Problems with the Report
Where do I start? Basically, in order to believe that both the Astros and Red Sox reports are the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you have to suspend logic and reason, so help you God. Trying to reconcile the two reports can make one’s head spin.
First, let’s start with what’s at least believable. I can believe and accept that what the Red Sox did was lesser in scope than what the Astros did. The Astros were certainly more brazen about it, what with their banging on trash cans to relay signs to hitters.
But there’s no way to convince me that Watkins acted on his own accord without any of the Red Sox coaches knowing about it. Claiming the video guy was the mastermind and somehow kept it hidden from the coaches in the dugout reeks of a cover-up. It sounds like he’s being thrown under the bus.
There’s also no way to convince me that Cora didn’t know. Manfred’s report on the Astros was clear that Cora was one of the primary architects of the scheme. We’re supposed to believe that he took over the Red Sox and not only gave up his nefarious ways, but was totally ignorant of such actions going on in his own dugout? Sell that to someone else.
I also couldn’t help but notice that according to the report, many Red Sox players stated they were unaware that using in-game video to decode signs was against the rules. That’s like a driver getting pulled over for speeding and claiming he didn’t know what the speed limit was despite the presence of clear and conspicuous signs. Either he’s lying or he wasn’t paying attention.
In 2018, being ignorant of that rule is no excuse, especially when the Red Sox were disciplined for using an Apple Watch to transmit decoded signs in 2017. They’d already been busted for breaking the rules, making them a repeat offender. The league made it public that using technology to steal and relay signs during games was prohibited. You can’t claim ignorance when you break the rule the following year.
Interestingly, it was Watkins who was named as the primary culprit in the Apple Watch incident too, which should have given Red Sox management every reason to know that something could be going on. Yet somehow he was allowed to continue to work as the replay operator with no apparent supervision.
Apparently, according to the report, there was some type of disconnect in communication. The Red Sox front office evidently was very thorough in its communication to the coaches and video staff of what the rules are. But somehow the players were not adequately advised of the rules. Sounds like a failure on the part of the coaching staff to me.
This fact only further points to Cora’s involvement, and it raises an interesting question. If Luhnow can get suspended for a year in part because he failed to adequately inform the coaching staff of these rules, why doesn’t Cora get any punishment for failing to advise his players?
Speaking of punishment, Cora’s suspension only goes until the end of the 2020 postseason. Hinch and Luhnow were suspended for a full year, which wouldn’t end until January of 2021. So Cora, who was the supposed mastermind of the Astros sign stealing operation, actually gets a shorter suspension than Hinch, who was opposed to it.
Further, in justifying Luhnow’s suspension, Manfred noted that the GM’s job is “to be aware of the activities of his staff and players.” Yet no one in the Red Sox front office was disciplined despite their failure to monitor Watkins, who had already been responsible for a violation of this same rule. Try and justify that.