Former Royals player shoots down cheating insinuation

An author on baseball statistics implied Kansas City was among the first teams to use videotape to gain an unfair advantage on the baseball diamond during the team's World Series runs of 2014 and 2015. A former Royals catcher denied the insinuation, and the author has subsequently apologized.



June 18, 2021 - 2:49 PM

Pitcher Wade Davis, right, of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by catcher Erik Kratz won a game in 2015. Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images / TNS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ryan M. Spaeder caused quite a stir among Royals fans on Wednesday.

Spaeder, who co-authored the book, “Incredible Baseball Stats: The Coolest Stats and Facts In Baseball History,” shared a message on Twitter that insinuated the Royals cheated during their 2015 World Series championship season.

According to a biographer for that book, Spaeder is “one of the leading baseball researchers in alternative media.”

Spaeder wrote on Twitter: “The Royals were the first team with a full analytics and video department close by their dugout, doing so in 2015, their World Series Championship year. How they used it, I do not know.”

He later added: “I want to note that one player who played for the Royals in 2016, just texted me saying that “every team had the same video room by then.”

When asked by The Kansas City Star if he was saying the Royals gained an unfair advantage, Spaeder wrote in a Twitter message: “I think not doing so would be a failure”.

Seems pretty vague, right?

Spaeder also suggested other teams and players had cheated. His note about the Royals generated a lot of comments. Kansas City fans were not buying it.

Catcher Erik Kratz, who played for the Royals in 2014 and part of the 2015 season, shot down that claim:

“False,” Kratz tweeted.

On Thursday, Spaeder wrote to The Kansas City Star to say Kratz meant it was false that the Royals were the first team with the video room near the dugout, not that they didn’t cheat.

Shortly after that, Spaeder deleted his tweets and wrote on Twitter: “I deeply regret everything that I said — it has turned my life upside down. It was a mistake, and I should not have reported on unfounded allegations. I sincerely apologize to all of those impacted — it should not have happened, and it will not happen again. Stick to stats.”

Spaeder may have heard it from Royals fans.

They were skeptical and/or confused by the lack of clarity in Spaeder’s original claim. Here’s a sample of what they said Wednesday.

One Reddit user wrote: “It sounds like this guy just wants attention.”

Another wrote: “Possibly the worst ‘bombshell’ thread I’ve seen by a sports journalist, ever. Not just the Royals stuff either, for example the fact that he presents Aaron Judge’s home/away splits as some kind of smoking gun should be humiliating for someone who claims to know about baseball. And this is coming from someone who hates the Yankees and would cackle with glee if there were any actual evidence of them cheating.”

Another Reddit user wrote: “Apparently this guy has never heard of moneyball. The royals as the first team with analytics? Wtf? Our whole issue was Ned and GMDM trying to heart of the cards our way to victory.”

This was also from Reddit: “So some unknown economist is accusing the Royals of cheating because they utilized technology in game prep first? He doesnt know how, but hes sure its cheating somehow. yeah, dont care”