The Yankee Letter report shows the bombers cheated


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After months of speculation As for the contents of the “scandalous” sealed letter, which allegedly contained evidence of a previously unknown New York Yankees cheating scandal, the contents were allegedly published in a report by Andy Martino, an MLB insider for SportsNet New York, in which he says SNY “received” the letter on Tuesday morning. Twenty-nine fanbases had waited years, even decades, to offer Yankee fans something other than themselves to be terrible people. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros fan base anxiously awaited the drawing of the franchise’s Uno Reverse card, which had been clamoring for an asterisk to be placed next to the 2017 World Series banner at Minute Maid Park. That was to be the Yankees’ undoing! Did the report give baseball fans that wave of satisfaction? Not really.

According to the report, “the letter does not involve the Yankees in a sign-stealing scheme similar to that for which the Houston Astros were penalized.” It does prove, however, that the Yankees used a system of dugout phones to relay signals to the second runners, who then relayed the signals to the batter. But we already knew that. They didn’t use YES network cameras like that Red Sox reportsbut they were “punished” by MLB for this cheating scandal, even if that “penalty” was only a meager $100,000 fine (which had not previously been reported). The letter also fails to indicate that the Yankees would use phones to the Passing signs with the hammer of justice.

Martino claims in his report that the letter is “not yet unsealed”. I have no idea how he and SNY were able to “obtain” it without unsealing it. I don’t understand how this works, maybe that’s what he meant ‘had yet to be unsealed up to this point, but we cannot know for sure. Hopefully when the letter is officially unsealed later this week we will have more clarity on the situation. Until then, we can only refrain from Martino’s report. How convenient.

So what does that mean? First off, the Yankees cheated, but not to the extent that the Astros did it seems. The system the Yankees implemented could only be achieved with a runner already standing at second base, while the Astros were able to relay signals to hitters at any time during an at-bat. This style of sign stealing has reportedly been used in some form by several MLB clubs before Manfred’s statement on September 15, 2017. How many teams? We have no idea. According to MLB insider Jeff Passan, “Other teams were very likely doing similar things to New York and Boston. That element spanned the game.”

Martino’s report also claims that “the Yankees and Red Sox were among the many clubs that began using their video playback room for this purpose,” although the “other teams” are not named, so that statement if also widely used, believed to be true, never confirmed. We can say with certainty that both the Astros and Red Sox were caught using high-speed cameras to relay signs to Schlager, according to Manfred’s testimony (the Red Sox in the 2018 season when they won the World Series and the Astros in the postseason 2017 when she also won the World Series). Both teams were fined for their misdeeds.

In the tweet I posted above, Passan refers to the Yankee letter as a “nothing burger.” According to the report, this does not appear to be the case. Any cheating, no matter how many other players or teams have done it, is a violation of the game’s integrity, and unless Manfred actively encouraged teams to use Replay in this way, or turned a blind eye (as Bud Selig allegedly did did during the steroid era) should be punished. However, the Yankees have already been fined for it. This letter contains virtually no new information other than the fact that the Yankees did not use YES cameras in their sign-taking and that they cannot be proven to have been involved in the sign-taking after Manfred warned all 30 teams on 9/15/17. So it stands to reason that they had their own camera sign stealing operation.

That begs the question, “If the Yankees had already been fined by MLB for fraud in 2015 and 2016, why did the Yankees and MLB try so hard to keep this letter from getting public?” It begs that Apparently there is more at play that we are not told. I wouldn’t trust MLB to forge such a narrative prior to the unseal to undermine what will be revealed when the letter is officially unsealed and its contents released to the world. After all, they have never shown that they care about the integrity of the sport.

If the report turns out to be true, the Astros are still terrible at heart. The Red Sox are still terrible. The Yankees are still terrible, but not as terrible as many people were hoping. Of course, as I said, the report also states that the letter itself was not unsealed, so perhaps the contents of the letter were misconstrued by Martino, but we can’t be sure… at least not yet.

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