A.J. Hinch shows he’s both human and a Man in MLB interview


There is a lot of sadness involved in watching A.J. Hinch’s interview with Tom Verducci on the MLB network. There is obviously sadness for the Astro fans in reliving what has been a huge stain on our team’s one and only MLB title. There is sadness in watching a man dealing with his own failings and taking full responsibility for something that was not all of his doing. It was obvious that Hinch was nervous, honest, contrite and fully human throughout this interview.

It was also uplifting to see someone stand up fully as a man and unblinkingly take on the yoke of responsibility for the cheating scandal. Did he call Mike Fiers a rat? No. Did he blame the players? No. Did he blame the front office? No. Did he say that every other team was doing this? No. Did he say any other team was doing this? No. He said he should have done more and frankly that his inaction led to his guilt.

The most touching thing to me was that his biggest concern when he was fired was that this would pop up on his daughter’s phone at school. He straight out said he knew this was wrong, whether Jeff Luhnow shared the league memo on the subject in a timely manner or not. He came across calmly as someone who wanted to get in front of this, who wanted to get the public interview behind him and who wanted to lead the players on how to handle this when they get to Spring Training.

The ultimate irony was that even though he is no longer leading the team, that he wanted to lead in this moment, perhaps in atonement for not leading them back when this scandal occurred.

A.J. Hinch is human, but he is also a Man with a capital M.

46 comments on “A.J. Hinch shows he’s both human and a Man in MLB interview

  1. Hinch broke the bank by having this interview, and now you say Charlie Morton said he knew about it, then all eyes are on Verlander to comment on “it”.
    What pi$$es me off is when guys like Justin and Altuve retire…..THIS might keep them out of the HOF. Every thing about this pi$$es me off……BUT these guys didn’t kill anybody, they didn’t rob any banks they broke the rules.
    They were not the first, they won’t be the last….I look forward to more investigations over this season, and yes there WILL be more.
    I love A.J. Hinch, and I truly hope he gets another chance to manage. Reading everything written about Luhnow and his envolvment is devastating….he will never work in baseball again. I look forward to the start of the season….maybe the baseball writers will stop writing about “it”, that’s my hope.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Only if he begins to have bad seasons. I have faith that he will overcome and his stats will remain among league leaders. If JL knew this was going on and the “cheating” resulted i n a leader in the statistical categories, I don’t think he would have gotten the contract that he got. Same with Bregman. I believe they are still part of the elite players in the game. I hope they do not prove me wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • One other comment is that the players must now “prove” that the “cheating’ made little or no difference. As we’ve all said when the season starts, just shut up and play baseball.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Z- they coulda/shoulda won the WS in 2019, and apparently there was no cheating. Certainly there was no home-field advantage in the WS. As far as I’m concerned they’ve already put it behind them on the field, but I realize the eyes of public opinion are a different thing.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a cut and paste from Tim on Twitter. I think he, like most of us are really disappointed in Luhnow.
    “ Chris is right. I went from having complete admiration & almost blindly loyalty to Luhnow to finding him disgraceful & embarrassing. He’s stained this organization so badly and I lay most of the blame for Taubman and this sign stealing scandal at his feet. Sorry if you disagree.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When Tim and I used to go to battle of Luhnow back in 2016, most of it was just innocent fun banter. I just didn’t care for what I perceived as JL’s arrogance. Little did I know the man would cause so much long lasting harm to the team I had given my heart and soul to for 40 years. JL ruined so much for so many, Karma will prevail.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here is the question I have to ask though I hate to ask it. Was Chris Correa telling the truth when he said he did what he did as a countermeasure to Luhnow getting access to the Cardinals data system after he left? Not saying Correa is innocent but perhaps he should have a cell mate?

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    • I don’t think that Luhnow is Mother Teresa II. However, there are miles of difference from an employee leaving a firm, and carrying proprietary data with him/her mentally. As to someone breaking into the files and stealing the data back. I think the Cardinals would have sought an injunction if there was a non-compete agreement and they felt Jeff was in violation.

      Now if you phrased the question as “Did Luhnow take credit for things in the Cardinal organization, that others did?” “AND did he have multiple detractors due to his arrogance?” “And did many former co-workers want him to crash and burn” “AND………………” Then that might have sent Chris Correa over the deep end.

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  5. https://sports.yahoo.com/houston-astros-sign-stealing-executive-email-scout-2017-020530673.html

    “One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout,” the email’s sender wrote in a message from August of 2017. “What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings.”

    Let’s not forget this article that came out in November 2019. It appears that Luhnow might not have been the only former employee that took something to his new job, but kept some insurance if something happened in the future. This does NOT appear to be “player driven.”

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  6. Yeah….just what I wanted to read. I apologize if I’m kinda “nervous nellie”, but it’s going to take one pitch to the hand to break Altuves, Springer’s, or Bregman’s, wrists. I don’t think an opposing pitcher would actually throw at their heads, but there are a few ways to get their point across. Take out as many guys as they can may be the story of 2020 season. If one of our guys gets hit, and taken out for 6-8 weeks or more intentionally…..pay everybody what they are owed and shut the door. Because if one gets taken out…..you can bet there will be more, because the more the fires are stoked by ESPN, Sports Illustrated and our own paper….the anger, and rage just gets louder. I’m done.

