EDITORIAL: Houston Astros should be embarrassed by organization's culture of arrogance
- The Houston Astros have suffered a firestorm of criticism recently.
- The Astros accused a reporter of fabricating a story about the team's assistant GM.
- The team later fired the assistant GM and apologized for its initial statement.
The Houston Astros are a great baseball team, but they’re a lousy organization.
That’s been proven over the course of the 2019 season, and the point has been driven home over the last week or so.
When it comes to dealing with the media, understanding simple matters of truth and realizing the importance of the domestic violence issue, the Astros just don’t get it.
Latest scandal: The latest Astros scandal began after the team won the American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 21, to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.
In the clubhouse celebration after the game, the Astros’ assistant general manager, Brandon Taubman, decided it was the proper forum to profanely vent his feelings about Houston relief pitcher Roberto Osuna to three female reporters.
"Thank God we got Osuna! I'm so (expletive) glad we got Osuna!" Taubman screamed over and over.
Taubman’s intent was clear. He wanted to let the female reporters know, in no uncertain terms, that he was upset about the coverage the Astros received when the team opted to sign Osuna, who was arrested in 2018 on domestic violence charges while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The charges were later dropped, but Major League Baseball still found enough evidence to suspend Osuna for 75 games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. Shortly before his suspension ended, the Astros traded for Osuna. It was a move that was justifiably criticized by many as insensitive and inappropriate. It seemed to reek of a win-at-all costs mentality.
That criticism clearly didn’t sit well with Taubman and he chose to use the clubhouse celebration to let the female reporters know his feelings. It was clearly meant as an act of intimidation. It didn’t matter that one of the three female reporters was wearing a bracelet to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Astros go on defensive: When one of the female journalists from Sports Illustrated reported about the incident, the Astros didn’t immediately apologize, as they should have. Instead, they went on the defensive, calling the story “misleading and completely irresponsible” and accusing her of trying to “fabricate a story.”
Then, when other journalists supported the facts in the story, Taubman came out with a typical nonapology apology, saying he was “sorry if anyone was offended by my actions."
He didn’t say he was truly sorry for his actions, but just sorry if anyone was offended.
Taubman admitted using "inappropriate language," but claimed he was "a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father."
Taubman's words, however, definitely contradicted that claim.
Astros finally take action: The Astros continued to get justifiably lambasted for their meek response and the team eventually decided to do the right thing and fire Taubman on Thursday, Oct. 24.
Then on Sunday, Oct. 27, Astros owner Jim Crane sent a letter to the Sports Illustrated reporter to apologize for his team and retracted the team's initial statement.
It’s clear that every step of the way, the Astros were simply reacting to a firestorm of criticism and not acting out of sincere remorse. They weren't really sorry, but simply sorry that they got caught acting boorishly and then lying about it.
Barring a reporter: Of course, treating the media with disdain is nothing new for the Astros. Earlier this season they banned a reporter from the team’s clubhouse at the request of star pitcher Justin Verlander, who personally didn’t like the reporter.
It’s clear the Astros have developed a culture of arrogance. When it comes to the team’s on-field performances, they have a lot to be arrogant about.
When it comes to dealing with the media, dealing with the truth and dealing with the domestic violence issue, however, they should be downright embarrassed.