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Every Parent Can See the Astros’ Apologies Are Total BS

The team's owner and two of its stars finally addressed the team's cheating scandal. It wasn't great.

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As you raise a kid, one of the things you gain is a much stronger bullshit detector. Kids lie, whether it’s about washing their hands before dinner, already having finished their homework, or where they actually were when you catch them sneaking back into the house at two in the morning.

We mention this because a press conference held by the Houston Astros yesterday featured a litany of ineffective apologies that has to be seen to be believed, the kind of answers that anyone will a kid can instantly recognize for what they are: bullshit.

First, some background. Last fall, thirteen days after they lost the World Series to the Washington Nationals, the Houston Astros were hit with a bombshell report from The Athletic detailing their illegal scheme to steal signs and alert batters if an off-speed pitch was coming, a competitive advantage that helped them become arguably the best team in the game over the past three seasons.

After mostly avoiding the media all winter and on the first day of Spring Training, when the team took the unusual step of sealing the clubhouse to reporters, Astros owner Jim Crane and stars Alex Bregman and Jose Alutve finally faced reporters. But if their goal was to silence critics, reassure fans, and atone for their sins, they failed miserably.

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First up, Crane: “You know our opinion is, you know, that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series, and we’ll leave it at that.”

This statement actually is worse than a mere non-apology because it says that his team’s actions didn’t matter at all. It’s the equivalent of your kids saying “It didn’t matter that I didn’t come home when I said I would because we were having family dinner late anyways. The issue isn’t the results, it’s the poor decision.

Crane even further undercut himself when he contradicted that statement less than a minute later.

ESPN reporter Marly Rivera noticed that the apology Crane did eventually offer—”I want to say again how sorry our team is for what happened”—felt insincere, so she pushed for an explanation, as every parent would. It didn’t go well.

Like the rest of the players involved in the scandal, Bregman and Altuve escaped punishment as part of a cooperation agreement that granted them immunity from the league. In other words, they got off scot-free.

Bregman recited an apology that was fine, but his desire at the end to “move on” derailed it.

If you truly feel terrible about something you’ve done, you don’t urge people to move on, you wait for them to move on at their own pace. How mad would you be if your kid skipped school and told you to “move on” before you were finished reprimanding them? That’s how fans of other teams, particularly the Yankees and Dodgers, whom the Astros beat to win the American League and World Series in 2017, feel right now.

Altuve, whose diminutive frame, big smile, and impressive bat made him one of the game’s most widely beloved players before the scandal, didn’t do much better. His remarks focused on how bad he and his teammates feel, with the damage they’ve done mentioned briefly in a non-emotional way.

If your kid is giving a so-so apology, asking them to specifically identify why what they did was wrong is a good way to a) see how sincere they are and b) make sure they do know why what they did was wrong. Unfortunately, neither Bregman nor Altuve took questions after their statements, so we didn’t get a chance to see how they’d do under this test.

The Astros are going to be booed all season, and probably for the rest of their careers, but if they’re able to deliver some genuine apologies that acknowledge their wrongdoing and the damage they did, it might help at least some baseball fans start to forgive them.