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    • Becky, I also wonder how players are going to approach certain hitters. We can certainly expect vitriol from certain pitchers against our hitters, but what about guys who are now elsewhere? Will Marwin Gonzalez get targeted? What about Jake Marisnick? Extending it, I’m hoping the Dodgers regret their acquisition of Mookie Betts who has posted the following batting averages in his career:

      2014: .291
      2015: .291
      2016: .318
      2017: .264
      2018: .346
      2019: .295

      As outspoken against players using steroids and PED it would be completely hypocritical for me to not take the same stance against players cheating in this sign stealing mess. I think things will calm down , excepting the occasional idiot like Joe Buck who will mention it every broadcast this year, once we actually start seeing real baseball games being played. Also, I’m going on the record and predicting this will be a bounce back year for pitching across the entire league…despite the efforts of Manfred. However, something I find ironic in this whole mess, is that if pitchers were paranoid about the sign stealing by the Astros the best way they could combat that was through changing the signal sequences more often and not taking as long between pitches. Smarter pitchers could have scripted their first batter and had the catcher’s signals be completely fictitious. They did this routinely back in the 80’s. It’s possible that the infiltration of analytics and ostracizing of anyone considered an old time, baseball guy had a negative impact here.

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  7. For those of you that have not seen the stories of former Astros. Interesting Charlies says ” I think the actions would have been somewhat extreme to stop it.”

    https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz-ex-pirate-charlie-morton-accepts-scorn-for-astros-cheating-more-need-to-do-the-same/

    https://www.clarionledger.com/story/sports/mlb/2020/01/24/dallas-keuchel-apologizes-astros-sign-stealing-white-sox/4569814002/

    DK’s take on Fiers. “It sucks to the extent of the clubhouse rule was broken and that’s where I’ll go with that,” Keuchel said. “I don’t really have much else to say about Mike.”

    And another from DC saying it was NOT player driven.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/02/08/sean-doolittle-speaks-out-latest-report-astros-sign-stealing-we-need-answers/

    I am not giving the players a pass but it appears that it came from the top. And in the interview, Hinch said he did NOT get a copy of the Commish email but immediately said he was till to blame. No excuse from AJ.

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  8. Let’s just take everyone on this team, and all the coaches and SHOOT THEM.
    Nothing will ever satisfy anyone I’m not going to read anything more about “it” just makes me more sad and angry.😭

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  9. In any other year of my adult life I would be soo excited that spring training was in a few days, and wondering if the Astros would sign another pitcher before the season started. But here I am along with THOUSANDS of other Astros fans with our hearts torn out, and anger that won’t go away. How do we tell our kids and grandchildren that their hero’S cheated, not just ONE year….but for the last *3* years. My grandkids came in from Memphis to watch the 2019 World Series with me….we went to Minute Maid so they could take the tour of the park, and Tate wanted a Bregman jersey. I didn’t tell them, but I threw everything I had that I had collected over the last 40-50 years….in the garbage. Tate will still wear his new jersey, because 9yr Olds are more forgiving than most adults are. So here I am posting on a blog that has been my one and only earthly passion, for the last 12-15 yrs about a baseball team that broke my heart. I’m not excited about the beginning of a new baseball season….I’m too sad and angry. Becky⚾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky, just remember that we are a fallible and that while our team has let us down, it’s not the end of the world. I for one never placed anyone upon a pedestal because they will either be knocked off or fall on their own accord. If I were you I’d go back and fetch my memorabilia and put it away in one of those big totes. That way it’s out of your site and hopefully out of mind. You might one day want to get it out again. I have several Astros items and a guy recently gave me a couple of pairs of Astro socks. I will wear them proudly when the time comes. They are still my team. Yes, I am disappointed and saddened but I believe this will pass. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow and position players on the 16th.

      I’ll tell you what makes me angry is all the BS now that all these other pitchers are suing, complaining that their careers were ruined, etc. I guess we’ll now hear from every pitcher or team the Astros’ faced was irreparably damaged by the “cheating”, Tanaka being the latest. A poll says that the majority of fans want the WS title taken away. Sounds like a bunch of whining crybabies to me. Soon we’ll be hearing that the Astros ruined pitching careers for pitchers that never even faced the Astros. The hypocrisy of this is that nobody raised this kind of hell during the Steroids era and I think that on an individual basis that was much worse. Unfortunately, this is not going to stop so we’ll just have to endure it for a while. I have no idea how the players feel but they should be ashamed of themselves and they should appoint a spokesperson who apologizes, explains, or whatever and then move on. I sincerely believe that had this been the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox (still awaiting those findings) this would not be that big of a deal but it’s the Houston Astros (the team that everybody now loves to hate). I don’t and it’s time for all the haters that are coming out of the woodwork to knock it off.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Becky – I know everyone has to address this in their own way. I wore an Astros shirt for the first time in forever on Sunday (though I really did not go anywhere but the gas station).

