The Houston Astros have an entire department devoted to handling public relations. Either they are all on vacation right now, or those above them are being too stubborn to take their advice. Obvious advice aimed at putting out a fire, not throwing gasoline on it.
First they tried smearing Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein, who reported that a Houston Astros employee, now identified as assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, had taunted multiple female reporters about domestic violence and Roberto Osuna in a triumphant, World Series-bound locker room Saturday night.
When multiple reporters corroborated Apstein's account, the team pivoted, but not really in the correct direction, releasing this little number.
Taubman manages to hit all the buzzwords that seem to litter substandard post-crisis statements. Mentioning that he is a husband and a father? Check. Using the term "if anyone was offended"? Check.
There exists a healthy amount of outrage. And it certainly seems warranted. Instead of piling on by pointing out the obvious grossness of this incident, I want to drill down on something else.
Let's say, for argument's sake, a person wanted to take Taubman's word here. Let's imagine a scenario where someone could be made to believe what went down was innocent. Not that those who witnessed it are lying, of course, but that there was a major misinterpretation.
Wouldn't -- and this is crazy -- it be beneficial to get a few more specifics on the narrative here from the Astros? We still have no idea what they believe happened. How, then, could a reasonable person be swayed by a statement which is almost completely devoid of any type of clue alluding to the so-called innocent explanation?
The statement has plenty of fancy words, like "regressive attitude," a phrase no real human being says aloud. A person reading it has no clearer picture as to what could have happened if not for the very bad thing that seems to have happened.
Like, any explanation in clear English would be better. An inside joke was misconstrued. He was giving Osuna flack for blowing the save. There was someone behind the reporters to whom he was gesturing.
Anything. Anything would at least help a reasonable person entertain the idea the Taubmann is being railroaded here.
And, look, I know there's a fair amount of people out there who will bristle at even a thought experiment that Taubman is being unfairly targeted here. What I'm trying to understand is how this statement is supposed to speak to a person still receptive to that argument.
If the language was "inappropriate," let's hear what the inappropriate language is purported to be. If mocking the reporters wasn't the intention, let's hear what the intention is.
It's too late for the Astros to hide behind any secrecy. All of that went out the window when they tried to FAKE NEWS themselves out of this in the first place.
Perhaps, and this is cynical, the team knows that everyone who can be convinced was already convinced and the reasonable people are a lost cause.