Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The Houston Astros PR department is four months into the worst slump of all-time. After organizing a press conference to address the sign-stealing scandal, the statements and answers made the situation worse, yet again. 

Kelly's Comments

While New York Yankees players report to spring training, the team that ousted them last fall can’t get out of their own way.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Houston Astros need a new PR team. After organizing a press conference to apologize for the sign-stealing scandal, owner Jim Crane, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve completely whiffed on the opportunity.

And, of course, this isn’t an isolated PR incident. At the Astros’ fan fest event, Bregman and Altuve were asked to comment on the sign-stealing scandal following the release of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report.

The only quotes fans received from that event were, “The Commissioner made his report” and “we’ll be in the World Series again.”

Later in the press conference, Crane acknowledged the Fan Fest statements claiming that Bregman and Altuve were “caught off guard.” Apparently, nobody in the PR department warned them that in their first public appearance following the scandal breaking, they might be asked about it.

The Astros reported for spring training on Wednesday and provided no media availability. They scheduled this press conference as a chance to meet as a team and prepare an apology.

Well, at the press conference itself Thursday morning, Bregman and Altuve read prepared statements for under two minutes combined. Then they just left. They did not take questions until regular media availability. At no point during those statements did anyone believe that they were truly apologizing for their decisions.

Once again, Altuve blew past the “apology” to assure Astros fans that they’re going to try to win the World Series again. Apparently, nobody from the PR department told him why they scheduled this press conference.

Crane remained at the presser to take questions. In the course of fielding questions, he said he didn’t think sign stealing impacted the game.

When asked by Marly Rivera of ESPN what he’s apologizing for, if it didn’t affect the game, he claimed they were simply apologizing for “breaking the rules.”

I can’t imagine anybody told Crane this was a smart thing to say. Just weeks ago, pitchers took to Twitter to say they’d rather pitch to a steroid user than someone who knew what pitch was coming. To imply that it didn’t impact the game is complete insanity.

It also shows the level of fakeness via the apology. If you don’t fully understand the effects of your actions, how could you possibly apologize for them?

Everything about this press conference screams that the Houston Astros are only sorry they were caught.

It’s also important to note the way that they addressed the accusations that they used buzzers to indicate pitchers to hitters. Crane did not flat-out deny the accusation. He skirted around the question by saying the Commissioner’s report said the buzzers didn’t exist.

If you knew you were innocent of something, what would you say? Would you say, “Well nobody found any evidence of that?” No. You would say, “Those accusations are completely ridiculous and absolutely unfounded.”

To the Astros credit, many of the players showcased actual remorse and apologized sincerely during media availability. Carlos Correa, in particular, addresses the scandal in a respectable manner.

Regardless, the entire press conference was a complete disaster. The Astros had four months to prepare for this moment and they completely botched it to an incredible degree.

It’s just the latest in a string of horrible PR moves by the Houston Astros.

As for the 2020 New York Yankees, all they can do is shrug their shoulders, forget about the nonsense, and get back to playing ball.

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