NFL and MLB crawling to the finish line of local investigations

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

In case you forgot, half of Boston's major pro sports teams find themselves in the crosshairs of a league investigation. The Patriots and Red Sox are both accused of using video equipment to steal signals and gain an unfair advantage.

With the Patriots, the accusations stem from a Dec. incident where a freelance Kraft Sports Productions cameraman was caught filming the Cincinnati Bengals sideline when gathering B-Roll for an upcoming documentary. When it comes to the Red Sox, the league is looking into whether or not former manager Alex Cora brought elements of the Astros scheme with him to Boston for the team's World Series run in 2018.

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03: National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports.(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

The NFL's investigation into the Patriots began on Dec. 9. Baseball's investigation into the Red Sox was announced on Jan. 7. 129 combined days (79 for the Patriots, 50 for the Red Sox) have passed, with no results to show.

As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell repeatedly tells the media the league is being as thorough as they can, reports have indicated they are internally frustrated at their inability to find any intentional wrongdoing on the Patriots part. According to The Boston Globe's Ben Volin, the NFL was still conducting interviews as recently as last week.

Meanwhile, a quarter mile away at the MLB Commissioner's office, there also appears to be a mad scramble for nothing. At a press conference on Feb. 16, Manfred told reporters the 'worst outcome' of the Astros investigation would have been 'coming up empty.'

Chris Cotillo on Twitter

Manfred says worst possible outcome for MLB would have been if the investigation came up empty. Says the fact-finding mission accomplished its goal.

Given the numerous delays to the Red Sox investigation, the latest of which pushed any possible results into next month, it wouldn't be surprising to find out the league is using a similar approach. What ever happened to 'innocent until proven guilty'?

The leagues have the right to make sure their game is being played on the level and to extinguish cheating where they find it. However, it's cruel and unusual punishment to carry on an investigation that yields no results. The Patriots have a draft coming up in two months, and have the right to know what picks they will or won't have to work with. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have the right to know whether or not their interim manager or any other personnel will be available to start the season.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks with David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox after throwing out the first pitch before the game against the Washington Nationals at Fenway Park on April 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

At this point, paranoid Boston sports fans' delusions are being rendered true. Do Goodell and Manfred really think they'll find the dirt they need if they keep digging? Or are the continued investigations a form of an untethered kangaroo court punishment against two organizations that had won five of the last 12 championships contested by the two sports when the investigations began?

Perhaps the heads of football and baseball know that the coming reports will contain no damaging information, and these elongated punishments are their own way of dishing out justice because they feel like they've been personally cheated.

One way or the other, we'll find out soon. (Or will we?)

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].