By CHRISTINA QUACH
While spying on other teams is not a surprise in the sports world, doing so with an Fitbit is.
Last week, the Boston Red Sox have been under fire for stealing pitch cues from the New York Yankees using an Fitbit. While some of these tactics, such as predicting what pitch will be thrown by using hand signals, are allowed during games using technology is strictly prohibited. Despite the Red Sox breaking the rules, they were only charged with an undisclosed fine.
One of the main defenses of cheating that arises from many avid fans is that it is difficult to determine if the violation actually had an impact on the game itself, especially since the Yankees won two games out of three. Regardless, the Red Sox still violated the rules. People should not overlook this issue just because it seems as if it had no significance to the game. Cheating is still cheating no matter how miniscule the results.
Oftentimes, many teams manage to evade strict punishments due to lack of proof of cheating. However, in the case of the Red Sox, the Yankees released footage of a Red Sox staff member looking at his Fitbit during the game and relaying the signals he discovered to warn the team what pitch may be served next. Since the Yankees provided adequate evidence, the Red Sox should receive stricter punishments.
Moreover, because of the loose consequences cheating has along with the players’ competitiveness, the Red Sox only encourages others to cheat as well. If stricter regulations were to be implemented, more teams would be discouraged from breaking the rules.
For instance, back in 1989, Pete Rose, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) leader in all-time hits, was banned from league for life because he gambled on games. Now, he is not allowed to manage teams nor be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose learned his lesson through the harsh punishments he received, setting an example for other teams. This event also helped decrease the cases of gambling in the sports world.
In conclusion, the Red Sox raised many questions regarding cheating and how to prevent it. No one can deny that cheating is a major force in the sports world. Yet, every time players are caught cheating, they are usually let off with a mere slap on the wrist. Due to the lack of punishments inflicted, it is only time until we see similar cases happening. The MLB should be stricter when enforcing rules in order to minimize the amount of cheating within the baseball community. Until then, cheating will continue to persist in professional baseball.