HN Gopher Feed (2017-09-05) - page 1 of 10
Boston Red Sox Used Apple Watches to Steal Signs Against Yankees
73 points by coloneltcbhttps://nytimes.com/2017/09/05/sports/baseball/boston-red-sox-st...
canistr - 47 minutes ago
Good time to remind people about the previously false accusations
from the Yankees on the Blue Jays sign stealing using a "Man in
White" sitting the outfield with binoculars.The interesting part
here is that the Yankees alleged the "Man in White" was positioned
right above the pitcher's head in the outfield seats so that the
batter did not have to move his head in order to see the signal.I
can't imagine the logistics and speed required to relay a signal
from the outfield -> dugout -> batter in a reasonable amount of
time to be able to
golfer - 30 minutes ago
The Red Sox have admitted to the wrongdoing. This is not crying
wolf. They are guilty.
carfacts - 45 minutes ago
How did they ensure the sign interpretation was correct? Seems like
the information/disinformation problem in espionage.
supercanuck - 41 minutes ago
Keep in mind, for those doubting the efficacy, its not necessary to
know what exact pitch is coming (Fastball, curve, slider, change
up,etc).Just knowing whether it is a fastball or an off speed is
enough, at which point, it simply becomes a matter of transmitting
a binary signal.Transmitting the sign, could be as easy as sending
a 1 or 2, then the dugout simply yelling, "Let's go so-so" for
offspeed, or "C'mon #12" for fastball.Most major league pitchers
not named, Kershaw, Felix, Max, etc, only have 2 ++ pitches,
dmix - 21 minutes ago
So what is being 'stolen' is something that largely comes down to
a 50% probability in most situations?Is there a history of
'stealing signs' in baseball? ...Since it could be communicated
almost as effectively offline as by a smartwatch.Also, how
accurate can the team read the other team's signs from the
dugout? Is it a high probability the information between sent to
the players is accurate?
hitgeek - 2 hours ago
i'd be surprised if this scheme was actually successful.its very
difficult to relay signs from the dugout to the batter in the few
seconds between when the sign is given and when the pitch is
thrown.base runners on second base have always been able to see the
signs between pitcher and catcher and relay the information to the
batter. To counter this catchers use a complex combination of signs
that change inning to inning, sometimes batter to batter.
spike021 - 1 hours ago
Not sure. Batters already look back to the dugout sometimes in
order to know if they want a bunt, squeeze play, hit and run,
etc. That doesn't take more than 3-5 seconds. If they already
coordinate some kind of sign between the trainer (in question)
and a player, then it shouldn't take any more time.
fcbrooklyn - 37 minutes ago
The catcher throws the sign after the batter has taken his
stance. No more looking at the dugout.
bluGill - 17 minutes ago
3 seconds is more than enough time for the pitcher to realize
the batter isn't paying attention and throw a strike. Batters
will look of course, but they step out of the batters box (or
otherwise - I don't know all the rules) to indicate that a
pitch cannot be thrown now.Once the batter is ready to receive
a pitch the catcher can signal a new pitch.
sibartlett - 1 hours ago
I don?t think the camera room were relaying the signs, but rather
what the signs meant. So that when a base runner was at 2nd
they?d understand the signs they were seeing.
Touche - 23 minutes ago
It's always baffled me that the pitcher doesn't get to decide what
pitch to throw.
anderiv - 11 minutes ago
The pitcher does get to choose what to throw. The catcher signs,
then the pitcher either shakes his head "no" or winds up for the
pitch. If "no", the catcher chooses another pitch until they
fcbrooklyn - 23 minutes ago
A couple of things about sign stealing, from someone who is not an
expert, but has watched a great deal of baseball:1) The signs are
usually not complex, you can easily read them yourself when you see
them on TV. One finger might mean a fastball, two fingers some
kind of breaking ball, three fingers might be the pitcher's least
favorite pitch. Often, the sign is accompanied by a second sign
indicating where the catcher wants it. So one finger followed by a
hand lifting up-up, means he wants a high fastball. The players
will know what the signs mean after one batter at most.2) The only
time the batting team can actually see the signs is when there's a
runner on second. In this case, frequently, the catcher will go to
the mound and he and the pitcher will come up with some simple
obfuscation. Normally this looks like 3-4 signs indicated in quick
succession. I assume they've agreed that number 3 is the
meaningful one or something.3) The communication doesn't have to be
perfect. In a lot of cases, a batter is waiting for a specific
pitch. It would be enough to signal "Yeah, it's gonna be a
fastball outside".The article suggests that a specific camera crew
was the original source of the signs, but it's not clear how that
worked. It happened in Boston, so perhaps the camera was manned by
local people who turned out to be red sox fans. If such a person
was watching a continuous feed, and a specific redsox player asked
to be alerted when a high fastball was coming, the apple watch
would seem to be a practical solution.
harryh - 2 hours ago
It's hard to follow what the Red Sox were actually doing but it
sounds like the actual sign stealing was being done with cameras.
They were just using Apple Watches to receive messages (probably
just plain on SMS or iMessage?) in the dugout. If I've understood
correctly it sounds like the "electronic devices" part of the story
is kind of peripheral.
tucif - 2 hours ago
You probably misread, the camera was allegedly used by the
Yankees. That was the complaint filed in response by the Red Sox.
giarc - 2 hours ago
I think they both used camera's. For the Red Sox to get signs
without someone on second, they would need a camera. If they
only got them when a man was on second, they wouldn't need an
Apple watch (man on second can signal to batter themselves).
