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Boston’s reputation in sports takes another hit

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the allegations against the Red Sox before Tuesday night’s game.jim davis/globe staff

Where do we start on this one?

The New York Times says that the first-place Red Sox are cheaters. The Times says that the Sox admitted it. Evidently, the Sox got dimed out by the Yankees (Brian Cashman is the new Fredo) and they totally fessed up when caught.

So where do we go with this now? What do we tell our out-of-town friends? Every time we start talking about all those duck boat parades, they’ll have an answer.

You were cheating.

The Patriots got slapped with Spygate. Then Deflategate. Now this. The Red Sox have Applegate (WEEI’s Dale Arnold had that first, I believe).



According to the Times, members of the Sox training staff, standing in the dugout during games against the Yankees, were caught on tape looking at their Apple watches, getting intel from Sox video replay personnel backstage. There allegedly is video showing Sox assistant trainer Jon Jochim (is he McNally or Jastremski?) looking at his watch, then passing information to Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia then whispers to Chris Young.

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Unlike the Patriots (who would surely tell you that the radar gun is broken if they got busted for speeding), the Red Sox chose to admit almost everything, according to the Times.

Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Dave Dombrowski would not go quite that far Tuesday.

“I think sign stealing has been going on in baseball for a long time,’’ said a jovial Dombrowski. “Do I think sign stealing is wrong? No. People are trying to win however they can. I’ve never felt that it was wrong.’’

Swell. That’s the old “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ ” philosophy. But we all know that using modern technology to cheat is a little different from having your runner on second try to tell the batter what’s coming.


The Sox responded by filing a counter cheating charge against the Yankees.


“You’re fat and ugly!”

“No, you’re fat and ugly!’’

Strong retort there, Sox.

Both Dombrowski and Farrell claimed they had been unaware of the scheme. That explanation works for Dombrowski, but it could be crushing for Farrell. If the Sox did in fact admit they were doing it, Farrell looks worse when he says he knew nothing about it. The alleged activity was going on just a few feet away from him in the dugout.

The Times reported that the system had been in place for several weeks. Farrell presents as clueless when he denies all knowledge of the alleged system.

Michael Schmidt — the same guy who broke the news in 2009 that David Ortiz tested positive for PEDs in 2003 — reported the story for the Times. At the end of his story, Schmidt wrote, “Some in baseball would like for Mr. Manfred to take away some of Boston’s victories . . .”

Ha. Good luck with that one. That penalty has never been levied by any baseball commissioner. We all know that everybody tries to steal signs. It is a practice that is as old as baseball. Getting caught only makes the Red Sox look careless and sloppy.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred just happened to be at Fenway Tuesday (a scheduled visit), and would not give up much. He said there was still investigative work to be done. He said he would not comment on any aspect of the investigation. He pointed out that there are no rules against sign stealing, but the use of electronic equipment is prohibited. Manfred said the Red Sox had been “100 percent fully cooperative.’’


The commish said he was concerned about the perception of the game and any potential change of outcome on the field as a result of the alleged cheating systems.

The Sox probably will lose some draft picks and pay a hefty fine, but they are not going to get docked any games for this. This is more about their reputation.

And Boston’s. This is going to be tough to live down. The Patriots get ratted out by the Jets and the Colts. And now the hated Yankees apparently caught the Red Sox red-handed.

Graphic: How the Red Sox may have stolen signs

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.