The infamous ‘Yankee Letter’ is finally published in response to allegations of theft of signs in 2017

After years of legal wrangling, the infamous Yankee letter from Rob Manfred to Brian Cashman has now been published with multiple revisions. Most of the body of the letter was published by SNY on Tuesdayafter the yankee lost the judgment trying to keep it sealed. It was supposed to be released later this week.

Much of the information in the letter has been widely publicized since Manfred wrote it in 2017: In 2015 and 2016, the Yankees illegally used a phone to relay sign information from the playback room to the dugout. used to discuss difficult calls.)

In a long statementThe Yankees have gone to great lengths to say that they have never been punished for anything other than a phone violation, and that right to steal signs only really started in September 2017.

“As the facts from the letters again show, the Yankees were punished not for stealing signs, but for improper use of the phone,” the team said. “At the time, sign stealing was used by many teams as a competitive tool… and only became illegal after the commissioner specifically defined the rules on September 15, 2017.”

MLB has said so much. “At the time, the Yankees were not violating MLB’s rules governing sign theft,” the league said in a statement. “At that time, the use of the playroom to decode characters was not expressly prohibited until the information was transmitted electronically in the dugout… MLB clarified the rules for the use of electronic equipment on September 15, 2017.”

Both statements fail to mention what happened after September 15, 2017: The Astros continued to cheat and won the World Series.

Daily Fantasy bettors sued after the Astros scandal, claiming they were cheated out of their winnings. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2020, but the battle over the letter continued for two more years.

Was it worth the lengthy legal battle the Yankees put up to keep it closed? You judge for yourself:

In 2015 and 2016, the Yankees illegally used the phone to pass catcher signs to runners at second base. It sounds bad, and the Yankees have spent years paying expensive lawyers to argue that publishing the letter would cause “significant and irreparable damage to the team’s reputation” to be published. Cashman, for his part, has harbored a strong grudge against the Astros for years. His complaints that the Yankees would have won the World Series were it not for Houston’s fraud, this would clearly imply that he believes that the Yankees, unlike the Astros, were not involved in an illegal sign-stealing scheme.

So the letter is just another reminder of what has been known all along: The Yankees have been running scams in the gray area, but not as brazen (done after 2017) or creative (trash can banging) as what the Astros were up to. to.

With so much already known about Yankee’s playback room shenanigans, it’s hard to see how a letter containing very little new information is doing “irreparable harm” to Yankee. Indeed, SNY reported on Tuesday that “some baseball team employees” believe the irreparable harm argument “exaggerates their actual actions.” In any case, this argument didn’t make it through the courts, perhaps because it did prove that releasing it would be a violation of one of baseball’s unwritten rules: everyone must act as if the Astros weren’t just the biggest, baddest swindlers. , but the only ones.

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