Waterluvian - 2 hours ago
I think it matters because electronic devices are explicitly
banned. Sign stealing itself is okay so long as you don't use
binoculars, electronic devices, etc.
harryh - 2 hours ago
I guess I don't understand the chain of events then. Do you
feel like you do?Catcher makes a sign -> ????? -> info is
relayed to the batter.What's happening in ???? exactly and
where does the Apple Watch come into play?
magikbum - 1 hours ago
Opposing player on Second base could see the sign from the
catcher and then sign his own back to dugout or player.Player
batting can see his own dugout or his own third base/first
base manager and easily receive a signal from them.As is now
all major broadcasts easily show the catcher's sign and it
can easily be decoded back to his pitches. Without the use of
cheating you could only really get the signs today by having
a player of your own on second base.
astura - 1 hours ago
In this specific case, it sounds like:Catcher makes a sign ->
someone watching video electrically relays sign to dugout (in
this case the athletic trainer who was receiving the info
using Apple watch) -> info is relayed to an injured player on
the bench (probably verbally) -> info is relayed to an
outfielder (I guess who is a runner?) -> outfielder/runner
relays information to batter with yet another set of signs.Oh
and all this was apparently going on without the knowledge of
the manager or front office.You don't need to use an Apple
Watch when a runner is on second- they can see the signs
directly from the catcher, that's why catchers put down
multiple signs with a runner on second. When there's no
baserunners or baserunners on first or third then the catcher
typically uses just the standard signs and only one. It
sounds to me like the sign stealing was going on when the
"standard" signs were being used, I agree the article is
confusing as to what is going on exactly. SMS doesn't sound
fast enough for this purpose either.[In baseball everyone is
giving everyone else signs the whole game, it's how everyone
communicates with each other to execute plays. Players need
to know what other players are going to do to be able to work
as a team. ]
saghm - 1 hours ago
> info is relayed to an outfielder using another set of
signs (say touch the nose if fastball, touch cap if
breaking ball, etc), outfielder relays information to
batter with yet another set of signs.Slight nitpick; the
players in the field at a given time aren't on the same
team as the batter, so the outfielders relaying signs to
the batter doesn't make sense. However, Holt and Young are
not starters for the Red Sox, so it's more like that one of
them formed the part of the chain in between the trainer
and the batter rather than an injured player and a fielder.
astura - 1 hours ago
Yeah, I realized that after I posted that it didn't make
sense so I edited it. I don't know why NY Times are
referring to people on the bench and/or baserunners as
"outfilders," it's ridiculously confusing to figure out
what's exactly going on the way they explained it. I
think the author must not be very familiar with baseball.
slg - 1 hours ago
I am not aware how frequently signs are changed, but it can't
be more than a few times a game. All the pitchers and
catchers need to be able to have the signals memorized
without confusing them. The general process appears to be
something like the below:1. The catcher use signs to
communicate to the pitcher (the coaching staff also uses
signs to relay various messages to players but this
accusation seems to be specifically about catcher signs)2.
Someone in the clubhouse is watching video of the game and
keeps track of the signs until they are able to be
deciphered.3. That person in the clubhouse shares the meaning
of the sings with someone in the dugout using an Apple
Watch.4. The person who received the meanings relays them to
the players.5. A player on 2nd base can now watch the sign as
it is relayed from the catcher to the pitcher and use their
own sign to relay the meaning to the batter.Step 5 can
continue to be repeated until the signs change. At that
point they would have to start back at step 1. Steps 2, 3,
and 4 are all against MLB rules.
passivepinetree - 2 hours ago
Right. The mention of the Apple Watch was a little disingenuous.
The sign-stealing could have just as easily been performed with
any number of smart watches or even just a cell phone.
seangrant - 2 hours ago
Not really disingenuous when the point was he was looking at
his "watch" and then calling plays. Looking at your phone every
time would be an obvious tell.
astura - 1 hours ago
Cell phones are banned in the dugout during a game in
wa...>While there is no official rule against electronic
devices, then-MLB operations chief Sandy Alderson effectively
laid down the law with a memo distributed in 2000:>Please be
reminded that the use of electronic equipment during a game is
restricted. No club shall use electronic equipment, including
walkie-talkies and cellular telephones, to communicate to or
with any on-field personnel, including those, in the dugout,
bullpen, field and-during the game-the clubhouse. Such
equipment may not be used for the purpose of stealing signs or
conveying information designed to give a club an advantage.
40acres - 2 hours ago
SMS or iMessage is probably too slow, trainers were probably
using physical cues (like if I touch my cap it's a slider) to
jdoliner - 2 hours ago
Maybe it was: if I touch my Apple watch it's a slider, if I
touch my Android watch it's a fast ball. The article seemed
fairly confident they were using the Apple watch for something.
giarc - 2 hours ago
No... from the article "The commissioner?s office then
confronted the Red Sox, who admitted that their trainers had
received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed
that information to some players ? an operation that had been
in place for at least several weeks."The video replay personnel
are sending messages, via Apple watch to the trainers.
40acres - 2 hours ago
Ah I see, I'm referring to the message transaction from
trainer to player.
rhinoceraptor - 1 hours ago
The most effective (and hard to spot) way IMO would be some
sort of custom app that would do different wrist tap patterns.
The players on the field wouldn't need to look at the watch at
sibartlett - 58 minutes ago
I don?t think the camera room were relaying the signs, but
rather what the signs meant. So that when a base runner was at
2nd they?d understand the signs they were seeing.
hammock - 2 hours ago
> the "electronic devices" part of the story is kind of
peripheral.It's actually critical. Sign stealing is not illegal,
although frowned upon. However, FTA:>Binoculars and electronic
devices are prohibited to communicate about signs.