David Ortiz Says Red Sox Punishment was 'Not Fair'

John Healy
April 26, 2020 - 3:51 pm

David Ortiz thinks the Red Sox got a raw deal.

The retired Boston slugger defended his former team after Major League Baseball released its conclusion to the 2018 Red Sox sign-stealing investigation, calling the punishment the team received “not fair.”

“They were searching, trying to find out if anything that happened at Houston happened in Boston, and, basically, it wasn’t even close to a similar situation,” he said in an interview on Fox Sports, which also included former Yankees great Alex Rodriguez. “What happened in Boston is what everybody is doing in the league right now, and I think the punishment was not fair.”

MLB released its punishment for the Red Sox on Wednesday, which found that a team employee used the video room to decode signs during the 2018 season.

Stealing signs through technological means is prohibited, and MLB stripped the Red Sox of their second-round draft pick and suspended video operator J.T. Watkins, the employee who oversaw the team’s video replay review feed and was responsible for decoding the signs.

Alex Cora and his coaching staff were absolved, but Cora remains suspended for a season due to his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, which was much more elaborate than what occurred in Boston.

Ortiz, who retired in 2016 — before commissioner Rob Manfred began to take a hardline stance on technological sign stealing — maintained that what the Red Sox was nothing different than what the rest of the league is doing.

“You’re going to blame a video guy, suspend him for two years, just because he’s watching what signals the catchers are giving, tell the players, so the players can use it on the field? That’s what everybody is doing,” Ortiz said. “I don’t call that cheating. I think it was more of an excuse than anything else.”

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