MLB fines Diamondbacks and coach Ariel Prieto for Apple Watch

MLB has made one thing very clear: no one is allowed to wear a smartwatch in the dugout ever, ever again.

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After Arizona Diamondbacks coach and interpreter Ariel Prieto was caught wearing an Apple Watch in the dugout of the D-backs wild-card game on Wednesday, MLB released a statement about their investigation into the incident, and announced fines against both the team and Prieto.

Major League Baseball has completed its inquiry into the matter of the watch worn by Arizona Diamondbacks coach/interpreter Ariel Prieto in the dugout during the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday night at Chase Field. The inquiry was conducted by MLB’s Department of Investigations, and the findings were submitted to Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

MLB forensically examined Mr. Prieto’s Apple Watch and his cell phone and interviewed Mr. Prieto. MLB found no evidence that Mr. Prieto used the Apple Watch or cell phone for any purpose in the dugout, nor any baseball-related communication on either device, during Wednesday’s game.

Despite these findings, Mr. Prieto violated MLB’s on-field regulation by having this device in the dugout. As a result, Mr. Prieto and the D-backs have each been fined an undisclosed amount. The amount of the fines will in turn be donated by the Office of the Commissioner to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Ariel Prieto appears to be wearing an electronic watch. (Screen cap via Joel Sherman)
Ariel Prieto appears to be wearing an electronic watch. (Screen cap via Joel Sherman)

The fines are basically a punishment for Prieto forgetting to take off his Apple Watch when the game started. In a statement released by the D-backs on Thursday Prieto said that it was simply an accident and an “honest mistake,” and the MLB investigation confirmed Prieto’s assertion. There was nothing nefarious going on.

Everyone, especially the Commissioner’s Office, is understandably more sensitive about smartwatches being worn in the dugout since the Boston Red Sox sign-stealing scandal. Even though we don’t know how much the fines were, they’ll probably serve as a decent reminder for players and coaches to take off anything that even remotely resembles a smartwatch before game time.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher