Connor: No-Win Situation, Today, Astros Players Did What Had To Be Done

The silence has finally been broken. The spring has arrived and camp is here where the Astros had to face the storm of what they have done. Today they did just that and for me, as the players did exactly what they had to do, facing the noise of what their actions have brought on. The words that were said and how the entire morning was executed will be dissected at length by anyone that has a voice in the media world. The majority of the conversation will continue to be negative noise for what they have done and how they have handled it all. While today, for me, was not perfect overall, I come away from it pleased with how the players specifically addressed this situation as a whole.

No answers will ever be good enough for most and that is completely fine and justified, this is what the team has brought on themselves. The press conference was poorly executed overall for me, but the players saved the day in my opinion by being open and answering all of the questions once the locker room opened up to the media. Jim Crane will get the brunt of the blow back from the media with how today went and it is warranted given a few of his answers, specifically his response to the questions about how this impacted games.

 

This is the soundbite that will dominate the national talk. In a press conference situation with every little thing being judged, Jim Crane will feel the fire for saying this moving forward and given what he said, it is absolutely worthy of the attention it will get. While even I cringed when hearing that, the rest of what he said and how he handled today will go ignored. I appreciated his conviction and stern stance he took in his opening remarks this morning. I found it interesting that he went so strongly after his previous leadership allowing such things to go on, while also stating that he agrees that not punishing players was the right call from the commissioner. While I do agree that not punishing the players was what had to be done, I do not believe that we can just look past all of this and only blame AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow for being the men in charge of the team, who clearly did not step up and stop anything that was being done. Rob Manfred made it clear when he sent out the league-wide memo during the 2017 seaons, after the Yankees and Red Sox apple watch fiasco, that moving forward, the general manager and field manager would be held responsible for teams breaking any rules when it came to using technology to steal signs. Manfred was right to hold those at the top accountable for their teams actions and that is exactly what was done with the suspensions of Hinch and Luhnow. While I still would not have fired AJ Hinch, I completely understand and trust Jim Crane's decision to fire both like he did. His team needed as fresh a start as they could get at the top and as the owner it is obviously his right to do as he has done.

While Crane will have to continue to hear the noise for some of his answers today, I believe him when he talks about his lack of knowledge to what was going on. He is a hands off owner for the most part and that is a big reason behind the Astros success during his time as the owner. While I will always lean towards wanting my teams owners to allow those they hire to do their jobs, clearly there has to be more monitoring of what goes on moving forward. While I expect early on in this new era of Astros baseball under Dusty Baker and James Click, Crane, will have a more hands on approach than before, I trust that when it comes to building a team and a farm system, he will continue to let those that he hires be the ones to make the decisions that have to be made.

Moving on to the players side of today, I will state again that I was surprised with how the initial press conference was handled with only Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve representing the players, both making short statements before moving aside. While I did feel that those two should have sat down and both taken questions, they and the team did the right thing immediately following the press conference when the clubhouse opened up, where all the players connected to this scandal stood up and answered all of the questions that had to be asked.

Some will not like some of the answers players gave, but for me, there really was not any answers that they failed to give today when addressing the situation. They all stepped up, showed remorse, took their lumps and relayed the message that they, like all of us, are ready to move forward. While this is not going away anytime soon, this was absolutely necessary to do today. While this storm cannot be completely put to bed, getting out in front of it on day one of camp was the only thing that could be done. Of all of the players that spoke out today, Carlos Correa, stood out more for me than anyone else. I appreciated his being completely open and honest, taking his lumps and admitting that what they have done is wrong.

 

In that clip above, Correa, addressed the theories that have been out there about this buzzer stuff the absolute best way any player could have. The media spun AJ Hinch's answer to Tom Verducci's question about it in his interview last week on MLB Network into another level. Hinch did right by releasing a statement about that last night, and for me, showing once again that there is no reason to continue the noise about a theory that has basically come about thanks to people on twitter. At some point you would think that people would listen to and accept that the commissioner says there was no proof or evidence of anything like that going on in 2019, but as we all know, the internet will never let that go. It comes with the territory unfortunately when you are caught up in a scandal that you have brought upon yourself.

