After a prolonged legal battle, a letter from the MLB to the New York Yankees will be released to the public, giving baseball fans a chance to see a first-hand account of the league’s 2017 investigation into potential sign-stealing in the Bronx.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly wrote the letter to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman after an investigation into the Yankees’ had been accused of stealing signs from opposing teams — potentially allowing New York batters to anticipate coming pitches.
The letter, according to an ESPN report, contains proof of the team’s illicit activities in the mid 2010s.
A multi-year legal battle had previously shielded the letter from public view, but the plaintiffs behind a lawsuit involving sign-stealing’s effect on legal baseball gamblings have successfully petitioned the court to make the letter available to the baseball-viewing public.
The Yankees, meanwhile, had argued that the release of the letter would be a violation of their privacy rights, and would unduly harm their reputation and brand.
When the letter becomes public, which will likely happen in the coming weeks, fans will learn whether Manfred had possession of proof of the Bronx Bombers’ alleged sign-stealing in 2017, despite his denials that he had access to that information.
Sign stealing has become a major issue in the major leagues, after the Houston Astros were found to be engaging in the banned practice, including during their 2017 World Series victory. That scandal resulted in the yearlong suspension of Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, along with field manager A. J. Hinch in 2020.
The Boston Red Sox also became enthralled in controversy, when the MLB fined the organization for using an Apple Watch to alert batters to the signs between opposing pitchers and catchers.
Now, fans will get information about the potential accusations of the Yankees engaging in potential controversy, as the court ruled that the Yankees’ arguments against a potential release of the document “carries little weight.”
“Disclosure of the document will allow the public to independently assess MLB’s conclusion regarding the internal investigation (as articulated to the Yankees) and the Yankees are fully capable of disseminating their own views regarding the actual content of the Yankees letter,” the ruling said.