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Boston Red Sox Will Be Fined Over Apple Watch Sign Stealing Complaint

The Red Sox will be fined after the Yankees claimed an Apple Watch was used to steal signs. Stealing signs isn't against rules; using electronic equipment is.
Image: Mookie Betts
Boston Red Sox's Mookie Betts is congratulated by teammates after their 9-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game at Fenway Park on Sept. 8, 2017 in Boston.Winslow Townson / AP file

The Boston Red Sox will be fined an undisclosed amount after the New York Yankees accused the team of using an Apple Watch to try to steal signs, Major League Baseball’s commissioner said Friday.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that after an investigation he concluded the Red Sox violated league regulations "by sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout.”

The Yankees will also be fined a smaller amount after the investigation found the team in a previous championship season "violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone," Manfred said.

Stealing signs from catchers in order to give opposing teams an advantage is not against the rules, but using electronic equipment to do so is a violation.

"The Red Sox' strategy violated our rules because of the use of an electronic device," Manfred said in the statement.

The New York Times first reported earlier this month that the Yankees accused the Red Sox of using an Apple Watch to steal signs during a three-game series in August, and that the Boston team admitted their trainers received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to players.

The money from the fine will be donated to hurricane relief efforts in Florida, Manfred said in a statement. He said the investigation found the Red Sox front office was not aware of the scheme, and that the team immediately halted the practice after the Yankees made their complaint.

"I have received absolute assurances from the Red Sox that there will be no future violations of this type,” Manfred said.

"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," the commissioner said.

The Red Sox also accused the Yankees of using a YES network camera to steal signs, but Manfred said an investigation found insufficient evidence to back up that claim and New York will not be fined on that complaint.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media during his visit to Comerica Park on Aug. 22, 2017 in Detroit.Mark Cunningham / MLB Photos via Getty Images file

Manfred said investigators also learned that the Yankees, in a past championship series "had violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone," without elaborating on when the violation took place.

"No Club complained about the conduct in question at the time and, without prompting from another Club or my Office, the Yankees halted the conduct in question," Manfred said.

The league commissioner said “the substance of the communications that took place on the dugout phone was not a violation of any rule or regulation in and of itself,” but there was a violation because “the dugout phone technically cannot be used for such a communication."

The Yankees will be fined "a lesser undisclosed amount" which will also go towards hurricane relief efforts, Manfred said.