punished or mentioned by name in Manfred's eventual ruling.
Oct. 21, 2017
The Astros defeat the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS and advance to the World Series to face the Dodgers.
Oct. 22, 2017
The Red Sox name Cora as their next manager.
Oct. 29, 2017
The Astros win Game 5 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park by a score of 13-12 over the Dodgers in 10 innings. After dominating the Astros at home in Game 1, Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw is battered for six runs in 4 2/3 innings, and for the first time since 2010 he departed a start with more walks than strikeouts. Kershaw throws 51 breaking balls on the night and doesn't record a single swing and miss. More than two years later, Kershaw will have the following exchange with Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated:
"If you don't change your signs up every few pitches with a guy on second base, it's on you," he said. "I just don't want to have multiple signs with a guy on first base, you know? That slows the game down. Slows the rhythm down.
"And I didn't do that in Houston. I used one sign. And I should have known. They were using multiple signs all the time."
"In 2017 the Astros were using multiple signs even without a runner at second?"
"Yes. I just didn't do it."
Nov. 1, 2017
The Astros defeat the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 of the World Series and in doing so win the first championship in franchise history.
March 27, 2018
MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre sends a memo to top executives of every club that reiterates and emphasizes the ban on using replay or video rooms to decode signs.
Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman during a series at Yankee Stadium confronts a Yankees employee about use of a camera in center field. It's later reported that the Yankees had permission from MLB to install and use the camera.
The Athletics complain to MLB about the Astros' use of electronics to steal signs.
MLB begins monitoring replay rooms to ensure against improper use. During the postseason, the Indians and Red Sox raise concerns about an Astros employee with a camera near their dugouts. A subsequent MLB investigation determines that the employee was monitoring the field.
Prior to the ALCS between the Red Sox and Astros, Torre warns Astros manager A.J. Hinch, Luhnow, Cora, and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski that any activities in violation of MLB rules need to stop before details are leaked to the media. ESPN's Karl Ravech will report this in late February of 2020.
Oct. 18, 2018
Robert Murray of The Athletic reports that the Brewers suspect the Dodgers of using video to steal signs during the NLCS. Murray writes:
"There is concern among some Brewers that the Dodgers are using video to pick up their signs, multiple sources tell The Athletic. One person inside the organization said that on videos of the games, a coach could be seen running from the hallway into the Dodgers' dugout whenever a runner reached second base, possibly a sign that L.A. was relaying a pitchers' sequences to the runner during those at-bats."
Oct. 28, 2018
The Red Sox beat the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 of the World Series and take the series four games to one.
June 30, 2019
Following a two-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees in London, in which the Yankees scored 29 runs in those two games, Red Sox manager Cora makes cryptic comments about Beltran, who at that time served as a special assistant for New York. "Their attention to detail is phenomenal. I was joking with somebody that the biggest free agent acquisition is Carlos Beltran," Cora says with a wink. "He … I know how it works, you know; he's helping a lot. They're paying attention to details and we have to clean our details.
"I'm not saying, you know, devices and all that stuff. Just stuff that the game will dictate, and will scream at people. And he's right there. Throughout the evening I was looking, and I saw it."
Oct. 19, 2019
Jose Altuve of the Astros jumps on an Aroldis Chapman high-and-away slider and yanks it for a walk-off home run against the Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS. The win sends Houston to the World Series. As Altuve nears home plate, he tells his teammates not to tear off his jersey in celebration. Subsequent events and related rumors will give rise to speculation that Altuve didn't want his shirt torn off because he was concealing a buzzer, which would be used to alert him when something other than a fastball was on the way. Altuve initially explained his actions by saying he was modest and that his wife was upset with him the last time his jersey was ripped off.
Nov. 12, 2019
Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic drop a bombshell report that alleges the Astros electronically stole signs throughout the 2017 season. Veteran Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who had been a member of the Astros at the time, served as the whistleblower source for the report. According to Fiers, the Astros had a center-field camera fixed on the catcher, someone decoded the signs in real time on a monitor in the hallway between the dugout and clubhouse, and banged a garbage can to relay incoming pitches to the hitter.
Former MLB pitcher Danny Farquhar also goes on record with The Athletic. Farquhar, who pitched for the White Sox in 2017, recalls he noticed a banging in the Astros dugout when his catcher called for a changeup. Video from the September 2017 game in question confirms Farquhar's recollections. Before that Sept. 22 game ends, a group of Astros players remove the monitor from the wall in the tunnel and hide it. For the playoffs, the Astros set up a portable monitor on a table.
In a statement in response to the report, the Astros announce the launch of "an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball," and add that "it would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."
MLB launches that investigation despite the fact that the A's more than a year prior had complained to the commissioner's office about the Astros' tactics.
