Astros’ Black Monday: A year ago

January 13th of 2020 was a dark day for the Astros’ organization, but it would pale in comparison to what was coming around the corner for the world. Around lunchtime, on that day it was announced that the MLB was suspending Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a season as part of the punishment for the Astros’ cheating scandal. The team was fined $5 million and first and second-round draft picks were taken away from the team for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. No players were punished and no other action was taken against any other personnel or the club owner Jim Crane.

Before that information could totally sink in, Jim Crane stepped up and in what was suspected as a pre-ordained agreement with the MLB, fired Hinch and Luhnow. The Astros went out and found a very, experienced and calm figure of a manager in the 70-year-old Dusty Baker. They also went out and found a much younger and wonkier 42-year-old GM James Click from the Tampa organization.

Three weeks later, A.J. Hinch did a fairly complete mea culpa on the MLB network, the result of which, he was hired to be the Detroit Tigers new manager right when his suspension was complete. Jeff Luhnow did not truly speak out on the scandal until nine months later and it was basically a mea no culpa as he said like Sergeant Schultz “I knew nothing”. As a result, he was not in line for any jobs and in fact a few weeks later in November 2020 sued his former team for what he considers an unjust firing, that was a negotiated result between the owner and major league baseball.

January 13 was a shocking day for Houston sports fans. We suspected based on what had been rattling around that something would happen to our team and that the team would wear a sports version of The Scarlet Letter as it toured around baseball. But it was quite shocking to suddenly lose the most successful GM and Manager the team had ever known, two men who had brought a championship to the city and had put together a team that was a threat every year to go all the way.

The 2020 season due to COVID was a challenge to every organization. The team faced a ton of losses due to free agency, COVID and injury, but somehow limped along and caught fire in the playoffs to get within one win of the World Series.

So here we are a year later. We have our likely long term GM in Click (at least as long term as any person is in this “what have you done for me lately” world). We have a very likely short term manager in Baker, who is more likely to leave on his own terms due to age than to be removed. And we have a team that has basically dodged the bullet of full house road games booing the heck out of them for their misdeeds.

Have the actions of a year ago sunk in? What do we think about that?

Have the misdeeds of 2017 and 2018 sunk in? What do we think about that?

Has the injustice of major league baseball putting almost all their investigation and punishment in one basket (the Astros’ basket) sunk in? What do we think about that?

Does all this hurt less with time or will it stick with us the rest of our rooting days?

27 comments on “Astros’ Black Monday: A year ago

  1. The most surprising thing for me is realizing how little I actually care since the cheating came out. Then everything with Covid and complications from my having it. So honestly interest, my pep AND my loyalty are pretty much gone. Only my Rockies and El way stepping down as Broncos GM are keeping me interested in professional sports right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And in “Beard” news – the Rockets traded the other Beard (Non-Keuchel) to the Nets for a slew of draft picks and other players.
    Don’t normally talk much about basketball – but this will be huge news in Houston.

    Liked by 1 person

    • About damn time. I haven’t cared about the Rockets in 20 or so years (always been a Nuggets fan first and foremost) but players like Harden with their “me me me” style of play always piss me off.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a new year and as usual, I’ll still pull for the Astros. Across the nation, there are fans that feel as I do that the Astros while guilty, were not the only team doing so. The league didn’t want to call out any of the pretty boy teams (yankees, red sox, dodgers) so the Astros became the whipping boy. If the Astros get to play in Yankee stadium this season, I’ll be there as I have in the past. I usually attend with several of my yankee fan friends with my Astro cap on. I have experienced some harsh looks and been given the bird many times in the past. As an old Vietnam veteran, I have seen harsher opposition. May our players man up and play their best.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Larry thank you for your service and good for you wearing that cap into the devil’s den.
      Yeah, I am sure they went out of their way t0 make sure there was not a Mike Fiers coming out about the big boys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • His worth is what he gets, correct? My house’s value is what I can sell it for.
        I would say the Astros think he is worth what they sign him for.

        Like

      • Yes, but there is such a thing as “overpaying”. If somebody wants to pay you twice what your house is worth then good for you. I just hope this guy is worth what the Astros will be paying. IMO I have no idea if this guy is worth that amount.
        Kind of like giving Machado, Harper, Cole $300MM plus. Time will tell if they are worth it.

        Like

      • We really overpaid Peacock, Devenski and Osuna last year. If Baez delivers some decent innings this year, we are way ahead of 2020

        Like

  4. If I try to look back on 2020 it really affects my blood pressure. I try not to rehash “it”. I must try to move forward and this is 2021.
    We get Covid vaccine shots today, right on the heels of finding out that two of our family members have gotten sick from it. I’m pissed at them because they wouldn’t follow the recommendations. I love them and want them to be OK, but I need to move forward.
    First: Today
    Then: Tomorrow is January 15th.
    Then: I will get going on the Astros. Unhand me and I will spill all of it for I am bursting with orange blood.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah we got into this one back on the Yordan Alvarez post, AC. But don’t feel bad about it – I linked to it after someone else had already linked to another version of the story.
      Yes, we must at all costs contain cheating to one team and one team only and definitely stay away from the Yankees and Red Sox (I am sure they will find Cole only cheated for us and not for the Yanks).

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  5. Playing off what OP was saying above about what we paid for what we got in 2020…… Considering each player got paid about 37% of their contract amount due to the shortened season….

    Brad Peacock – $1.44 MM for 2.1 Innings
    Chris Devenski – $740K for 3.2 Innings
    Roberto Osuna – $3.7 MM for 4.1 Innings
    Joe Biagini – $370 K for 4.1 Innings
    Justin Verlander – $12.2 MM for 6 Innings

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  6. The ‘Black Monday’ revelations, and the predictable fall-out, have combined with general craziness in the world to convince this old fellow that I will never again see another live baseball game – in person, on television, or via internet. Not mad, not hurt; just wiser and more focused on things that matter a whole lot more than grown men getting all worked up about playing a kid’s game. Hey, it was a good love affair – 65 years. But I’ve moved on. All I care about now is you guys and girls – who have become old and dear friends. I’ll be here, lurking. Hopefully I will even get a song from time to time to keep everyone smilin’!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know the feeling Mr. Bill, but I have to say I will not be able to keep myself away from watching Yordan Alvarez hit. It’s Must See for me, but I sure understand the feeling that there are more important things in the world.

      Like

  7. Dr. Hook (or at least Shel Silverman) might say:

    Jeff Luhnow’s mother says, ‘Jeff’s phone’s not busy’;
    in fact, no one’s called him in days.”
    Jeff Luhnow’s mother says: Jeff’s doin’ crosswords,
    when he’s not outside soakin’ up rays.”
    And Jeff Luhnow’s mother says: please take him to dinner;
    he’s eaten all my mayonnaise’
    And the Commissioner’s office says: “40 lashes more! For at least . . . three . .. seasons!”
    PLeeee-eee-eease Mrs. Luhnow, we don’t want to talk to him;
    we’ve had enough of that guy!
    Please Mrs. Luhnow we . . . just want to wish him . . .good-bye!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have not thought about or heard that song in forever. Cover of the Rolling Stone got more play but Sylvia’s Mother was just as weirdly fun.

      Shel Silverstein wrote good kid books too. If I remember right he went on Johnny Carson (once) and basically sat there and did not answer any questions because it was obvious Carson had never read any of his stuff.

      Like

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