Judge Orders Unsealing of 2017 MLB Letter to Yankees Regarding Alleged Yankees Sign Stealing

Ed Hillel

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Oh dear...

The illegal sign-stealing drama that rocked MLB before the pandemic may not be over — and this time it involves the Yankees.

A letter from commissioner Rob Manfred to the Yankees detailing the findings of a 2017 investigation into the ball club’s alleged sign-stealing program should be unsealed, a judge ruled Friday, according to The Athletic.

The Yankees and MLB reportedly have until noon on Monday to submit a “minimally redacted version of the letter,” though the Yankees argued it would cause “significant reputational injury,” U.S. District Court judge Jed Rakoff wrote in an order.
 

E5 Yaz

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But but but ... there was nothing wrong with the "significant reputational injury" to other teams
 

jon abbey

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Also as I understand it, if the letter is released, then Manfred's 2017 letter to the Red Sox about the Apple watch situation would presumably be the next target.
 

staz

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But the Yankees want the letter to remain secret because it would cause “significant” damage the team’s reputation, U.S. District Court judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in a memorandum order filed Friday in the Southern District of New York. The judge defused that part of the Bombers’ argument. “Embarrassment on the part of MLB or the Yankees about the precise contents of the letter is not particularly weighty,” Rakoff wrote.

The Yankees asked to delay the unsealing of the letter until next Friday so the team could file an emergency appeal to the Second Circuit Court.
So judge says no big deal, but Yankees are claiming "significant damage," and are requesting a delay to permit an emergency appeal. Doesn't add up.

All rise!
 

JCizzle

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The Yankees WOULD NEVER! How dare anyone even suggest such a thing! I eagerly await CC and others to denounce these cheaters.
 

E5 Yaz

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So judge says no big deal, but Yankees are claiming "significant damage," and are requesting a delay to permit an emergency appeal. Doesn't add up.
All baseball teams are equal, but some baseball teams are more equal than others
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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So judge says no big deal, but Yankees are claiming "significant damage," and are requesting a delay to permit an emergency appeal. Doesn't add up.

All rise!
lol boo hoo

And when an umpire, in this case the District Court, makes a call they don't like even on a routine play, they demand an immediate appeal.
 

EvilEmpire

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I'm glad they're unsealing it. I'd like to know either way if it was something significant or no big deal. Same with all these cheating scandals.
 

E5 Yaz

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I'm glad they're unsealing it. I'd like to know either way if it was something significant or no big deal. Same with all these cheating scandals.
And this is the point. Bring it all out into the open, about all teams that have been found to have broken the rules. That lessens the stigma around 2-3 teams that we know about and adds context.

It's the "significant reputational injury" part of the NYY claim that is what's really ridicule-worthy.
 

Joe D Reid

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It's the "significant reputational injury" part of the NYY claim that is what's really ridicule-worthy.
That smacks of outside counsel doing everything they can to win the lawsuit without taking into account the P.R. issues associated with making the argument in the first place. C.f. U.S. Soccer in the discrimination lawsuit against the USWNT. It's a fun subset of the Streisand effect.
 

StuckOnYouk

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Remember you had Peter Gammons saying Chris Young brought the apple watch idea - or at least a part of it - to the Red Sox. Wonder if any of that would be included in this.

I know he backtracked but to me it was like - Oh, I let something off the record go on the record and now I look like a fool.

But who knows.

Odd the Yankees are fighting so hard though. Not a good look either way. And they did have tentacles that reached out to these other teams that were caught. Chris Young to Boston. Beltran and McCann to Houston.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Are we supposed to believe Beltran was a central figure in the sign stealing scheme in Houston and then suddenly became a good boy with the Yankees.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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The reputational damage could be something as asinine as it making them out to be anything less than the perfect baseball organization so their untouchable brand may not sell as well.
 

Earthbound64

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And this is the point. Bring it all out into the open, about all teams that have been found to have broken the rules. That lessens the stigma around 2-3 teams that we know about and adds context.

It's the "significant reputational injury" part of the NYY claim that is what's really ridicule-worthy.
Agreed. As most of us said when the Red Sox were being unveiled, it's likely most (if not all) teams are doing this to one extent or another - so get it all out into the open.
 