Nov. 13, 2019
New Mets manager Beltran, who played for the 2017 Astros, denies knowledge of the electronic sign-stealing scandal.
Jan. 2, 2020
As revealed by the reporting of Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, Manfred sends a letter to Luhnow saying, "there is more than sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that you knew -- and overwhelming evidence that you should have known -- that the Astros maintained a sign-stealing program that violated MLB's rules."
Later this same month, Luhow will deny having knowledge of the scheme, even though he received multiple emails discussing it. He later claims he did not fully read the relevant emails. Even so, Manfred in his report will write that his "investigation revealed no evidence to suggest that Luhnow was aware of the banging scheme."
Manfred's Jan. 2 letter also says, "Most or all Astros players were active participants in the Banging Scheme by the conclusion of the 2017 World Series."
Jan. 7, 2020
Rosenthal and Drellich report that the Red Sox illegally stole signs during the 2018 season, when they eventually won the World Series in five games over the Dodgers. They write that "at least some [Red Sox] players visited the video replay room during games to learn the sign sequence opponents were using." The deciphered pitch was relayed to a baserunner, who then signaled the batter.
Reached for comment about the allegations, MLB announces that it will "commence an investigation into this matter."
Multiple sources also tell Rosenthal and Drellich that the Yankees had been using the replay room to decode signs since 2015 and the Red Sox since 2016. Sources also tell Rosenthal and Drellich that the Red Sox continued to use the replay room to decode signs despite the presence of MLB personnel as monitors, at least early in the 2019 season.
Jan. 13, 2020
Manfred rules on the Astros' sign-stealing and releases his findings. MLB's investigation confirms the reported details of the "banging scheme" and also finds that the Astros used the system to steal signs during the 2017 regular season and postseason and into the 2018 season.
Manfred levies five punishments against Houston:
· Manager Hinch is suspended for the 2020 season. Hinch is shortly thereafter fired by the Astros.
· GM Luhnow suspended for the 2020 season. Luhnow is also fired by the Astros.
· Former assistant Astros GM Taubman is suspended one year for his behavior during the 2019 postseason. Taubman had been fired by the Astros the previous October.
· The Astros forfeit their first- and second- round draft picks the next two years.
· The Astros are fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under MLB's constitution.
The report notes that "Hinch attempted to signal his disapproval of the scheme by physically damaging the monitor on two occasions, necessitating its replacement" but otherwise took no steps to stop the sign-stealing. Manfred also criticizes the culture of the Astros' baseball operations department under Luhnow.
Cora, bench coach for the Astros in 2017 and then manager of the Red Sox, is cited by name in the report as one of the instigators of the scheme. Beltran, who was in his final season as a player in 2017, is also named as being central to the scheme.
Notably, Manfred does not name or discipline any Astros players. He explains this decision by pointing to three considerations: that MLB promised players immunity in exchange for their cooperation during the investigation; that Manfred released a memo in 2017 warning teams the general manager and manager would be held responsible for any such sign-stealing allegations; and that disciplining players was "impractical" because it would be difficult to assign proper blame. Manfred also determines that team owner Jim Crane was not aware of the sign-stealing and declines to force the Astros to vacate their 2017 World Series title.
Luhnow releases a statement in which he says he accepts responsibility for the rule-breaking but also declares, "I am not a cheater." Luhnow also writes in his statement that he "did not know rules were being broken" and that if he had known he "would have stopped it."
Jan. 14, 2020
Cora steps down as Red Sox manager as fallout from his role in the Astros scandal. He guided them to a franchise-record 108 wins and the World Series title in 2018.
Jan. 16, 2020
Beltran resigns as Mets manager less than three months after being named to the post and before he manages a single game.
Jan. 21, 2020
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approves a measure requesting that MLB award the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles to the Dodgers.
Jan. 22, 2020
Manfred appears on Fox Business and in response to the L.A. City Council vote dismisses the idea of forcing teams to vacate titles.
Luis Rojas is named manager of the Mets.
Late January 2020
Astros fan Tony Adams watches every pitch of every Astros home game during the 2017 and detects more than 1,100 "bangs" on more than 8,200 pitches.
Jan. 29, 2020
Astros name Dusty Baker as manager.
Feb. 10, 2020
Former MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger files a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the Astros. In it he accuses the franchise of unfair business practices and negligence, among other charges, which he attests shortened his big league career.
Feb. 11, 2020
One rival exec tells Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post that as many as 12 teams complained to MLB about the Astros' "cheating their asses off for three or four years" -- i.e., from 2016 through 2019.
On this same day, Rosenthal and Drellich report on Beltran's role as ringleader of the sign-stealing scheme. They write:
"During the season, small groups of Astros discussed their misgivings. [Catcher Brian] McCann at one point approached Beltrán and asked him to stop, two members of the 2017 team said.
