Apparently Diamondbacks coach Ariel Prieto didn’t read the baseball commissioner’s iGate memo too closely last month, when Rob Manfred outlined the rules against teams using electronic equipment during games and the possible consequences of violating those rules.
Major League Baseball opened an investigation into the possible presence of electronic equipment in the Diamondbacks’ dugout during Wednesday night’s National League wild-card game between Arizona and the Rockies at Chase Field in Phoenix; a screen grab from the TBS broadcast of the game showed Prieto wearing what appeared to be an Apple Watch in the dugout. The Diamondbacks not only confirmed Prieto’s transgression in a statement released on Prieto’s behalf Thursday, but stated that Prieto had made “an honest mistake.”
“Ariel Prieto has assured us that this was a simple oversight and honest mistake,” the Diamondbacks said. “The watch he wore last night was absolutely not used in any way related to our game and we will make certain prior to the NLDS that it will not be an issue again. Ariel takes full responsibility and feels terrible that this has been a distraction of any kind.”
The Diamondbacks won 11-8 to oust the Rockies from the playoffs.
Last month, Manfred disciplined the Red Sox with an undisclosed fine after the club admitted to wrongdoing, specifically team staff sending electronic communications from a video replay room to a trainer in the Sox dugout for the purpose of stealing signs. The Red Sox trainer was wearing an Apple Watch to receive the communications, which he then conveyed to Sox players.
“Major League Baseball Regulations do, however, prohibit the use of electronic equipment during games and state that no such equipment ‘may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage,’” Manfred said in a statement last month. “Despite this clear Regulation, the prevalence of technology, especially the technology used in the replay process, has made it increasingly difficult to monitor appropriate and inappropriate uses of electronic equipment. Based on the investigation by my office, I have nonetheless concluded that during the 2017 season the Boston Red Sox violated the Regulation quoted above by sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout.”
Major League Baseball and the Rockies did not return messages for comment.
Yankee general manager Brian Cashman had filed a complaint with the commissioner’s office that included video of the Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park during a series between the two teams in August, and an MLB probe resulted in both the Red Sox and Yankees receiving fines, which were donated to hurricane relief in Florida. The Yankees’ punishment was for a different violation of rules from a previous season and did not pertain to stealing signs.
Manfred’s statement last month also included a blunt message to all 30 major league teams: “All 30 clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks.”
It’s unclear if the Diamondbacks will face any discipline after releasing the statement Thursday.