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Astros to display domestic violence hotline number on fliers in bathroom stalls at Minute Maid Park

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MLB.com’s Alyson Footer reports that the Astros will display the number for the domestic violence hotline on fliers in bathroom stalls at Minute Maid Park. That was one of several efforts the organization committed to in an announcement on Monday. Other efforts include partnering with more than a dozen local and state agencies which advocate for preventing domestic violence.

The Astros Foundation has also donated $214,000 to Family Services of Southeast Texas to complete its women’s center. The Astros Foundation is also donating $10,000 to the Montgomery County Women’s Shelter and will sponsor several fundraisers with The FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center, Fort Bend County Women’s Center, Daya, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, and the Houston Area Women’s Center. Furthermore, the Astros Foundation is partnering with AVDA to facilitate the Futures Without Violence Program which “teaches leaders and coaches how to break the cycle of family violence by educating the next generation.”

The Astros’ effort involving the fliers sticks out, though, because a fan was kicked out of Minute Maid Park last month for holding up a sign simply displaying the number for the Houston Area Women’s Center’s domestic violence hotline number. Hopefully, the Astros have reached out to that fan to apologize and make up for an egregious decision.

The Astros are making this effort because the organization has come under tremendous controversy since trading for embattled closer Roberto Osuna earlier this season. On June 22, Osuna was suspended 75 games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. Osuna had been arrested on May 8 in Toronto and charged with domestic assault. In late September, Osuna showed up in Toronto court and the charges were withdrawn — largely because his accuser did not wish to travel from Mexico to appear in court — and he accepted a peace bond.

In the time since Osuna was acquired, various members of the Astros including Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch, and Ryan Pressly went out their way to defend him from the press and from fans. The Astros’ aforementioned efforts to do right will ring hollow if they continue to bring alleged abusers on board then shield them.

(As I write this, by the way, Osuna just got hammered for five runs in the top of the eighth inning. He gave up a grand slam to Jackie Bradley, Jr. to cap off his disastrous appearance.)

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.