Manfred: Play nice, don’t get caught

The baseball world called on commissioner Rob Manfred to send a clear message that using digital devises to steal signs is bad, bad, bad – and against baseball’s laws.

And he did. He took a rhetorical rolled-up scorecard, whacked the Red Sox on their collective snout, and growled, “Don’t do that!”

He then turned to the Yankees, the snitches who put him in this uncomfortable bind, and sent another clear message that throwing stones from inside a glass house is also bad, bad, bad and annoying.

The Yankees stood convicted of using a dugout phone improperly in one season or another – a vague violation under murkier conditions.

In sum, Manfred’s message was: Play nice. And if you can’t play nice, play smart and don’t get caught.

Frankly, this episode has been bloated beyond reasonable proportions. It was not about stealing signs, which has been and will always be a cultural norm. It was about using electronic devices to relay the information gleaned from stealing signs.

It is a subtle, yet very real difference. And if anyone out there thinks it will never happen again, enjoy your lonely kumbaya serenade.

TIME TRAVEL: Sept. 17, 1977 – “Mike Krueger’s desperation 15-yard field goal attempt with 15 seconds left on the clock was wide of the uprights and the Trinity Pioneers hung on to defeat the Nashua High Purple Panthers 7-6 in a rain-soaked thriller at Gill Stadium last night.”

Nashua’s lone touchdown came on a 5-yard pass from B.J. Neverett to Marc Rousell on fourth-and-goal.

TROUBLED TEAMS: Understanding that point spreads are set with an eye on increasing the bookmaker’s profit, it is startling to see that the Patriots are a 6-point favorite over the Saints in their Week 2 showdown.

Yes, the Saints looked relentlessly mediocre in there opening loss to the Vikings. But after watching the Patriots defense make Alex Hill look like a Hall of Famer, the thought of what Drew Brees might do to them makes at least one man fairly queasy.

TOOTHLESS BENGALS: Only one current NFL head coach has a longer tenure than the Bengals’ Marvin Lewis.

Talk about a great divide between No. 1 and No. 2. Lewis is not even a flyspeck in Bill Belichick’s rear-view mirror.

After going two games without a touchdown, Bengals management kicked offensive coordinator Ken Zampese to the curb. Maybe they are finally ready to climb the coaching ladder and end Lewis’ unremarkable 14 years at the helm.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248 or