The Houston Astros have fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, ending a public relations nightmare that has engulfed the team’s World Series appearance.
Taubman was ousted for his confrontation with media in the team clubhouse after Houston’s American League Championship Series victory over the New York Yankees. Sports Illustrated reported that Taubman pointedly shouted, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so [expletive] glad we got Osuna!” toward a gaggle of reporters, including one who criticized the acquisition of Roberto Osuna, the Houston relief pitcher accused of domestic violence and suspended by Major League Baseball for actions while with another team.
The Astros fumbled the explanation for Taubman’s conduct, at first denying the accuracy of the report, then not making senior executives immediately available. Finally, it fell to Astros manager A.J. Hinch to condemn the Taubman comments. A MLB investigation was also conducted, and then, finally, the Astros severed ties with Taubman.
Ironically, Osuna almost blew the final game of the ALCS, allowing a game-tying two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. That made Taubman’s aggressive comments stand out, because Osuna had not been a key to the game and merited no praise.
Osuna allegedly assaulted Alejandra Román Cota, the mother of his child, in May 2018 when he was a Toronto Blue Jay. The charges of domestic violence were dropped when Cota returned to Mexico and declined to testify. MLB suspended Osuna for 75 games.
“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter,” a team statement said. “We were wrong. We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated, and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.
“Our initial belief was based on witness statements about the incident. Subsequent interviews have revealed that Taubman’s inappropriate comments were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters. Accordingly, we have terminated Brandon Taubman’s employment with the Houston Astros.”