The Astros will face Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tonight in a home game. As Sportsnet reports, it’s the first time the roof will be open at game time in August at Minute Maid Field since August 6, 2004. One wonders if it’s not a mere coincidence that Dickey will be on the mound when the Astros end a decade-long streak.
Dickey’s performance with the roof open has been a topic of conversation ever since Dickey joined the Blue Jays. Earlier this season, the Jays opened the roof at the Rogers Centre, and Dickey proceeded to dominate the Athletics over 8 1/3 innings. After the game, Dickey told the media, “Don’t anybody ask me questions about the roof.”
The Astros may be opening the roof at their own peril tonight.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?