Baseball is called a pastime for a reason. MLB has not been a huge adopter of technology, even though it’s the most data driven sport. One team, however, has found a clear use for the Apple Watch as form of spying device on another team’s strategy for in-game situations.
The Boston Red Sox have admitted to having one of its trainers use an Apple Watch to interpret hand signals from their opponent – in this case their hated rival the New York Yankees – and then relay that information to players in the dugout.
Now stealing signs in baseball is not illegal, but using any kind of electronics to gain or interpret those hand signals is. And, league commissioner Rob Manfred has launched an investigation into this ordeal. According to a New York Times article, the Red Sox have already admitted to the scheme. The Times wrote that a member of the Red Sox training staff was looking at his Apple Watch during a three-game series between the Yankees and communicating the information gathered on catcher’s signals to the pitcher to players in the dugout. From there those players would using hand signals to inform the player at the plate what the next pitch would be.
Based on the results of the three-game series the Apple Watch did not really help that much. Boston won only one game of the series and scored a measly seven runs in three games, while the Yankees scored 15 times.
The Apple Watch was initially released in September of 2014.
Current models are in the Series 2 line from Apple and include Nike+ software and a built-in GPS tracker that can measure pace, distance and route. The latest Apple Watch has a brighter display than older units and can handle sun glare, which is perfect for day games. It’s also water-resistant to 50 metres.
It is common to see first base coaches on most MLB teams sporting an Apple Watch along with a stop watch to time the pitchers delivery to the plate. The theory with the stop watch is if the pitcher is slow to the plate then a fast runner on first has a better shot at stealing second base.