Astros management apparently heard the outcry against their initial decision to hold Jose Altuve out of Sunday’s season finale — against Altuve’s wishes — in order to protect his lead for the batting title …
Here’s the statement released by the Astros about the sudden change-of-heart: “Altuve approached [interim manager Tom Lawless] prior to today’s game and was passionate about playing today. As the best player, he deserves the right to make that decision.” Altuve’s batting average is at .340. Victor Martinez is at .337.
This would be the first batting title in Astros history. Altuve already broke the franchise’s single-season hits record earlier this month, passing Craig Biggio’s previous mark of 210. Altuve has 223 hits and counting.
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?