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You can’t move on from something you haven’t faced up to

That’s not how it works.

Did not age well

Neither Jose Altuve nor Alex Bregman, two principal players on a 2017 team that executed what Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred described as a “player-driven and player-executed” system to violate baseball’s rules and defraud the game, chose Saturday to address specifics of a nine-page report on the scandal that led to the dismissal of general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.

If there is remorse and apology, that will come later, perhaps next month after the ballclub gathers at West Palm Beach, Fla, for spring training. But for the moment, if there are fences to be mended, feelings to be reconciled or trust to be regained, Astros fans apparently will be left to their own devices.

Until the players speak, the focus of the Astros’ efforts to cope with and move past what some have described as baseball’s worst performance-related scandal in a century remains on owner Jim Crane, who made the decision last Monday to fire Hinch and Luhnow rather than settle for the suspensions imposed by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

By firing his manager and general manaager, said Gene Grabowski, a principal with the public relations firm kglobal, the Astros have made the appropriate sacrifice for their sins to the Lords of Baseball.

“They have thrown the virgin into the volcano,” Grabowski said.

With that, he said, the most important task facing Astros management is to move ahead, as Crane has done by apologizing to season ticket holders, contacting sponsors and receiving what he described as messages of continued support.

“You have to get past this,” Grabowski said.


Astros alumni Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman also emphasized the need to look ahead.

“When I get a spanking from my dad, he doesn’t quit loving me and I don’t quit being his son,” Berkman said. “The Astros aren’t going to stop being part of Major League Baseball. You have to accept the punishment and move on.

“This is a clean organization. This is not a dirty organization. This is not a tricky organization. All these things notwithstanding, this is a great organization, and I think it will continue to be.”

Bagwell agreed with Altuve that it’s too early for players to react to the specific charges outlined in the commissioner’s report.

“Everyone is still trying to wrap their heads around it,” he said.

Others, however, favor a more direct approach. Jeff Van Gundy, the former Rockets coach who now works for ESPN, said the forgiving nature of Houston fans and the old saw that confession is good for the soul would be a better avenue than silence.

“You don’t have to get into specifics, but you can say, ‘I’m sorry for the role that I played in this, and I promise the Astros fans that not only will I promise not to do it again, I won’t tolerate anybody else doing it,’ ” Van Gundy said.

While some fans will scoff at the idea that players did anything wrong by violating the rules in a sport where competition is everything and winning is the only thing, Van Gundy said, “The earlier you deal with it, the more forthright you are, the better.

“Saying ‘I screwed up’ is the hardest thing to do. But it’s the simplest way to be forgiven.”

I’m with Van Gundy here. Look, the main thing we know here is that other than then-coach Alex Cora, the whole “banging scheme” was player-devised and player-driven. Yet for a variety of understandable if debatable reasons, MLB chose to punish only the manager and GM. This has not only left the public wanting players to be held accountable as well, it’s also left every member of the Astros team from 2017 and 2018 under a cloud. That cloud isn’t going anywhere until the players themselves talk about their own role in what happened, whether as a ringleader, beneficiary of the scheme, or just someone who didn’t care for it but didn’t speak up about it. This isn’t complicated. The Astros themselves can feel however they want about all this, but if they want other people to move on, they need to own what they did and apologize for it.

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  1. Flypusher says:

    Altuve and Bregman executed those non-answer answers as if they were experienced politicians. Berkman was also doing the side step around the unpleasant truth. Disappointing, but not completely unexpected. I don’t want to wear any of my Astros gear these days.

  2. Jules says:

    Why is Berkman getting spanked by his dad? I’m guessing curfew violations and sass back.

  3. brad says:

    Berkman and Bagwell are giving a bad name to bricks. Boy, are these 2 guys dumb.

    “This is a clean organization. This is not a dirty organization… “….really?

    “Bagwell agreed with Altuve that it’s too early for players to react to the specific charges outlined in the commissioner’s report.”….Being caught red-handed is not the right time to talk about it…maybe apologize to the fans…Maybe Bagwell is right…I suppose the best time to talk about it is after they’ve retired and right before Hall of Fame voting.

  4. brad says:

    “Astros alumni Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman also emphasized the need to look ahead.”

    Classic. Just like spoiled sports stars.

    Who doesn’t want to ‘put it behind them’ when they’ve been shown to be complete cheats and want to avoid any of that difficult taking responsibility for their actions.

  5. brad says:

    This all reminds me of that jerk Craig Biggio when Biggio stormed into owner Drayton McClane’s office and demanded that “scab” pitcher Craig McMurtry be thrown off the team because it was ruining team morale. [This was after a player strike ended]. Also, the Astros pitching staff refused to let McMurtry sit on the dugout bench in the Astrodome during games and he had to stand.

    Of course, McMurtry was known by Biggio (and other Astros) to be playing as a ‘scab’ in order to earn money to pay for significant costs related to his daughter’s serious illnesses.

    Biggio never apologized for his actions.

    Spoiled brats.

  6. C.L. says:

    Zero confessions and/or zero remorse from the players at this point is…problematic for the Astros organization and their relationship with the fan base, at present and going forward. Good grief, who’s running the PR machine over at Minute Maid ?

    (1) “This is a clean organization.” UH, NO IT WASN’T.
    (2) “This is not a dirty organization.” UMM, YES IT WAS.
    (3) “This is not a tricky organization.” SEE NO. 1 AND 2, ABOVE.

  7. […] You know my opinion. I just hope that if and when they do offer an apology, it’s genuine and heartfelt and not one of those “if anyone was offended” abominations. Better to fully embrace being the heel than to half-ass it, that’s my advice. Joe Holley has more. […]