The Houston Astros, trailing 0-2 in the World Series and certainly not in the mood for any more drama, announced today they have fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman.
Taubman, in case you did not know, has been under fire over the last few days following his comments after the Astros won the ALCS against the Yankees in Game 6, a game in which Roberto Osuna blew a late lead but also saw Jose Altuve hit a walk-off home run.
According to Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated, Taubman approached her and other female reporters, shouting “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna.”
Osuna only pitches for the Astros because he assaulted the mother of his then-three-year-old child in May 2018 when he pitched for the Blue Jays, and his corresponding suspension caused the Blue Jays’ asking price for Osuna to drop, prompting the Astros to pull the trigger on a deal.
Taubman’s comments were unusual consider Osuna had just allowed that two-run home run to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Baseball-Reference listed Osuna as the least valuable Astro that night, yet Taubman felt the need to thank God for him.
For more info on that night, read Apstein’s article from the night of the incident.
The Astros did not comment immediately, and they did not make Taubman available to the media. However, in the coming days, the Astros did release a statement.
“The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible,” the statement read. “An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. 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.”
Sports Illustrated and the BBWAA both responded by calling out the Astros for their statement that did not line up with the facts being presented and also called out Apstein for what they claimed was a fabricated story. Many reporters and media outlets who witnessed the incident corroborated Apstein’s reporting.
Today, the Astros determined Taubman was indeed in the wrong.
“During the past two days, the Astros proactively assisted Major League Baseball in interviewing Astros employees as part of MLB’s investigation of the events published in the recent Sports Illustrated article,” the team said in a statement. “Major League Baseball also separately interviewed members of the media over the past 24 hours.
“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. We were wrong. We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.
“Our initial belief was based on witness statements about the incident. Subsequent interviews have revealed that Taubman’s inappropriate comments were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters. Accordingly we have terminated Brandon Taubman’s employment with the Houston Astros. His conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action.
“We are thankful to Major League Baseball and to everyone that cooperated in the investigation. As previously stated, the Astros are very committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence. We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence. We will continue to make this cause a priority for our organization.”
While today’s decision does not resolve the issue (and the team has yet to apologize for suggesting Apstein fabricated a story), the Astros should be credited for admitting their mistakes and making the presumably right decision to part ways with Taubman.