BOSTON — It was 4:30 p.m. when Red Sox manager John Farrell walked into his pregame meeting with reporters on Wednesday, a little later than usual because of the 19-inning game the night before.
“Good morning,” a reporter greeted him, prompting Farrell to look at his wrist to check the time.
“It’s not an Apple Watch,” he said.
If the Red Sox are concerned about a Major League Baseball investigation into using the high-tech timepieces to steal pitch signs from the New York Yankees, they aren’t showing it. A day after The New York Times reported that the Yankees had filed a complaint about the practice, the AL East leaders expressed little concern about possible punishment.
“It’s part of the game,” said Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, one of the players implicated in the sign-stealing scheme. “Our adjustment to that stuff is: go out to the mound and change the signs. … It’s been around a long, long time. We were doing that at Douglas Junior High School, where I played. So I don’t think this should be news to anybody.”
According to the paper, the Red Sox admitted to Major League Baseball that they used an Apple Watch to relay signals to Boston players. Sign-stealing has a long tradition in baseball and is not prohibited, but the use of technology to do it is against the rules.
Farrell has said he knew his players were trying to steal signs but was not aware they were using the watch to do it. Pedroia said he didn’t know where the line is drawn.
“I don’t really know what the rule book says on that,” he said. “I know we have iPads in the dugout. … Are we not supposed to have iPads in there? I don’t know.”
The Red Sox filed a counter-complaint that the Yankees used TV cameras to help them steal signs. Commissioner Rob Manfred, who was in Boston for a previously scheduled event, said he was not surprised that two of the sport’s oldest rivals were sniping at each other while competing for the AL East title.
“I do believe that this is a charged situation from a competitive perspective, when you have the kind of rivalry that the Yankees and the Red Sox have,” he said. “I guess it’s not shocking you could have charges and counter-charges like this.”
But Pedroia seemed irked that Yankees management had complained.
“I know the players, on both sides, I’m sure are probably … I don’t think it’s from them,” he said. “We already played them 19 times. What did they beat us, 11? They beat us. I’m not going to cry to anybody about it. It’s baseball.”
And if the Yankees were trying to gain a psychological edge, Pedroia said that won’t work, either.
“Playing in this environment, we’re going to have a thick skin and turn the page on whatever’s being said. A lot of it is just talk. That’s it. You just go play,” he said. “We have a 3 ½-game lead in our division. Other than that, nobody (cares). We’re trying to win baseball games.”
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