'He disregarded it and steamrolled everybody,' one of the team members said. 'Where do you go if you're a young, impressionable player with the Astros and this guy says, 'We're doing this'? What do you do?'"
They also report that Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center-field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros' dugout.
Also on this day, the Red Sox promote Ron Roenicke to interim manager against the backdrop of their own pending investigation. Roenicke had been the team's bench coach for the prior two seasons. MLB Network's Jon Heyman will later report that the Red Sox checked in with MLB before naming Roenicke manager to be sure he wasn't going to be implicated in that pending investigation.
Marwin Gonzalez, now with the Twins, becomes the first Astros hitter from the 2017 team to formally apologize for his role in the scheme. "I'm remorseful for everything that happened in 2017," Gonzalez tells reporters at the Twins' spring training facility in Florida. "For everything that we did as a group, and for the players that were affected directly by us doing this ... That's why I feel more regret and that's why I'm remorseful."
Gonzalez also says it's impossible to know whether the Astros would have won the World Series in 2017 in the absence of sign-stealing. Subsequent analysis will reveal that Gonzalez appears to be the most frequent beneficiary of the Astros' sign-stealing system.
Feb. 13, 2020
One month after being disciplined, the Astros make their first formal public remarks about the scandal. Owner Crane, manager Baker (who had no involvement with the scandal), and players Altuve and Alex Bregman hold a press conference at the team's spring training complex.
Altuve and Bregman apologize via prepared statements but do not take questions. Crane also apologizes but says he doesn't believe he should be held accountable for the scandal. The Astros' owner also contradicts himself in short order about whether he believes the sign-stealing affected the outcome of games. Crane also in essence blames Hinch and Luhnow. "The leaders enabled, condoned, and did not stop actions that happened," Crane says at the press conference. "I agree that our players should not be punished ... This is a great group of guys who did not receive proper guidance from their leaders."
Our own Mike Axisa described the press conference as being "heavy on canned remarks and deference to the commissioner's report, and very short on contrition."
On this same day, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa speaks publicly about the scandal and apologizes while strongly denying the use of buzzers. Notably, he also pushes back against the narrative of Beltran as the "alpha" ringleader of the scheme. Correa says:
"We didn't feel scared of Beltran, we didn't feel intimidated. He was the nicest guy that we've ever had, he was the best teammate we've ever had. Beltran was a leader of the clubhouse but we all had a say in everything that we were doing. Whatever he said, and whatever we were doing, we had the chance to stop it as a team."
Feb. 14-18, 2020
As full rosters trickle into camps, opposing players begin commenting upon the Astros' scandal and punishments and their subsequent apologies. Most notably, Angels superstar Mike Trout said, "They cheated...I don't agree with the punishment...I lost respect for some of those guys."
Cody Bellinger, whose Dodgers lost to the Astros in the 2017 World Series, is even more unsparing in his remarks:
"I thought the apologies were whatever. I thought Jim Crane's was weak. I thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. Those guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us. But it's over."
Aaron Judge of the Yankees, who finished runner-up to Altuve in the 2018 AL MVP balloting, acknowledges he removed a social media post in which he congratulated Altuve on his award.
Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki saysthat the Astros were stealing signs during the 2019 World Series.
Feb. 15, 2020
In an interview with Rosenthal, Correa offers an additional explanation for Altuve's reluctance to have his jersey torn off following his ALCS-clinching homer against the Yankees. Correa says:
"So, one, he didn't want to take his shirt off because his wife had told my wife earlier in the year for me to not to do that. So he was telling me not to do it. And, number two, he had an unfinished tattoo that looked kinda bad, that he didn't want people to see and people to talk about. That was the reason."
Feb. 16, 2020
Manfred holds the first of two spring training press conferences that are mostly devoted to addressing the sign-stealing controversy. Manfred stresses that he wanted to punish players involved in the scheme but was unable to because his investigation needed to grant immunity to those players in exchange for their cooperation. He also says his investigation turned up no evidence that the Astros were using buzzers but that he could not be 100 percent certain. Additionally, Manfred says the league has investigated or is presently investigating "complaints from a variety of people about a variety of clubs."
In an earlier interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech on this same day, Manfred characterizes the Astros' Feb. 13 public apology as "not successful." Manfred in that same conversation with Ravech passingly refers to the World Series trophy as "a piece of metal." Manfred's remark took place in the context of answering a question about forcing the Astros to vacate their 2017 title:
"The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act. People will always know something was different about the 2017 season, and whether we made that decision right or wrong, we undertook a thorough investigation, and had the intestinal fortitude to share the results of the investigation, even when those results were not very pretty."
Feb. 17, 2020
Justin Turner of the Dodgers, whose team lost to the Astros in the 2017 World Series, blasts Manfred for his dismissive remarks about the trophy. "For him to devalue it the way he did yesterday just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game," Turner tells Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. "At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says 'commissioner' on it."
