MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sent the following letter to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Sept. 14, 2017. Read it in full below or read the PDF here. For more coverage of the release of this letter, read The Athletic’s Evan Drellich.
On August 23, 2017, the New York Yankees filed a formal complaint and requested that the Office of the Commissioner “conduct a full and complete investigation concerning the illegal use off electronic equipment, in game, by the Boston Red Sox in order to steal signs and gain an illegal advantage in the game.” As a result of the Yankees’ complaint, I directed the Department of Investigations to interview a number of employees of the Red Sox and the Yankees in connection to this matter. Based on the information we received, I have concluded that the Red Sox violated On-Field Regulation 1-2.A by using electronic equipment “for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage.” I will address this violation of the On-Field Regulations directly with the Red Sox.
During our investigation into the Red Sox’s misconduct, [redacted] informed the Department of Investigations that the Yankees used a similar scheme to that of the Red Sox to decode opposing Clubs’ signs and relay them to the batter when the runner was on second base. [Redacted] — who initially noticed that the Red Sox were using a smartwatch to pass information to their players — admitted to the Department of Investigations that during the 2015 season and the first half of the 2016 season, [redacted] provided information about opposing Club’s signs to players and members of the coaching staff in the replay room in Yankee Stadium, who then physically relayed the information to the Yankees’ dugout. [Redacted] also admitted that during that same time period, in certain stadiums on the road where the video room was not proximate to the dugout [redacted] used the phone line in the replay room to orally provide real-time information about opposing Club’s signs to Yankee coaches on the bench.
Section VI(C)(2)(c) of the Replay Review Regulations (2-14) provides as follows:
The dugout phone will be connected to the video review location. If the dugout phone does not work at any point during the game, upon notifying the home plate Umpire, the Manager shall be permitted to communicate with his Club’s video review location via walkie-talkie. On-field personnel in the dugout may not discuss any issue with individuals in their video review room using the dugout phone other than whether to challenge a play subject to video Replay Review.
The Yankees’ use of the dugout phone to relay information about an opposing Club’s signs during the 2015 season, and part of the 2016 season, constitutes a material violation of the Replay Review Regulations. By using the phone in the video review room to instantaneously transmit the information regarding signs to the dugout in violation of the Regulations, the Yankees were able to provide real-time information to their players regarding opposing Club’s sign sequence — the same objective of the Red Sox’s scheme that was the subject of the Yankees’ complaint1.
1As you know, on September 5, 2017, the Red Sox submitted a separate formal complaint and request that my office investigate the Yankees, alleging that the Yankees have employed “techniques of sign stealing and relaying, as well as other questionable methods of gathering information on opposing teams’ strategies,” which have included “using YES Network …….