    I am not sure I find this article reassuring or not – but fangraphs did a more detailed look at the can banging…..
    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-most-important-bangs-of-the-astros-scheme/

    While it appears certain players benefitted from this – the article straight out quotes the following from one of their analysts

    “When the fix was in, the Astros received a substantial advantage. But when the players in the tunnel thought they had cracked the code and it turned out they hadn’t, it harmed the batters at the plate more than knowing the incoming pitch helped them. … The net effect of the banging comes astonishingly close to being zero. Nothing. Statistically, for all the work and effort that went into the cheating scheme, the grand result of it, at least as measured in this way, turned out to be no runs at all.”

    The fact that this did not really help them overall is extremely frustrating. THEY DID NOT NEED TO DO THIS!

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  11. With a little time and distance from watching the Hinch interview, there are some things that have struck me about it that are bothersome. What bothers me is not much of anything Hinch did himself. He was overall honorable, he not only fell on his sword he sharpened it up before he fell on it.

    Looking back on it, I wondered how much MLB controlled the questioning (on the MLB network). There were some things that I thought should have been asked by Tom Verducci that were never asked.
    – Did Hinch know or suspect other teams were doing this? Which ones? Regular season? Playoffs?
    – Follow up on the 2019 buzzer question – The way Hinch answered this felt like the only time he was being disingenuous. Here’s the deal – the only way in my mind that they could have done this in 2019 (when the videos made available to the dugouts wer on time delay) would be if the front office was grabbing the live feed elsewhere and pushing the buzzer there – in other words perhaps Luhnow or one of his minions was doing this directly to a player and bypassing Hinch (even though he might have been aware).
    – They did not ask about Cora or Beltran – even to get a “That is still being investigated and I can’t comment” comment
    – They did not ask which players were involved and if any of them had come to him and asked him to stop it. They didn’t ask how often and when in the game this was used
    – They really did not go deep on the relationship between Hinch and Luhnow. Sure, they asked about whether the memo was distributed in a timely manner, but they never really asked if the front office had a role in setting this up and causing this to happen. Did the front office tell Hinch that Cora and Beltran were brought in for this very reason and so grin and bear it? Did the front office deal with the players directly on any of this? Did he ever talk to Luhnow about stopping this?
    – Why did he all of a sudden beat the heck out of the monitor? Did he do it because he knew cheating was wrong? Or did he do it because the Astros misinterpreted the signs and sent the wrong signal to a batter that ended up with a game ending strike out?

    The biggest problem I had with the interview is that it was done in a way that put it in a very convenient box that did not extend away from Hinch in any direction. I suspect this was all at the direction of the MLB and is part of the penance Hinch has to do to ever get back on the field again.

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  12. “I should have done more” is a carefully crafted statement, Dan. Exactly what does it mean? Whom does it seek to protect and who not? Many questions arise from the interview. The hemorrhaging gets worse daily, with a possible class action suit pending to benefit children’s charities, and I thought at first the trash cans were a comic sidelight.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My question is this. Who was in the video room? Was it a person/player who normally manned the video as well as who did the trash can banging? And here’s a strange question. A lot of times Julia Morales was in the camera well at the end of the dugout. Did she ever notice anything? More thoughts to ponder.
    Good unanswered questions from your comment Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have thought of Julia Morales several times as she and our manager displayed a lot of chemistry in their interviews. Would be interested in her take.

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  14. Daveb – your nephew Tyler White was just DFA’d by the Dodgers – he is out of options so he is available on waivers to anyone who is interested….
    This is fall-out from the Betts/Price acquisition as White and another Dodger are being dropped from the 40 man

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Second Zanuda. Didn’t mean to ignore your questions, Dan. Very good and apropos. I’m just reeling. I like AJ Hinch, support him, but something doesn’t add up here and it doesn’t take a genius to sense it.

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  16. So far, Cora and Beltran have pretty much gotten a free pass from everyone, including the media for their actions while wearing an Astro uniform. Sure they lost jobs, but one day we’ll hear that while Hinch should have shown some cojones and stopped the whole thing, he was told to ignore what was going on. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving Hinch a free pass. It pisses me off that he let it happen. He could have saved the organization and kept his own integrity intact. No way Luhnow could have fired him either. That would have blown the whole thing up much earlier. There are so many people that know so much more abut this thing than we’ve heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I wish Trevor Bauer would learn to speak his mind. Quit pussyfooting around.

    “No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct this to you, Rob Manfred. Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball. You’re a joke.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The Astros twitter feed over at astrosdaily.com….has explosive stuff coming out about Carlos Beltran and his setting up this whole sign stealing crap. I don’t have a subscription to the Athletic but it has the rest of the story. McCann stepped in to stop it, but he couldn’t. I’m sure if small snippets are coming out, there will be a complete article about “it” in a day or two. I’m a gambler and I’m gonna bet when everything is known about his involvement…it might just be the thing that keeps Beltran out of the HOF. Go read it yourself.

    Like

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