A charity event put on by Astros’ wives ends due to a lack of wives

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This is what happens when you rebuild a roster with youth.

The wives of Houston Astros players have, for several years, put on a charity gala to benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center. A minor brouhaha has erupted over the past few days when it was learned that the Wives Gala would not be held this year, which will have a negative impact on the Women’s Center. Two Astros blogs are even protesting it by going dark for a day.

There have been a few competing explanations for this. One was a change in focus of Astros charities under the new ownership group, but today there came a statement from the Astros Vice President of Community Relations on that which gets to the point a bit more directly:

There was no event canceled because there was no event planned because the wives group no longer had any wives in it,” Vaillancourt said. “This change is not at all a reflection on the value of the Women’s Center. We really respect and appreciate everything that the Women’s Center does.”

In other news, the Astros will not be growing playoff beards due to their lack of ability to grow facial hair and will have no champagne showers because the only guy of age on that team when they broke camp just got signed by the Mets.

UPDATE: My knowledge of how any team spends its charity money is pretty low. As I imagine it is on the part of most fans and even team bloggers. For that reason I can’t weigh in with any sort of authority on how the Astros handle their philanthropic pursuits and can’t criticize or endorse bloggers’ decision to boycott coverage of the team for a day. Heck, I can think of reasons to boycott the Astros based sheerly on the basis of watching them closely being cruel and unusual punishment.

That said, if there is a change in the Astros’ charitable direction, it’s probably worth noting that there are still some pretty major charitable acts being led by and or joined by the Astros.  I don’t think most of us on the outside are in a great position to judge how well a team is doing in this regard, whether it’s making good choices or bad ones or any of that.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.