March 21 (UPI) -- A sealed letter detailing a 2017 investigation into the New York Yankees is set to become a public document, nearly two years after a federal judge ruled it should be unsealed.
The plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the daily fantasy implications of electronic sign-stealing in baseball allege that a 2017 news release from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hid the full findings of what the league discovered the Yankees had done.
The letter's impending release will disclose any differences between what Manfred asserted publicly and what was revealed in private.
Manfred wrote the letter to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and it is alleged to contain evidence of the club's sign-stealing methods from 2017, when the franchise was caught improperly using a dugout phone and the Boston Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches to steal signals from opposing teams.
The Yankees said the letter would harm the team's reputation and requested to keep the letter private. On Monday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed the Yankees' request and denied the appeal.
"The Yankees argue that the harm from the unsealing of the Yankees Letter will arise because its content 'would be distorted to falsely and unfairly generate the confusing scenario that the Yankees had somehow violated MLB's sign-stealing rules," the court wrote. "That argument, however, carries little weight.
"Disclosure of the document will allow the public to independently assess MLB's conclusion regarding the internal investigation (as articulated to the Yankees), and the Yankees are fully capable of disseminating purported distortions regarding the content of the Yankees Letter.
"In short, any purported distortions regarding the content of the Yankees Letter can be remedied by the widespread availability of the actual content of this judicial document to the public, and the corresponding ability of MLB and the Yankees to publicly comment on it."
The court also upheld the dismissal of the $5 million lawsuit over the illegal sign-stealing scandal that stunned the baseball world from 2019-20 filed by DraftKings player Kristopher Olson and 100 additional plaintiffs against MLB, the Red Sox and the Astros.