Jim Crane
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In court filings, Astros claim they sincerely apologized for cheating

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The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reports that, in recent court filings pertaining to a lawsuit filed against the team, the Astros claim they sincerely apologized for their elaborate sign-stealing operation. It is the team’s first official response to the litigation.

Astros lawyers wrote, “The ‘sign-stealing’ controversy has been a source of great disappointment to Astros fans as well as to the Astros organization. On several occasions, members of the Astros organization – including individual players and its Owner, Jim Crane – have expressed their sincere apologies and remorse for the events described in the report by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

Crane didn’t really apologize. At a press conference last month, Crane said, “Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that.”

In extremely brief statements to the media, both Alex Bregman and José Altuve spoke in the passive voice in an attempt to shirk responsibility. As if the whole cheating scheme was something that just happened to occur as opposed to being a concerted effort by players that went unchecked by several levels of management.

The Astros have a history of not apologizing when caught with their pants around their ankles. When they have had their arm twisted into giving an apology, their apologies have been weak. Consider that it took the Astros nearly a week to rescind a statement in which it accused Sports Illustrated journalist Stephanie Apstein of a “misleading and completely irresponsible” report about then-assistant GM Brandon Taubman taunting female reporters about Roberto Osuna — arrested for domestic violence in 2018 — when the Astros defeated the Yankees in the ALCS. The report turned out to be entirely accurate and Taubman was fired not long thereafter.

An apology should be heartfelt, acknowledge the bad behavior as well as those negatively impacted by it, and state what corrected actions will be taken in the future. None of the Astros’ apologies — if you can call them that — for any of their nefarious behavior in recent years, has passed muster.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. After hearing Crane, Bregman, and Altuve last month, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said, “There’s no sincerity, there’s no genuineness when it comes to it.”

Alex Rodriguez, who was wrapped up in a cheating scandal of his own back in 2013-14, acknowledged on ESPN during a spring training telecast that he handled his situation poorly. He offered the Astros an opportunity to learn from his mistakes, saying, “People want to see remorse, they want a real, authentic apology, and they have not received that thus far.”

This is all mostly immaterial as the lawsuit is about whether or not the Astros owe season ticket holders recompense. That being said, the Astros wanting official credit for apologizing is to want credit for doing the absolute bare minimum. And they didn’t even do that well, if one can say they did it at all.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.