The Houston Astros are at the center of one of the biggest scandals in baseball history and they need a new public relations strategy.
According to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, the Houston Astros organization has a culture problem. They also have a huge public relations problem because everything the players have said regarding one of the biggest scandals in baseball history has made everything so much worse.
At the Astros’ FanFest event, reporters finally had the opportunity to ask the players about the “player-driven” sign-stealing scandal that resulted in the firing of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Their answers were… well… the absolute worst.
Alex Bregman on sign-stealing saga: “The Commissioner came out with a report, MLB did their report and the Astros did what they did. They made their decision on what they’re going to do.”
More from Bregman in this video: pic.twitter.com/dKIfVFROFS
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) January 18, 2020
Let’s start with the king of the Astros’ swaggering over the past few years, Alex Bregman. After all that trash talk over the years, he only had one thing to say to reporters. “The commissioner made his report.”
Let’s all hope to god that someone from the public relations office didn’t prepare that statement for him. They had to know that reporters were going to ask about the scandal, right?
And their “prepared statement” was that the report existed? That is absolutely ridiculous. How about something more along the lines of “we’ve made mistakes in the past but we’re looking forward to proving that we’re a good team.” Because that would have been a lot more satisfying then “The commissioner made his report.”
"Believe me, at the end of the year everything will be fine. We’re gonna be in the World Series again."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 18, 2020
“Believe me, in the end of the year everything will be fine,” Altuve assured Astros fans. “We’re gonna be in the World Series again. People don’t believe it. We will. We made it last year and were one game away from winning it all. I’m happy for the Nationals, they won everything. They’re a really good team and they deserve it, but we’ll be in the World Series again—maybe with them and maybe with another team.”
PR 101: Never make a prediction like this in the midst of one of the biggest scandals in baseball history. Sure, Altuve is trying to show that Houston is still the most confident team in baseball. But maybe, just maybe, that’s not the right play in this situation.
Perhaps instead of predicting another World Series appearance, it might be wise to just keep it simple. “We’re a good team and we’re going to prove that.” That’s all Altuve needed to say.
Lofty predictions generally end up on “Old Takes Exposed” on Twitter. Especially when the team’s best pitcher joined the competition, they are without a general manager or a manager, and the only thing anyone’s talking about is how the sign-stealing may have impacted the team’s success.
Even if these unbelievably tone-deaf quotes aren’t coming from the Astros PR department, somebody there should have said, “Hey guys, here’s what not to say in front of the cameras.”
But clearly no one did. And so, writers from every city except Houston have a whole batch of fun quotes to discuss.
Personally, I like it better this way. Watching Alex Bregman squirm under the pressure of reporters was a delight. Replaying Altuve’s quote after an early playoff exit will be even more of a delight. The Astros cheated the game of baseball and now they’re going to pay the karmic price.
However, if I were an Astros fan, I’d be absolutely furious with these quotes.