Arthur: Different sign-stealing scandals demand different punishments

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on April 24, 2020:

On Wednesday, MLB released the results of their investigation into the Boston Red Sox sign-stealing scheme in 2018. Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich detailed the findings and assigned retribution in their article at the Athletic. The natural comparison for Boston’s penalties is the considerable punishment handed down against the Houston Astros for their similar, but more egregious, cheating scandal. But what makes Houston’s misdeeds worse? And by exactly how much? These queries were not answered–and barely even addressed–in the Commissioner’s report.

It falls on the public to untangle the complex ethical knot at the center of the sign-stealing crime. Baseball has its own peculiar morality, but a close look at the particulars of the Red Sox and Astros’ crimes shows that several major factors make Boston’s misdeeds less grievous than Houston’s. And it’s instructive to go through these factors one by one because they illustrate some of the Commissioner’s unstated, but clearly important, guidelines in determining punishment.

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Originally published: April 24, 2020. Last Updated: April 24, 2020.