Tuesday's letter from 2017 details an investigation into a sign-stealing attempt by the New York YankeesThis was revealed for the first time. Its contents are not as shocking as its revelations about the content of the Houston AstrosThe Yankees spent more time fighting the release in court than they did five years ago.
This letter came from where? What does this mean? What was the Yankees' actual performance? What are the chances of any more negative consequences? What can Yankees fans, haters and supporters alike, do to stop it?
We take it apart.
What is the information in the letter revealing about the Yankees sign-stealing activities? Are there names of players and coaches?
We knew everything we already knew, except for the previously unrevealed amount that the Yankees had. were fined by the league in 2017: $100,000 (in the letter the league stated that the money would be used to aid Hurricane Irma).
The leaked letter does not identify any players or coaches, but there are redactions at several points, including the admission that real-time data was relayed from the replay to the Yankees' dugout both physically and via phone. ESPN sources claim that Larry Rothschild was the former pitcher and improperly used his dugout phone to call replay room.
How does the Yankees compare to other teams involved in sign-stealing over several years, particularly with the Astros?
The Yankees are said to have used the original video feed for instant replay to try and decipher the pitch-signal sequences for opposing catchers. This information was then sent to baserunners, who may have had an opportunity to interpret signs to hitters. This is similar to how teams have stolen signs over the years, but with technology. According to multiple players and staff, using the replay room for this purpose was a common practice in baseball at that time. The letter was sent by Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner to Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. It did not mention that the team used the replay room in the same way as the Astros. This meant that pitch sign information was immediately transmitted to the hitter through trash-can banging.
Why took so long for the letter to be released? It was sealed because it was so important.
The 2017 letter was written privately and was not included in Manfred's public statements. It was filed under seal in Olson Vs. MLB. In this case, daily fantasy sport contestants claimed MLB fraudulently misled customers who would have placed bets in a different way if they knew that teams were cheating. Although MLB and the Yankees tried to stop the letter's publication, the court declared it public.
While the Yankees appealed, the fate of the letter was left in the courts. The Yankees expressed concern over the release of the letter, arguing that it could cause “significantly and irreparable reputational damage,” while the MLB attorneys claimed the letter could “cause potential embarrassment.”
What does this all mean for the Yankees and other MLB clubs going forward?
Nothing. This matter was dealt with by the Yankees in 2017. Manfred, who had been like a parent, constantly warning and threating his children about transgressions, finally took action and cracked down on sign-stealing.
What should fans take away?
The intrigue surrounding the Yankees' decision to keep the letter secret was more entertaining than the actual rule-breaking MLB provided in its investigation.