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Astros retract statement, apologize to Stephanie Apstein

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The Brandon Taubman saga has finally, mercifully come to a conclusion as Astros owner Jim Crane personally issued an apology to Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein and retracted the club’s statement which impugned her credibility. Crane’s letter to Apstein read, “On behalf of the Astros organization, I want to personally apologize for the statement we issued on Monday October 21st. We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism. We retract that statement, and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience.”

The saga began when the Astros walked off against the Yankees to clinch a World Series berth thanks to José Altuve’s two-run home run. Closer Roberto Osuna had blown a save opportunity the half-inning prior, serving up a two-run homer to DJ LeMahieu. In the post-game celebration, Apstein reported that assistant GM Brandon Taubman targeted a group of three female reporters, one of which was wearing a purple bracelet for domestic violence awareness, yelling, “Thank God we got Osuna!“. Osuna was arrested in Toronto last year and charged with assault against the mother of his son. The Astros acquired Osuna from the Blue Jays two and a half months later, just ahead of the trade deadline.

The Astros responded to Apstein’s report by calling it “misleading and completely irresponsible,” and accused Sports Illustrated of attempting to “fabricate a story where one does not exist.” However, Apstein’s story was vouched for by several other journalists. Taubman himself even admitted the story was true. He was fired shortly thereafter, but it took almost a full week for the club to issue a retraction and an apology to Apstein and Sports Illustrated.

Crane claims the Astros “will learn from this experience.” Nothing the club has done since Jeff Luhnow took over suggests the organization should get the benefit of the doubt, but any improvement in behavior will be welcome.

In the meantime, the Astros are looking ahead to Game 5 of the World Series, which is now Max Scherzer-less.

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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