Yesterday was THE day.
Yesterday was the day we'd finally hear from the Astros players.
Yesterday was the day we'd get some answers.
We wanted the truth. And, you can bet the hounds of media in attendance would make sure we'd get it.
- "Why did you do it?"
- "Did you wear buzzers?"
- "Is your 2017 World Series tainted?"
- "Why didn't you do more to stop it?"
- "Was Carlos Beltran the mastermind?"
Instead, we got more of the same...
- "We're extremely sorry"
- "We regret that it happened."
- "We were wrong."
- "We wish we would have done more to stop it."
Despite their best efforts yesterday, the media (and the fans) were never going to get the answers we wanted. Why? That's an easy one. Once Commissioner Rob Manfred's report absolved the players of any punishment, they were immune from ever having to say anything but, "I'm sorry." Why publicly incriminate themselves more than they had to?They know on the inside their World Series title is tainted, but they don't ever want to admit it publicly. What player would?
Should they have said more? Of Course. Should they have been more honest about their actions? Absolutely. It's in our human nature to want the truth. But, in their minds, this isn't a black and white controversy. The gray is smeared all over the place.
Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman were the first players in the hot seat.
Saying they handled it poorly would be an understatement. The prepared speeches were a waste of time. But you can be sure they were told to do that from Crane and the PR staff.
Both Altuve and Bregman, and most all of the other players spoke more openly and freely in the locker room portion, but by then the damage was done.
I wanted to see from-the-heart. I wanted to see emotion. I wanted to see honesty. Bregman looked like he spent all night preparing for his statement and was trying to speak it from memory.
Both failed before they took the podium.
Jim Crane had one defining moment in this whole controversy, immediately firing Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch after the Commissioner's report came down. It's been a hot mess since. (Hiring Dusty Baker was a nice second) Yesterday was not a good day, but it was never going to be. He contradicted himself and showed no real remorse for the other teams and players involved. Again, Crane admitting they cheated would be him publicly admitting their World Series is tainted. He'll never go there. No owner would.
One big gripe you had have with Crane's session, after several questions, Astros PR head Gene Diaz said, "OK, guys, we have time for a couple more..."
Jim Crane should have told him "I'll sit here all day. We screwed up royally and I'll face the music all day if I have to."
Diaz and the PR staff failed miserably today, like fireable offense miserable. This is the biggest baseball scandal since the steroid era (maybe bigger), and they treated it like small town, high school drama.
It’s shocking the Astros didn't hire a big-time crisis management firm to help them through this. That's not even debatable. It's common sense.
This is going to be the toughest season for any sports team to navigate than we've ever seen. Vegas odds still having the Astros winning 98 games and the AL West. But, I gotta be honest, I don't know how they're going to deal with the constant questions and criticism all year, especially on the road, and oh yeah, still try to win games.
We wanted and deserved more yesterday, but we didn't get it. We were never going to hear it.
Will we one day? Maybe, but doubtful.
There is only one question that we really want answered...Is their 2017 World Series tainted?
As Jim Crane said, that's for you to decide.