Astros Facing Front Office Controversy Amidst World Series

With the Houston Astros currently in the World Series, the entire organization should be on cloud nine. Unfortunately, the team’s presence in the Fall Classic for the second time in three years is being marred by a scandal in the front office.

Major League Baseball has started an investigation into Houston assistant general manager Brandon Taubman over inappropriate comments he made during the team’s celebration after winning Game 6 of the American League Championship Series over the Yankees.

According to an article published by Sports Illustrated, Taubman turned toward a collection of female reporters amidst the celebration and yelled, “Thank God we got (Roberto) Osuna! I’m so f**king glad we got Osuna!” One of the reporters was wearing a purple bracelet to show support for domestic violence.

An additional report from NPR stated that Taubman directed his comments specifically toward the reporter with the purple bracelet. According to that report, Taubman has taken issue with that reporter in the past.

Osuna, of course, was charged with domestic assault in May 2018 while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite those charges eventually being dropped because the alleged victim declined to travel to Toronto from her home in Mexico to testify, MLB conducted an investigation and suspended Osuna for 75 games.

A few months later, while he was still serving that suspension, the Astros traded for Osuna, who has served as the team’s closer this season.

Astros Response

The Astros initially responded by issuing a statement that said Taubman’s comments “had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed toward any specific reporters.” The team eventually had to walk back that statement.

Eventually, Taubman issued a formal apology for the matter, admitting that he “used inappropriate language” and was “deeply sorry and embarrassed.” Taubman went on to say that his support for Osuna “has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue.”

Even after the apology, other members of the Astros organization have been forced to comment on the Taubman controversy, taking away some of the focus from the team being in the World Series. Astros manager A.J. Hinch, for example, addressed the issue prior to Game 1 on Tuesday, calling the incident “uncalled for” and saying, “we all need to be better across the board.”

More Reaction

On Tuesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America got involved, calling for several members of Houston’s front office to apologize to media members involved as well as the media outlets who broke the story. The BBWAA called the team’s initial reaction “unethical.” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has also said he is “really concerned” about the situation.

“Brandon has apologized for inappropriate behavior, and I think, from my perspective, clearly something happened that he regrets,” commented Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. “What we really don’t know is the intent behind the inappropriate comments he made. We may never know that because the person who said them and the people who heard them, at least up to this point, have different perspectives.”

Whether or not anything will come of MLB’s look into the incident involving Taubman remains to be seen. However, his comments, the Astros downplaying their seriousness, and the uproar they’ve caused have surely left a stain on the Astros participating in this year’s World Series.