Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane’s decision to fire executive Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch was the right one. Why is that the case? Let’s take a look.
The Houston Astros have less than about a month to go before the pitchers and catchers have to report for Spring Training and the franchise just received a huge blow with the news of the punishments doled by the MLB for their role in a sign-stealing scandal.
As you probably know by now, the MLB has suspended Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch, issued a $5 million fine and have taken away their first and second-round draft picks for the 2020-21 seasons respectively.
In addition, Houston Astros‘ owner Jim Crane made the decision to fire both Luhnow and Hinch, who served as the president of baseball operations/GM and manager respectively.
The news continues to create a shock wave of events that still has us reeling as Houston Astros‘ fans and it will interesting to see how far it will go in terms affecting careers of those that were involved with the scandal.
Crane’s decision to fire both of them was swift and here’s what he had to say about whole ordeal:
"“I felt that, with what came out of the report, they both had responsibility — Jeff running the baseball operation and overseeing AJ and all of those people associated with that,” Crane said. “And AJ, on the bench and was aware. If you read the report it’s pretty clear AJ didn’t endorse this, and neither did Jeff. Neither one of them started this, but neither one of them did anything about it. And that’s how we came to the conclusion.”"
Crane also added this tidbit:
"“I think it was a lot, a lot of good. And some unfortunate things that happened here, when you really break it down, it didn’t make a lot of sense to why we were even doing it. So, I’m optimistic. This thing is deep here. There are a lot of smart people here. I think we’ll have a speed bump here — not to make this light, this is a tough day — but can we recover? Absolutely. And we’ll have a great team next year.”"
Crane has been cleared by the MLB of any wrongdoing and he seems optimistic that the team fielded will be a good one in 2020.
Crane also said that he will oversee baseball operations for the time being and the latest report indicates that Joe Espada will take over managerial operations in the interim until the team can find replacements for the positions that have now been opened.
Espada has served as the team’s bench coach for the past two seasons and he was the obvious choice to manage at least for the time being. He’ll have every opportunity to prove that he can win the job on a permanent basis, depending on how he does this season.
No matter how hard it hurts Houston Astros‘ fans, Crane’s decision is a just one and it’s the correct move to make to allow this organization to get themselves from under this public relations nightmare.
Just like when former president Gerald Ford made the controversial decision on that ill-fated day of pardoning Richard Nixon for his disturbing role in the Watergate scandal back Sep. 8,1974, Crane had to do it to ensure that things move forward.
What I’m getting at is that we’ll be arguing for days on end on whether the Houston Astros should’ve fired/retained those two men.
If the franchise would’ve retained both of them, the questions would’ve resurfaced the minute the suspensions were over and they were able to get back to work.
They’ll now have to answer those questions elsewhere as they are no longer employed by the Houston Astros.
I had a ton of respect for both but it’s extremely hard for me to believe that they didn’t know what was going on — even Crane himself — in regard to the sign-stealing. They were winning games and that’s quite important to the bottom line.
Perhaps this is what precipitated the decision by Crane to push Reid Ryan out of the team president role, insert his son and show Nolan Ryan the door. He may have known what was coming.
But the investigation is complete and the results are what will be the official record.
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This is the darkest day in Houston Astros‘ history, it exudes the blackest of eyes and it’s going to take a long time for it to heal.
Until then, the Houston Astros must continue with business as usual amid the stigma that each player will have to burden with every one of the 162 games they will play this season. It will be an arduous road but they’ll have a lot of work to do in terms of restoring the trust among fans and onlookers of the organization.
They’ll be using their 2020 season as a campaign to only beat as many opponents as they can but to prove that they’re winners without having to steal signs to do it.
For the record, I’m still a fan of the Houston Astros but it’s going to take a lot for them to restore my perception of this franchise.
I’ve never cheated a day in my life and I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve earned. I believe in doing things the right way, being authentic and playing by the rules because the rewards are so much greater when you do it that way. I’d expect the same out of the sports organization that I’ve loved for a lifetime. But they have forsaken me and they’ve got to earn my trust back.
Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, we’re in for a ride…
What do you think? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.