The NeverEnding Story IV: The Boston Red Sox Investigation

What do the dates 12 November 2019 and 7 January 2020 have in common?

It was 12 November that the Athletic broke the story about the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, a few days after which Major League Baseball announced a full investigation was taking place into the claims made in the article.  And it was 7 January when Major League Baseball announced they were also investigating the Boston Red Sox for alleged sign stealing.

On 13 January 2020, the findings of the MLB investigation into the Astros was released, over a month before the Astros’ spring training campaign began.  I’m not going chew over the findings, the punishments – Lord knows enough words have already been written about that.

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I would however like to point out that the Astros had over a month before their spring training schedule began to assess the damage the punishments had inflicted and take steps to put things in place to steady the ship and set themselves up for spring training and the rest of the season after that.

As I write this we’re 13 days away from Opening Day and we’re still awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the Boston Red Sox.

Remember this was an investigation that Commissioner Rob Manfred stressed he wanted to conclude prior to the start of spring training.

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Still we wait.

We have been waiting now for 65 days.  The Astros investigation was concluded in 62 days.

I have no view on whether or not the Sox are guilty of the allegations levelled at them, I’m awaiting the findings of the investigation to see.  It certainly doesn’t seem that the players are too concerned. Whether this is because they know there was no wrongdoing or because they’ve seen from the Astros fallout that any consequences are likely to be confined to the front office and backroom staff, we shall see.

What I do know is that (COVID-19 willing) we’re 13 days (at time of writing) out from Opening Day [Editor’s note: wow, a lot changed in 72 hours] and the Red Sox still don’t know whether they’re going to suffer suspensions, fines, loss of draft picks, having John Henry tied to a lamp-post in the Bronx to be tarred and feathered by Yankees fans… or be exonerated.  Despite all the best efforts of the front office, acting pre-emptively in parting ways with Alex Cora for example, you cannot properly plan for the future of an organisation with that hanging over you like a St Louisville Slugger shaped sword of Damocles.

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So come on Rob Manfred, pull your finger out! Conclude the investigation one way or another! The entire offseason has been dominated by talk of sign stealing. We’re 13 days away {Editor’s note: 13 weeks?] from when all the talk should be about the game we know and love returning in all its idiosyncratic glory, yet we’re still looking over our shoulders expecting to see the fallout from another investigation cresting the hill behind us. This delay is not fair on the Red Sox organisation and, more importantly, it’s not good for baseball as a whole.

Rich Hampson is covering the Boston Red Sox during 2020 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @armchairbaseba1

Make sure you subscribe to the Bat Flips and Nerds podcasts and follow us on Twitter @BatFlips_Nerds. News, views and interviews, all with a British twist.

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