Many folks saw the belated one on one interview of Jeff Luhnow on TV Monday night approximately 9 months after he and A.J. Hinch were fired as GM and manager of the Astros, respectively. But if you missed it, here is the Cliff Notes summary of what Luhnow said.
“The Astros cheated in their 2017 season and the seeds of the cheating probably began in 2016 and did not end until sometime in the 2018 season. The Astros were too talented to have to do this. I did not know about this, just like Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Reid Ryan and Jim Crane did not know about this. The Commissioner decided early on he was not going to punish the players or (except for a fine) the owner. But egged on by teams like the Dodgers, there had to be a pound of flesh taken and that punishment fell upon Hinch and me. I have all sorts of evidence I knew nothing, but MLB came investigating until they found what they were looking for to punish me. I was punished based on what one person (I think his name rhymes with Lynch) said, which was that I must have known. Please believe me, I did not know and I waited this long to be interviewed on this subject, so I would not disrupt the Astros playoff run. That is all. Nothing else to see here.”
There are reasons to believe what Luhnow said. He came across very believable. Perhaps that was because he knew exactly what he was going to be asked, but let’s face it for most people, if they lie, it shows. And even knowing a question is coming does not help, actually the anticipation of that question can result in a reaction that shows up on his face or in some inadvertent tic or movement. Jeff seemed straight forward and with a little melancholy.
Also, as someone who used to supervise 200 people, there definitely could be things happening under him that he did not know about. Sometimes a big part of management is trusting those folks below you and not micro-managing their movements. There were things that happened that I may not have known about. There likely were things that happened that Jeff Luhnow did not know about.
But…. there are things that bother us anyways.
- Why did he wait this long to do an interview? A.J. Hinch famously faced the music in an excruciatingly long interview shortly after the firing. This felt like he waited until he had the right situation with a lot more of the emotion out of the moment and with a local reporter, who undoubtedly agreed with him on what questions were going to be asked ahead of time.
- Even if he did not know what was going on, is it way out of bounds to expect him to know what was going on in his clubhouse and with his team? Wasn’t it his responsibility to know that?
- He was also responsible for who was in that clubhouse as far as which players, coaches, video operators, sign code breakers, etc. Did he bring in people that were impeccable or did he bring in people that were a bit edgier?
- And the one that won’t let me jump on the Luhnow bandwagon, wasn’t he responsible for creating a culture where someone would be compelled to tell him what was happening? Either he had created a culture where the players/coaches thought he was in favor of anything that gave the team an edge or he had created a culture where those around the team were afraid to tell him what had happened. Either way, he created a culture where he did not know what happened. Or he lied about it.
In the end, this interview probably did not leave the fans feeling any better than the A.J. Hinch did. The team, unnecessarily, let us down and tarnished the joy of what was the greatest moment in our baseball lifetime.
Neither confessing to it or denying it will ever take away the pain we feel and will probably feel until the team wins the big one on their own.