The Major League Baseball (MLB) tried its best to persuade the Judge to close the case lodged against them and other contestants of the fantasy. In fact, five persons filed a lawsuit against MLB, its Advanced Media, The Boston Red Sox in the court of federal in Manhattan, and the Houston Astros
These five plaintiffs leveled several allegations against them, including fraud, infraction of customer protection laws, deceptive trade practices, unjust enrichment, and negligence. These plaintiffs alleged that the teams broke the rules concerning electronics to seize catcher’s signs. The plaintiffs claimed that they were part of the fantasy baseball competitions. Therefore, they are affected owing to the violation of rules, especially concerning the sign-stealing during the game.
In defence of the allegations leveled, the MLB submitted papers containing a detailed reply and comments to the US District Judge Jed Rakoff. In the documents, the MLB categorically denied the allegations as baseless, stating therein that the stealing signs are parts of the baseball game. As a matter of fact, sign stealing is considered as the observations and cues communicated in different characters by the opposing catcher to the pitcher.
Supporting further their point of view commented that the rules violations are an incessant source of electronic media broadcasting sports, whether TV or Radio. Besides, the MLB added in its papers that the fans’ ability to understand the rules violation had been underlined in this suit already.
However, The Commissioner of MLB Rob Manfred pronounced judgment and held the Astros to be responsible for the infringement of sign-sealing rules during the home contests and found it involved repeating the same even in the World Series titles of 2017 and 2018. Consequently, he ordered the suspension of manager Al Bunch and Jeff Luhnow, the general manager, for one season, each holding them accountable on the basis of allegations and evidence thereof.
Moreover, both persons were sacked by the club. The Astros were not spared; instead, it was also penalized with a fine to the tune of $ 5 million and imposed a bar on the team for the next two draft picks. Moreover, Commissioner Rob Manfred is still probing the allegations leveled against the Red Sox.
Furthermore, the MLB also quoted an opinion of a Judge as a citation arguing that this judge had approved the discharge of a lawsuit of the same nature filed by the Jets season-ticket of New York against the National Football League (NFL), the Patriots, and the New England coach Bill Belichickin respect of the Scandal of Spygate. Cowen had opined with distinct observations that players usually attempt to infringe rules intentionally or unintentionally to take advantage during the game.
Thus, the MLB, in the light of this opinion, took a strong position that the plaintiffs duly obtained precisely their due for which they participated in the fantasy contests. In this respect, the MLB further argued that the player’s performance determined the game’s competition. It added that no single plaintiff sustained a loss in a fantasy baseball competition because of sign-sealing.
As far as Houston is concerned, it submitted papers alone with comments and prayed thereby to dismiss the lawsuit. In this regard, Houston cited Astros’s better performance in 2017 by substantiating Astros’ excellent scores.
Taking into account the arguments and replies of the plaintiffs and alleged parties, it appears that the sign sealing is part of the baseball game. As a matter of fact, it is the observation and relaying by means of legal or illegal techniques. These signs are used by the opposing catcher to the pitcher, a Player throwing the baseball from the pitcher’s mound towards the catcher.
Considering the baseball game rules, especially the stealing sign and its long history, and the precedent in the form of the opinion of Judge Robert Cowen, the stand taken by the MLB seems to be more logical and sustainable.