I won’t lie, this one stings.

For those of you keeping score, the 2017 Boston Red Sox have once again found themselves in the middle of a scandal that has made them about as likable as an STD.

The parade of paranoid and prissy behaviors began on a plane in May when the $30 million man who hasn’t pitched since July, David Price (and his dog, Astro), accosted Hall-of-Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley for having the audacity to give an honest take on a wretched rehab performance in Pawtucket from Eduardo Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, Price’s toadies—-namely Napoleon Pedroia—-guffed and cheered him on. But Pedroia and Price were both injured (Price is still on the DL where he has been there since the plane story broke) throughout the hot month of August where the Red Sox went 18-9 and built 4.5 game lead in the AL East going into September. Rookie Rafael Devers and journeyman Eduardo Nunez had galvanized the clubhouse with grit and hot bats, and the asshole episode on the plane was almost forgotten.

Now we have this.

In case you’ve been living in a cave that doesn’t have Wifi, The New York Times broke a story that The Yankees caught the Red Sox stealing signs using an Apple watch during an August series at Fenway. The Red Sox admitted to using the technology to steal signs. In other words, they cheated. According to reports, Dustin Pedroia was again close to the fire, as well as utility player Brock Holt.   

The Red Sox then accused the Yankees of using the YES Network televisions in Yankee Stadium to cheat, which was a little like listening to my daughter tattle on my son for kicking her, and having my son fire back with “But she kicked me first!”

Admittedly, stealing signs is as old as baseball. It’s woven into the fabric of game. However, it is not permitted to use technology to steal signs, and this is explicitly stated in the rules. The Red Sox have no excuse, and the fact that manager John Farrell—-who should be fired for myriad reasons aside from this—-claims to have no idea that this was going on means he is either 1.) Clueless or 2.) Disingenuous. Neither look is a good look for the Sox skipper.

Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News illustration.

This entire season has echoes of the 2011 team, The Beer and Fried Chicken Boys who blew a nine game Wild Card lead rolling into September. However, given a choice of optic, I’d take the guys drinking Bud Lights and eating Popeye’s in the clubhouse over a group of cheaters any day.

New York fans are now having a field day in the press and social media feasting on the cheaters in New England. First, we had Spygate. Then Deflategate. Now this, which some in the media are calling Applegate. Sadly, despite the success New England sports has enjoyed in the past 17 years, our bragging now carries an asterisk.     

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Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His most recent books include Hangover Breakfasts, a collection of short prose pieces (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), a novella titled Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and his new and selected poems titled My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). A new collection of short fiction titled Almost Christmas will be released in 2017. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com

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