Altuve shows up for spring training with a tattoo under his left collarbone, as Correa described. Subsequent investigations of Altuve's social media postings will reveal no clear answers as to whether Altuve's claims about the timeline of his tattoo are accurate.
Feb. 18, 2020
Manfred meets with the media for the second time in three days. He apologizes for his dismissive comments about the World Series trophy, confirms that the Astros stole signs during the 2017 postseason, and claims that the MLBPA -- i.e., the players' union -- insisted on blanket immunity for all players in exchange for member cooperation.
Feb. 19, 2020
SI's Tom Verducci reports that MLB will put in place additional measures to combat electronic sign-stealing. In-house cameras are banned from foul pole to foul pole, the only live game feed will be for the use of each team's designated replay official, the use of specially trained monitors is made permanent, all other bullpen and clubhouse monitors broadcasting a given game will be on an eight-second delay, no television monitors are allowed in tunnels or auxiliary rooms between the dugout and clubhouse, and each team is ordered to provide an audit on the use of every in-house camera. As well, Manfred mandates that every GM and manager before every season must sign a pledge to abide by the sign-stealing rules in place.
One unnamed GM tells Verducci that roughly six teams during the 2018 season were believed to have installed in-house cameras in center field that were focused on opposing catchers.
Also on this day, the MLBPA issues a response to Manfred's allegations that they hindered the investigation by insisting upon blanket immunity for all players. In part, the union statement reads:
"Any suggestion that the Association failed to cooperate with the Commissioner's investigation, obstructed the investigation, or otherwise took positions which led to a stalemate in the investigation is completely untrue. We acted to protect the rights of our members, as is our obligation under the law."
Feb 20, 2020
Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who played for the Athletics in 2018, confirms to ESPN.com that the A's had complained to MLB about the Astros' sign-stealing but that MLB failed to act until Fiers went public.
Fiers tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's received death threats as a result of his decision to go public with the Astros' sign-stealing.
Feb. 21, 2020
Astros outfielder Josh Reddick tells reports that he and some Astros teammates have received death threats via social media. Reddick says that in one instance someone wished cancer upon his children. He calls upon MLB to take extra steps to protect Astros players and their families during the 2020 season.
March 2, 2020
SI's Verducci reports that MLB plans to address sign-stealing by barring non-uniformed personnel from clubhouses during games, limiting access to replay rooms, and turning off all live video feeds except for the replay review monitor.
March 20, 2020
During oral arguments over whether a group of daily fantasy players were defrauded by the sign-stealing scandal, an attorney for the Red Sox disputes MLB's yet to be released findings. "Your Honor, I think that there are distinctions between what the Red Sox believe occurred and what the commissioner found," Lauren Moskowitz told the presiding judge, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. "And I think that certainly they're entitled to disagree that that activity happened at the club level. Certainly, we did find on certain occasions in 2017, that this electronic device was used to communicate sign information."
March 26, 2020
Manfred addresses the Red Sox investigation with Scott Van Pelt on ESPN's SportsCenter. "We are done with the investigation," he says. "There's been a delay in terms of producing a written report, just because I, frankly, have not had time to turn to it with the other issues. But we will get a Boston report out before we resume play.
April 3, 2020
Federal Judge Jed Rakoffagainst the Astros and Red Sox by daily fantasy sports players concerning their improper use of technology to steal signs during the 2017-18 seasons.
April 14, 2020
Veteran DH/1B/OF Steve Pearce, during an appearance on Boston's WEEI,. The 2018 World Series MVP also has this to say about the sign-stealing allegations leveled against the Red Sox:
"That's such a joke to us. When it came out we were all kind of joking about it. We just want this to pass us. We won it fair and square. Whatever they accused us of, we were all kind of like, 'I can't believe this is even an issue.' Once the report comes out we're all going to be free."
Pearce spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons with Boston.
April 22, 2020
. The team is stripped of a 2020 second-round draft pick, and replay operator J.T. Watkins is banned through the 2020 playoffs and forbidden to perform replay duties during the 2021 season. As well, former manager Cora is banned from MLB until the end of the 2020 postseason; however, his ban is the result of his role in the Astros' cheating scandal.
Of the Red Sox' sign-stealing, Manfred writes that Watkins "on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, utilized the game feeds in the replay room, in violation of MLB regulations, to revise sign sequence information that he had permissibly provided to players prior to the game."
The Red Sox's penalties are lighter than Houston's because, according to Manfred's investigation, the scheme was not used as regularly, and the front office, the manager, and much of the roster were unaware of the endeavor. Manfred further finds that the Red Sox did not use the sign-stealing scheme during the 2018 postseason or the 2019 regular season.