Yes, another piece on sign-stealing.Sign-stealing has always been part of the game. It all falls under that “gamesmanship” umbrella that’s more prevalent in baseball than other sports. Sign-stealing is no different than letting the grass grow a bit longer in front of the plate or leaving the basepaths a little more muddy. Now, he’s doubling down on it.”When we discipline in a situation like this, we discipline with the view towards having prophylactic effect on behavior going forward, so that we maintain the trust of our fans,” he told Yahoo.It’s obviously going to be easier said than done for Manfred and MLB, but if you want to stop reading things like this, then someone’s gotta pay. But technology is where we should draw the line, right? There’s just something inherently unfair about an unknown camera set-up — as is reported in Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich’s piece for The Athletic — which gives the home team a clear leg up during the game. FAGAN: Kudos to Mike Fiers for speaking out on sign-stealingIt’ll never be black and white, and people will never agree on it. At its surface, if you don’t want your signs stolen, use better signs. It’s when the technology gets involved that it’s very clearly not a cut-and-dry case.So what message do you send to a team that illegally steals signs? How do you do punish teams that get caught? Slap on the wrist? Cut off a hand? Drawn-and-quartered?Anything and everything should be in play here, including draft picks, heavy fines and suspensions. But how do you police this? Players move all the time, and bring their methods with them. Do you keep dossiers on players like the FBI during the Red Scare? Do MLB officials show up at random times during the season for stadium inspections? Maybe MLB even hires extra umpires to sit in the dugouts with teams, to play as babysitter during the games.Simply put: There’s no clear way to figure this out. It’s why sign-stealing has endured and it’s why it can’t be stopped. Players will always find a way to get an edge, ethical or not. That’s just the nature of professional athletes.There’s all sorts of red tape that gets tangled up in this situation: What if it’s only a few players? What if a player who doesn’t want to take part in it is unwillingly or unwittingly brought in? What if the manager legitimately has no idea?There are more questions than solutions.MORE: Nats tried to make sign-stealing as hard as possibleIf MLB is serious about this, then it needs to go all-in on a punishment if there’s convincing evidence that it’s happened. If Rob Manfred is serious about this whole thing, about wanting to clean up the competitive balance and get this kind of stuff out, then someone associated with the Astros has to be the example. Whether it’s the organization as whole, manager AJ Hinch or some players — someone has to be the landmark case.The Astros weren’t the first team to be singled out for stealing signs, and they likely won’t be the last. It’s no secret that as technology has advanced, the ways players and organizations can get around rules has, too. It was true of PEDs, it’s apparently true of sign-stealing, and it’ll be true of whatever new forms of bending the rules come around in the future.Admittedly, there are parts of this that seem like a witch hunt for the Astros. There wasn’t a fraction of the outrage when the Red Sox were outed for using an Apple Watch to relay signs in 2017. But that shouldn’t change the fact that MLB must set an example. It’s happened across sports: The Patriots and SpyGate is one instance. The Donald Sterling situation in the NBA, while different (and significantly more damning) in its contents, is another.There’s an unfortunate byproduct of success: Winning doesn’t just come with championship rings — it also comes with targets on your back. Teams are ready to knock the crown off your head and find a way to bring you down, on the field or off.But whataboutism shouldn’t play anymore, for the Astros or any other team implicated from this point forward. After all, Manfred did say this in 2017 after the investigation of the Red Sox:”All 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks,” the commissioner’s official statement said.