LONGLEY: Astros rightly under fire for latest fallout involving Osuna

first_img 1 Comments Share your thoughts Houston Astros MLB Playoffs Roberto Osuna World Seriescenter_img HOUSTON — Short of parting ways with Roberto Osuna, nothing should come as a surprise in the way the Astros deal with or comment about anything to do with the reliever and his checkered past.The trouble, in fact, started when the team acquired Osuna last July from the Blue Jays, a team that couldn’t get rid of the pitcher and his domestic violence issues fast enough. The Jays decided there was no room for Osuna in their clubhouse while the Astros appeared to choose closer over character.At the time of the trade, remember, Osuna was still serving a 75-game suspension for violation of MLB’s domestic violence policy. The Astros acquired him despite concerns from veterans in the clubhouse that there was potential for distraction.And they acquired him well aware of the fact there would be fallout in the community, a reality that happened immediately and continues to this day.And now comes another mess surrounding Osuna, who was accused of assaulting the mother of his child while in Toronto, charges that were dropped when a peace bond was signed and he agreed to avoid contact with the woman for a year.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The latest incident reportedly occurred after the Astros clinched a berth in the World Series with a win over the New York Yankees this past Saturday. According to a Sports Illustrated report, following the game Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman taunted three female reporters by celebrating the team’s acquisition of Osuna at the 2018 trade deadline.“Thank God we got Osuna. I’m so f – – – – – – glad we got Osuna,” SI reported Taubman as saying, a claim confirmed by two Houston Chronicle reporters who were also in the clubhouse and witnessed it.Within hours, the report was rather snarkily and without apology denied by the team.Yes, a franchise that acquired the burden of Osuna then made it worse by discrediting the report. In a somewhat heartless statement released on Tuesday afternoon – mere hours before Game 1 of the World Series opener against the Washington Nationals – the Astros called the SI report “misleading and completely irresponsible.”The Astros just released the following statement. pic.twitter.com/KnA6kQt0hq— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 22, 2019It was a display of tone deafness that normally would be described as incredible. But this is the Astros, a team that banned a Detroit reporter from doing his job earlier this summer because pitcher Justin Verlander told them to. There was an irresponsible party here and it wasn’t Sports Illustrated and reporter Stephanie Apstein.Taubman dug the hole considerably deeper with his own statement, released and presumably vetted by the team before it was sent out to do further damage. He actually called himself “a progressive and charitable member of the community” before offering a hollow apology.“I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values,” Taubman said. “I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”Incredibly, an organization that acquired Osuna in the first place kept making it worse with Taubman defending his actions to essentially negate the apology.“My over exuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue,” he want on to say.Statements from Brandon Taubman and Jim Crane pic.twitter.com/IFcY58YOGd— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 22, 2019Actually, there was no misinterpretation at all, even with Astros owner Jim Crane’s hollow attempt to placate those offended, by saying in a separate statement that his team continues “to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence.”Almost incredibly, it was then left to Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who was three hours away from his team’s most important game of the season to bring some sincerity and sensibility to the situation.Good on him. Bad that it was left for the manager to handle given the more pressing duties of his day.“I’m very disappointed for a lot of reasons,” Hinch said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s uncalled for. For me as a leader in this organization, I take everything that happens in the clubhouse to heart.“No one, it doesn’t matter if it’s a player, a coach, a manager, any of you members of the media, should ever feel like when you come into our clubhouse that you’re going to be uncomfortable or disrespected. I think we all need to be better across the board, in the industry.””It’s uncalled for,” said A.J. Hinch when asked about the actions of assistant GM Brandon Taubman.No equivocation or misdirection from Hinch in his answer to the question.Hinch shouldn’t be be the only one to represent the Astros on this. Owner, GM should be, too. pic.twitter.com/NXHJPLWirb— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 22, 2019Hinch was bang on, of course, and from a competitive standpoint, it was the last thing he needed at the worst possible time. While well down the list of concerns regarding Osuna, this won’t sit well with the player.Remember that his troubles with the Jays began when he left the team briefly due to anxiety issues. And remember as well he gave up a two-run homer to blow a save the previous time he pitched, in Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday.In standing up for his player in an ill-advised manner, then, Taubman may have added a huge amount of pressure to Osuna. In its original denial, the Astros called Sports Illustrated irresponsible for its report.The arrogance of that statement, given how they handled the situation, is as laughable and disingenuous as it is pathetic.The Jays decided to walk away from Osuna for good reason, doing their own due diligence that surely mirrored that of MLB, which opted for the huge suspension. The Astros welcomed him with open arms and have continued to live with the fallout and the consequences.rlongley@postmedia.com last_img