Marciano490

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That smacks of outside counsel doing everything they can to win the lawsuit without taking into account the P.R. issues associated with making the argument in the first place. C.f. U.S. Soccer in the discrimination lawsuit against the USWNT. It's a fun subset of the Streisand effect.
I wondered if that’s something from case law they have to cite to that sounds ridiculous outside a brief.

Nice to see Rakoff getting himself some attention again. Glad he won’t wilt away.
 

Rough Carrigan

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I'm glad they're unsealing it. I'd like to know either way if it was something significant or no big deal. Same with all these cheating scandals.
I hope it casually says something to the effect that, look we know everyone else is doing this, too, . Because it's hard to believe that every team isn't doing the low level stuff, not the Astros trash can banging or buzzer under the shirt crap, the using the tv in the dugout or clubhouse stuff. Will Middlebrooks said they all were. Let's quit pretending that only the Astros, Red Sox or Yankees would be interested in getting an edge.
 

nvalvo

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Are we supposed to believe Beltran was a central figure in the sign stealing scheme in Houston and then suddenly became a good boy with the Yankees.
Check the timeline again.

To be clear, I think all thirty teams have pushed the boundaries on this stuff to some extent. I'd judge, based on reactions from players such as Logan Morrison, that many — half? — of the teams have done something comparable to what Boston was accused of (in-game scouting using replay equipment) but that very few have done anything comparable to Houston's scheme (communication to the batter from the dugout).

edit: or... exactly what Rough Carrigan said.
 

DaubachmanTurnerOD

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A New York sportswriter with an upcoming book to sell?
Clearly a good person to rely on.
Wouldn’t he want to sensationalize it then? Instead, he’s saying there’s nothing to see here.

To be clear, I hope it’s hilarious and humiliating, but I’m not hopeful.
 

jon abbey

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Here's Martino's piece published this afternoon, and again this is a story he has been on top of for quite some time.

"A letter sent by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to the Yankees in 2017 does not allege that the Yankees participated in sign stealing, because the league concluded that the team did not steal signs, sources with direct knowledge of the investigation told SNY."

 

jon abbey

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It's also worth noting this part as I guessed above, if the letter to NY comes out, presumably the ones to BOS and HOU will also:

"The Yankees contend that because their employees took part in a confidential process during MLB's investigation, the letter should remain confidential. The proceedings were not public, the team contends, and should not become public three years after the fact. Letters from the commissioner to the Astros and Red Sox have not been made public."
 

BigSoxFan

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It's also worth noting this part as I guessed above, if the letter to NY comes out, presumably the ones to BOS and HOU will also:

"The Yankees contend that because their employees took part in a confidential process during MLB's investigation, the letter should remain confidential. The proceedings were not public, the team contends, and should not become public three years after the fact. Letters from the commissioner to the Astros and Red Sox have not been made public."
Good. I hope it all comes out. Astros and Red Sox have already taken the PR. Yankees have not so they clearly have more to lose here. Obviously, none of this will rise to the level of what the Astros did so Correa and Bergman’s attempts to spike the football are laughable.
 

JimD

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Martino's January article includes the following:
No one is denying that some Yankees used their video room in 2015-17 to decode signs, as The Athletic reported. But there is a significant difference between that and doing the same in 2018, when MLB clarified its rules.
I wonder how much of this story Martino will cover in his book, or will it be treated as less of an offense because the Yankees were smart enough to have stopped when MLB issued its warnings in 2017?
 

jon abbey

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I wonder how much of this story Martino will cover in his book, or will it be treated as less of an offense because the Yankees were smart enough to have stopped when MLB issued its warnings in 2017?
The description above says he's covering 2014-2019, and I'm pretty sure he has to cover whatever Beltran did on the Yankees before he went to HOU.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Perhaps the serious reputational damage would be to Rob Manfred if he went soft on the punishment or ran a half-baked investigation. The Yankees could be killing two birds with one stone by trying to do a solid for their buddy who let them off easy and keeping their dirty laundry out of the public realm. (A bit tin-foily, sure).
 

Joe D Reid

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I question the tactical value of pushing a possible release date into the actual season. This feels like an appeal you lose either way: if you lose, the document comes out, if you win, you've established the document is bad.