On September 15, 2017, MLB announced the Red Sox would be fined an undisclosed amount for utilizing Apple Watches in their dugout to swipe signals from the Yankees; the Yankees paid a smaller undisclosed amount for improper usage of a dugout phone. That day, in a statement, commissioner Rob Manfred disclosed that all teams had been notified of the following: “Future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks.”
On Tuesday, The Athletic, quoting 2017 Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, reported that the club utilized a camera positioned in center field and focused on the opposing catcher to steal signals, conveying their findings through the banging of a garbage can in a tunnel connecting the Astros’ dugout to their clubhouse. Retired pitcher Danny Farquhar shared his recollection of a suspicious incident at Minute Maid that occurred that season while he was pitching for the White Sox. Twitter baseball detective @Jomboy_ subsequently dug up video that substantiated Farquhar’s allegations during an at-bat against Houston’s Evan Gattis.
That White Sox-Astros game took place on September 21, 2017, six days after MLB made its announcement, therefore seemingly putting the Astros in violation of the reinforced and heightened guidelines.
Manfred is expected to discuss baseball’s investigation of the Astros, which also will cover the organization’s conduct during the Brandon Taubman scandal last month, at next week’s owners’ meetings.
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