Boston Red Sox accused of stealing opponent's signs using the Apple Watch1
Back in 1951, the New York Giants made up a 13.5 game deficit in a matter of weeks to win the National League pennant (back then there were no playoffs or wild card games). But some accused the Giants of cheating. According to one rumor, the team hid a coach inside the manager's office in the clubhouse that in the Polo Grounds was located beyond centerfield. Using a telescope, the coach could see what pitch the opposing catcher was calling for, and an elaborate buzzer system was used to get the info to the Giant's bullpen, and from the bullpen to the hitter.
It appears that decades later, teams are still looking for that edge. However, as technology improves, so do the methods used to spy on opposing team in order to steal their signals. According to the New York Times, Major League Baseball is investigating a report claiming that the Boston Red Sox used an Apple Watch to disseminate information to players regarding signals stolen from opposing catchers. It basically is the same thing that the 1951 New York Giants were accused of doing, but with the advantage of having modern technology move the information around at a much faster pace.
Yankee GM Brian Cashman filed a detailed report with the commissioner's office that includes video tape. On one tape, a member of the Boston training staff was looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout. The trainer would send a message to other players on the bench, who would then signal the player at bat with the type of pitch that the pitcher was about to throw. As it turned out, the Red Sox admitted to the commissioner's office that members of its training staff had received signals from video replay personnel, which was then sent to Red Sox players during the game.
The Red Sox went on the offensive, accusing the Yankees of doing its own illegal sign stealing by exclusively using a specific television network camera to steal catcher's signals. While no team has ever been punished for spying on catcher's hand signals, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seems intent on conducting a through investigation, although it isn't clear what kind of punishments he can dole out. With the Red Sox just 3.5 games ahead of the Yankees as we head into the last three weeks of the regular season, gaining the edge in almost every game is very important to both squads
Knowing what type of pitch is coming in advance is a big advantage for the hitter. Timing is extremely important and knowing if the next pitch coming is a fastball, a breaking ball or a change up allows the hitter to know how to time his swing.