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Mess for the Astros After Exec Yells Lines at Female Journos - Page 2

The Astros come to Brandon Taubman's defense, to much derision
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2019 12:53 PM CDT

  • Where SI went: Writer Stephanie Apstein saw a clear motive in Taubman's statement: "By Baseball Reference’s calculations and any intelligent observer’s assessment, [Osuna was] the least valuable Astro that night. So why would Taubman choose that moment, to taunt that demographic? It's not hard to figure out."
  • The background: The Houston Chronicle previously reported the trade was contentious from the moment it was announced—and the team's formal announcement didn't go so well. "A statement attributed to the general manager extolled the club’s 'zero tolerance policy on abuse of any kind'—ostensibly contradictory to the deal [GM Jeff] Luhnow had just executed. Pressed on semantics during a conference call shortly thereafter, Luhnow hedged the claim. The policy, he said, did not take effect until a player became an Astro and did not apply to any alleged actions while with another team."
  • How the team is reacting now: In a word, denial. Here's part of its statement: "Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else—they were also not directed toward any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated's attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist."
  • Corroboration: CNN points out that other reporters have come out to verify Apstein's version, including the Houston Chronicle's Hunter Atkins and Yahoo Sports' Hannah Keyser. The Chronicle separately spoke with eyewitnesses who said a cigar-holding Taubman was about eight feet from the women when he yelled the lines, and "one was visibly shaken by the comment." The eyewitnesses also pushed back at the Astros' assertion that a player was being asked about a difficult outing, saying there were no players in the area nor any interviews ongoing at the time.
  • Reaction: At ESPN, Jeff Passan isn't exactly gobsmacked by the Astros' denial. "This is how they operate," he writes of the team. But the implications are bigger. "This is ... an important moment for the league. On the eve of the World Series, one of the key decision-makers for a 107-win team favored to win a championship was revealed as someone who decides to use the success of a baseball team to validate the grossest sort of misdeeds. This is who the Astros are supporting. This is who Major League Baseball is implicitly endorsing every minute it does not discipline him."
(Read more Houston Astros stories.)

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