June 13, 2020

Judge Rules MLB Letter To Yankees Re Sign-Stealing Investigation Must Be Released

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to the New York Yankees regarding the findings of a 2017 investigation into sign-stealing by the Yankees must be released, according to a New York judge.

The ruling states that a minimally-redacted version of the letter ("to protect the identity of the individuals mentioned") must be released by noon ET on Monday, June 15.

The Yankees argue the letter would cause "significant reputational injury", if released, but also claim: "We're not doing this to cover up some smoking gun."

The ruling comes as part of a lawsuit brought against MLB by daily fantasy sports contestants in the wake of other sign-stealing scandals. The letter concerns activities by the Yankees in 2015 and 2016.

Judge Jed Rakoff ruled:
Plaintiffs alleged that the 2017 Press Release falsely suggested that the investigation found that the Yankees had only engaged in a minor technical infraction, whereas, according to plaintiffs, the investigation had in fact found that the Yankees engaged in a more serious, sign-stealing scheme. ... [Plaintiffs argue the letter] proved Manfred's duplicity. ...

MLB primarily argues that it will be injured by the disclosure of the Yankees Letter because such disclosure will undermine its ability to conduct internal investigations in the future by undermining teams' faith in their confidentiality. The Yankees argue that they have a strong privacy interest because public disclosure of the Yankees Letter would cause the Yankees significant reputational injury. While this may be the case, the gravity of this concern is again lessened by the fact that the contents of the Yankees Letter have already been discussed in some form by the 2017 Press Release.
Evan Drellich, The Athletic:
[T]he league's 2017 press release about the Yankees' conduct lacked specificity.

The league determined in 2017 that the Red Sox had illegally transmitted signs via a wearable device, in what became known as the Apple Watch scandal. But in the press release announcing the findings of the investigation into both the Red Sox and Yankees, Manfred did not detail exactly what the Yankees did, noting only that it included the use of the dugout phone. ...

The Athletic has previously reported that in 2017 MLB determined that the Yankees had engaged in conduct related to sign stealing similar to the Red Sox'.
In his ruling, Rakoff called the privacy interests of both the Yankees and MLB "modest at best, and not nearly strong enough to overcome the robust presumption of access that attaches to the Yankees Letter".


the bus driver said...

The MFY along with MLB appealed

allan said...

There is nothing appealing about the MFY.

the bus driver said...

When you take look at Brett Gardner's face indeed, there's nothing appealing about the MFY

Jere said...

"When you take look at Brett Gardner's face"

All I see is head.