This storm will not go away anytime soon and the players linked to this will forever have to deal with the commentary for what they have done. For those that will one day be looking for induction into the hall, this stuff will come back up. How voters view it when that time comes cannot yet be known. Will they punish guys and keep them out like they have done for many that played in the steroid era? Will time help heal these wounds and not keep those out that might be worthy of getting in? These are questions that we will all ponder moving forward, and these are questions that these guys will always have to answer as the years go by. Forever, they will be linked to the biggest black eye baseball has seen since the days of the steroid era.

All season long the players have to be prepared for questions about all of this. In each city they play in this year, the questions and noise will come back up. Opposing fans will be relentless everywhere they go. Fighting through the long summer months this year will possibly be the biggest test some of these players will ever know. Blocking it out and playing the game will not be easy at times, but hopefully getting back to the games will ease this tension some. I know for me, like most Astros fans, am ready to getting back to watching the team we love.

Again, today and almost every single day moving forward is a no-win day for the Astros when it comes to dealing with what they have done. Nothing will feel easy at times for them and us, as we all move forward. While we are still stuck in the middle of what feels like a never ending storm, a day will come where the waters are calm again. Like everything in life, time will heal most wounds. While that might be the case, nothing will ever take away the scar that will be left behind. We will see it and feel it, just like those players that we loved rooting for. That scar must be used as fuel to remind the baseball world that they are still pretty damn good.

We all will have different feelings and opinions on what has happened from now on. Some of us will forget as much as possible and continue to root for them moving forward. Some of us will never be able to get past what they have done and will abandon the team they have always loved. Whatever side you land on is completely fine. That is the beauty of this thing called life. We can all have differing opinions on things and it is completely okay to not agree on anything. Life will go on and the games will continue to be played, and for me, I will be sitting here as excited to root for the only team I will ever love.

For some today, you might have felt that the players owed you something. Hopefully some of what they said gave you what you were looking for. For me, I did not go into this day needing any apologies from anyone about what has gone on. I know that those players deep down know exactly what they have done and will forever have to battle with the thoughts that they could have done more to end it. At the end of the day, I am just a fan. I, like all of you, did nothing wrong. They did and that weight is something they will forever have to live with. I never felt that I should be shamed to still love this team and will not moving forward. They gave me one of the biggest joys of my life in 2017, something I never thought could be done. Despite it all, they are still champions. They raised that trophy that night in Los Angeles and will forever hold that title of being 2017 World Series Champs.

I have been blessed to do a job I love. A job that puts me closer to something than most can ever know. It has allowed me to get to know so many inside a game I grew up dreaming of playing at the highest level. And while all of this will not change my passion for the team and the sport I love, it still will always give me some sort of hurt. But nothing will change my overall joy and I like the players, am ready to move forward and get back to watching the game we all love.

Thank you to all of you that have read this and your trust in us at SportsTalk 790 as your place for everything Astros. This season will present plenty of challenges for us all, but I look forward to taking it all in with you guys again this season. I will make my way down to Florida on Sunday and will being doing the show from the ballpark on Monday and Tuesday. Matt and Ross will head down there on Tuesday and continue our coverage through the rest of the week. And big ups to our man Chris Gordy for bringing you all of our coverage today from West Palm Beach. And before I go, a first of many thanks again to Karbach Brewing who is making our trip down to Florida possible. Now it's time for me to go home and crack open a few ice cold Crawford Bock's.

Sean Salisbury

Sean Salisbury

Sean Salisbury is a longtime sportscaster who has covered the Houston market for many years talking Texans, Astros, Rockets & much more. He has worked as an TV analyst for ESPN shows like NFL Live & SportsCenter, and served as both an NFL & CFL... Read more

title

Content Goes Here