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Bill Kostroun / AP

The Boston Red Sox used an Apple Watch as part of a ploy to steal other teams' signs, an investigation by Major League Baseball has revealed, per a NYT report.

  • The scheme: The Red Sox' assistant athletic trainer was fed signs in real time via his Apple Watch, allowing him to pass the information to players. By stealing signs, the Red Sox could predict what pitches were coming, giving them an advantage at the plate.
  • How they got busted: Proving that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will never die, video of the sign stealing was forwarded by the Yankees' front office to the MLB after a series between the two teams last month.
  • Why it matters: Technological advances can help teams get an unfair advantage — just look at the Patriots' Spygate controversy in 2007. (Axios' Ina Fried notes that this does at least give the Apple Watch a much-needed compelling use case.)

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.