New York Yankees appeal release of Major League Baseball letter detailing sign-stealing findings

NEW YORK -- The Yankees appealed the release of an investigative letter MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sent to the organization in 2017.

In a 15-page document written by team president Randy Levine, the Yankees argued against the decision from a three-judge panel in March from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a ruling that the letter should go public, turning down an appeal made by the Yankees in 2020.

"The Yankees believe that MLB mistakenly produced the Yankees Letter prior to argument of the motion to dismiss," the appeal read.

The letter contains details of Major League Baseball's findings from an investigation into the Yankees in 2017, when Manfred fined both the Yankees and Boston Red Sox an undisclosed amount, with Boston receiving a heavier fine. The Red Sox used Apple Watches to steal signs, but both teams were accused of using electronics to decipher signs.

"The Option sanctions a serious abuse of federal courts and opens a floodgate for future litigants to cause more abuse in ways never intended," the letter reads, arguing that the panel's decision enables the right to unseal confidential documents used in court motion papers.

The letter also argues that the decision interferes with private business investigations and allows plaintiffs to force the confidential investigation materials to be made public.

The Yankees asked to appeal the decision with an "en banc" review, which asks 13 circuit court judges to rehear the case. If the appeal is denied, the Yankees could attempt to overturn the letter's release through a long-shot appeal to the Supreme Court.

Levine previously argued against the release of the letter in December 2020, saying it would raise "serious" privacy issues, that confidential letters by the Houston Astros and the Red Sox weren't being made public and that the letter's content would hurt the team's reputation.