The World Series kicked off Tuesday night with the Washington Nationals taking the first game on the road from the Houston Astros 5-4, but the bigger news may have broken earlier that day off the field. Despite the excitement and fanfare that comes with an October appearance, the Astros may have just hit a low point.
Houston, we have a problem
The biggest news this week so far is the bombshell that was dropped by the media regarding the Houston Astros organization on Tuesday morning. The story all revolves around Roberto Osuna, who has a history of domestic abuse, including a 75-game suspension in 2018 for domestic assault. So when he was acquired at the trade deadline that season from the Toronto Blue Jays (despite an organizational “no-tolerance” domestic violence policy), it is pretty safe to say that Osuna had a dark stain on his name at the time.
Now fast-forward 14 months with the Astros defeating the New York Yankees to represent the American League in the 2019 World Series. According to according to Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman taunted a group of female reporters after the game saying the following, which was initially denied by the team.
“Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f***ing glad we got Osuna!”
It may seem innocuous on the surface, but his actions are the manifestation of something much more vile: that “domestic violence is a sideshow, subsumed in the need to win as many championships as possible”, as stated in the article. This was demonstrated by the team’s bungling of the PR job with ham-handed, half-hearted apologies — including everyone’s favorite, “I’m sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”
The events that have unfurled to this point exposed how deep these misogynist roots dig into not just the Astros’ organization, but sports as a whole. Then finally, manager A.J. Hinch assumed the role of the adult in the room and released the following statement.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch’s on controversy surrounding assistant GM Brandon Taubman and his treatment of female reporters after ALCS Game 6. pic.twitter.com/YnD5UGNXAB— Mike Oz (@mikeoz) October 22, 2019
Hinch’s words were a breath of fresh air — after all, he does hold a degree in psychology from Stanford, so this should not come as a surprise for him — but the stench from this situation still persists. Ken Rosenthal has called for “harsh discipline” for Taubman and the Astros, especially after flailing about miserably in their attempts at sweeping the issue under the rug. The entire incident is currently under investigation by Major League Baseball, so there is still plenty more to come on this story. Hopefully, it will result in some institutional reform to address this problem instead of allowing the wound to continue to fester.
David Ross named Cubs manager
The Chicago Cubs have announced their intent to sign former catcher David Ross as manager of the club, according to reports that have been verified. Of course, this news hardly comes as a surprise to fans who have been watching the managerial hot stove, but it appears that the speculation can finally be put to rest, pending the crossed ‘I’s and dotted ‘T’s.
Ross finished off his playing career on a high note, winning the 2016 World Series with the Cubs. While he did serve as a special assistant to the team in Chicago after his retirement, he has no coaching or managerial experience, following the latest trend of hiring former players who are still young but very inexperienced in the dugout — a trend that does not make a lot of sense when one considers how Brad Ausmus turned out, as well as Gabe Kapler’s quick exit out of Philadelphia. Hopefully, Ross can bring some unity and motivation to the clubhouse like he did during his playing days.
Pirates fire team president Frank Coonelly
The Pittsburgh Pirates have parted ways with their president Frank Coonelly, who had been with the franchise since 2007. While Coonelly did experience some success during his time with the team, having made the playoffs from 2013-2015, the past four seasons have been marred by miserliness in the form of salary-dump trades for an organization already well-known for their penny-pinching ways.
The Pirates have already announced Coonelly’s replacement: former Pittsburgh Penguins executive Travis Williams. His first order of business will likely be naming a replacement for recently-fired manager Clint Hurdle. The future of current general manager Neal Huntington, who still has two years remaining on his contract, will also be in question as the new brass takes over.
Tonight, 36 year, 245 day-old Justin Verlander will start in the World Series.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 23, 2019
He made 2 World Series starts in 2006 at age 23
Only other pitcher to start at least 1 World Series game before turning 24 AND after turning 36?
Steve Carlton: 22 yrs old in 1967, 38 yrs old in 1983
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