Ghana striker Prince Tagoe has written his name in Serbian folklore by scoring both goals for Partizan Belgrade as they beat their bitter rivals Red Star Belgrade 2-0 on Wednesday.The margin could have been wider but enterprising and hardworking Ghanaian striker Dominic Adiyiah was unlucky to fluff a glorious opportunity set up by Tagoe late in the game.Tagoe, who joined Partizan from German side Hoffenheim in January, took his tally to six goals in four games for Partizan as the Serbian champions stretched their unbeaten run against Red Star to nine matches.The match was supposed to be the clash of Ghanaians in the Serbian top-flight but only Tagoe and Adiyiah featured for their club.Issah Awal was left on the Red Stars bench while Lee Addy suffered a fresh sprain on his dodgy thigh on Tuesday night which ruled him out of the game.But it was Tagoe and Adiyiah who held the Ghanaian flag aloft in one of the fiercest rivalries in world football. Tagoe put Partizan in the lead after just four minutes when his header redirected a long-range effort that fooled the Red Star goalkeeper.But that time it was clear the former European Champions were missing Addy at the back as they struggled to contain Tagoe.The Ghanaian striker’s powerful header from the free kick four minutes after the break bounced before the keeper could react to hand Partizan the advantage ahead of the second-leg of the semi final of the Serbia Cup.Adiyiah came on as a late substitute and his talent and pace was on display with Red Star defenders taking the rough approach on him.Tagoe sweetly back-heeled Adiyiah in for an inviting opportunity but a flying tackle from an opponent prevented the Ghanaian player from pulling the trigger on target. By this feat Tagoe has established himself as a legend for the club while Partizan fans having tasted the sweetness of Ghanaian firepower are calling for more playing time for the dangerous Adiyiah.Source: Ghanasoccernet
There is a fine line between punishing a team/front office and punishing a fan base, and declaring a team ineligible for the postseason takes away the hope of October for an entire season. I hate that punishment in college sports — largely because punishments are often handed down years later and impact players who weren’t even around when the infractions happened — and I hate the idea of punishing professional fan bases that way, too. Same thing for the idea of vacating titles (division titles, league championships, World Series titles). Flags fly forever. Vacated Final Fours are stupid, and changing a coach’s career win/loss record is dumb, too. Punishments have to be about prevention, not punishing for the sake of punishment. Taking things out of the official record book doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Even as I was reading The Athletic’s latest well-reported breaking news piece on sign-stealing in baseball — this time, from three anonymous sources from the 2018 Red Sox — I couldn’t help but think of the parallels between this current baseball embarrassment and one MLB struggled through for decades: the steroid/PED scandals.The story even mentions the connection because, at the core, the issue is the same: The cheaters are ahead of MLB, and MLB is wildly trying — often failing — to catch up. And the reasons for the cheating are essentially the same: The idea is that everyone else is doing it (taking PEDs/stealing signs), and those who aren’t are at a distinct competitive disadvantage. MORE: Spring training reporting dates for all 30 MLB teamsSo what lessons can MLB learn from the PED problems? Many, of course, but let’s start with the biggest one: Punishments have to be significant, legitimate deterrents. Robinson Cano, a Cooperstown-bound second baseman who had an impeccable reputation and was well-liked throughout the sport, tested positive for a diuretic that can be used as a masking agent, and was suspended without pay for 80 games in 2018, costing him nearly $12 million. That’s a significant, legitimate deterrent, folks. And it’s not the only way MLB has, finally, seemed to wrestle control of the PED situation. Testing is more thorough. Chances of a player getting caught are significantly higher than 10 or 20 years ago. And players know that if they’re caught, the price to pay is high. If you’ve followed me in the past, this potential solution might sound familiar. It’s not the first time I’ve stood on a soapbox and preached the power using punishment as a deterrence. I’ve said the same thing for players being punished for domestic violence incidents. I’ve said the same thing for pitchers who intentionally throw fastballs at batters’ heads. And though the links from years ago seem to have disappeared, I wrote the same about PED suspensions. To make a real impact, punishment has to be about prevention, not just punishment for the sake of punishment.One quote that stuck out from The Athletic’s story was this, on teams using technology to steal signs because of the thought — accurately, surely — that everyone else was doing it. “Oftentimes it takes a player to show up and be like ‘You f— morons, you’re not doing this?’” said one American League executive.It’s pretty clear that the moral angle — “We’re not stealing signs because it’s against the rules” — isn’t working in today’s game, not with so much at stake. So when a player comes to his new team and wonders why they’re not using technology to steal signs, MLB needs to make sure the answer is this: “It’s just not worth the potential punishment.”It will be interesting to see how MLB punishes the Astros. After the Red Sox and Yankees were fined for incidents in 2017, commissioner Rob Manfred warned that future punishments would increase, significantly, for any teams found to steal signs with use of technology.The same warning needs to be attached to the Astros’ punishment. It took too long for MLB to increase suspensions for PED users, largely because it was a complicated process that involved the MLBPA. There are no such restrictions here. Here are a few thoughts for potential punishments:Loss of draft picksDraft picks, plural. First rounders, plural. There are few things cost-conscious front offices value more in today’s climate than draft picks. Take them away, for multiple years.Want to really make it hurt? Identify a primary traditional rival for each team, and give those draft picks to that rival. Imagine if the Red Sox — using this recent example, if MLB determines cheating happened — had to give their next 2021, 2022 and 2023 first-round picks to the Yankees. Yikes. Or imagine if, as part of the Astros’ punishment, the Rangers were allowed to claim any player from Houston’s system who isn’t on the 25-man big-league roster. Or imagine if every team from the AL West was allowed to choose one player not on Houston’s 40-man roster. I’m mostly kidding about the rivals thing. Mostly. Kinda. But, y’know, it could work. FinesMassive, whopping fines. Millions and millions of dollars. Don’t be afraid to fine a team $25 million. But don’t give the money back to baseball. MLB owners have plenty of money. Might as well put the money to good use. Lots of charities doing meaningful work could use a cash infusion. Spread it around. BanishmentsMLB isn’t focusing on punishing players in the Astros’ case. The focus is on front-office and on-field personnel (managers/coaches), and that’s fine for now. It’s not enough for a front-office type to be fired, though, because that just means they’re suddenly a free agent. They need to be banished from baseball, beginning with one year and building from there, depending on their determined involvement. Remember when Chris Correa, the former Cardinals scouting director, was banned for life for hacking into the Astros’ scouting database? That’s a deterrent. Starting in 2020, though, players need to be fair game, too. The responsibility cannot rest solely on front-office personnel and managers/coaches. Start the player suspensions at 80 games, without pay, and go from there. Playoff bansI’m going to stop short of this.