The entirely self-inflicted Brandon Taubman debacle has turned the Houston Astros into World Series villains for many, but it has also caused at least one baseball professional to turn the Fall Classic off.
New York Yankees announcer Suzyn Waldman said in a phone interview with the Boston Globe that she has opted to not watch the World Series between the Astros and Washington Nationals this year because of Taubman’s actions and the Astros’ response to the backlash.
“I haven’t watched one second of this World Series,” Waldman reportedly said. “I can’t, because of this. Everyone is just smiling and talking about baseball like none of this happened.”
The story is well-known across baseball by now. The Astros traded for closer Roberto Osuna in 2018 despite a suspension for an alleged domestic abuse incident. Osuna remained effective but allowed a game-tying homer in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees.
A victorious Taubman, the now-former assistant general manager of the Astros, taunted a group of female reporters — one of whom was wearing a domestic violence ribbon and has tweeted frequently about the matter — by repeatedly shouting “I’m so f---ing glad we got Osuna.”
The story was bad enough, but the Astros made it so, so much worse by attempting to completely rebuke the initial account of the incident from Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, calling her now-substantiated story “misleading,” “completely irresponsible” and an “attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.” Several reporters who witnessed the incident, including Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser, immediately contradicted the Astros’ statement.
Taubman was fired days later, with the Astros admitting they were wrong in questioning Apstein’s story. Waldman felt the attempted cover-up was worse than the actual incident:
“Listen, they did what they did [signing him], and Osuna did what he did,” Waldman said of the domestic violence case that wasn’t prosecuted when the victim declined to return from her home in Mexico to testify. “He’ll pay for it in a way. He’s never going to see that child or whatever. The [Astros] did what they did. I understand it. I don’t like it, but I understand it. The problem is lying, trying to cover up something that is so hideous anyway, then blaming it on a young woman and trying to ruin her career. That’s the part I can’t look her in the face.
“What they did was worse than Taubman yelling at her, which is vile enough. They tried to ruin a young woman’s career. How do you come back from that?”
Obviously, Waldman’s own organization isn’t clean when it comes to domestic abuse due to Aroldis Chapman’s 30-game domestic violence suspension in 2016. However, the Yankees have never done anything like what the Astros have bumbled their way into.
Waldman has definitely seen her share of Brandon Taubmans in her decades of work as a baseball reporter and broadcaster. You can’t blame her for being fed up with a team that has failed at nearly every opportunity to show accountability for an incident that has become one of the stories of the World Series.
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