The Houston Astros‘ sign-stealing scandal may be well in the rear-view mirror, but not everyone has moved past it. In the spring, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman made some comments about his team’s World Series drought having to do with the Astros’ sign-stealing in 2017. These comments have led to a back and forth with Astros owner Jim Crane that makes both of these proud men look immature. In this Crane/Cashman exchange, there were no winners.
It has been well documented that the Astros engaged in an illegal sign-stealing operation during their World Series run in 2017. One of the teams that Houston beat en route to the championship was the Yankees. When asked about his teams’ World Series drought this spring, Cashman referenced the Astros scandal. The GM told The Athletic, “The only thing that stopped [the 2017 Yankees] was something that was so illegal and horrific… So I get offended when I start hearing we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09.”
Last month, commissioner Rob Manfred’s letter to the Yankees in 2017 was finally released, detailing an MLB investigation into New York regarding sign-stealing breaches. The investigation found that the Yankees “had engaged in illegal use of their video replay room to steal signs and then relay them to the dugout in 2015 and 2016.” However, the investigation did not find that New York conveyed signs in real time, which is where the Astros took things too far. The release of the letter prompted Crane to respond to Cashman’s comments earlier in the spring to USA Today. “There’s the letter, and you were doing it, too,” Crane said. “You were there, dude. What are you talking about? If I were one of the teams, and I knew our team was doing it, I’d keep my mouth shut and just go about our business.”
It did not take long for Cashman to respond to Crane’s comments. “I’d say it’s called deflection,” Cashman said to reporters on Thursday, “him trying to equate probably… an equivalent of a parking ticket to maybe 162 felonies.” The Crane/Cashman exchange has shown that plenty of hard feelings remain, even as the scandal gets further in the past.
This conflict between Crane and Cashman is great for those who love drama. However, the conflict makes these two men look petty and way too proud. Cashman’s original comments make it look like he and his team are taking zero accountability for their World Series drought. To say that the Astros sign-stealing is the reason why they did not reach the Fall Classic in 2017 is ignoring the fact that New York scored three total runs in their four loses in the ALCS against Houston. They were shut out in Game Seven.
In Cashman’s response to Crane, he used the word ‘deflection.’ This probably wasn’t the right choice of words, because his comments in the spring make him look like he is deflecting. The Yankees have not reached the World Series since 2009, which is a long span for this legendary franchise. Cashman has been the GM of the team since 1998, so he has had a lot of success overall. However, he has not had the same success in recent years. His comments make it look like he is making excuses for his and the Yankees’ shortcomings since 2009, which go beyond 2017. It is not a good look for one of the most respected GM’s in baseball.
On the Crane side of things, he would have been better served just not commenting. His response also comes across as if he is not taking accountability for what happened. While other teams were engaging in nefarious activities, the Astros still took it the furthest, and crossed the line. The Astros are still the biggest villains in baseball because of the scandal. Crane’s comments put another wave of outrage on the team, which has already dealt with a lot of PR nightmares.
Bad Optics for Crane and Cashman
Both Crane and Cashman are attempting to defend their team for different reasons. However, in their back and forth, they are coming across as petty. Neither appear to be taking accountability for anything. Crane and Cashman’s comments put unnecessary pressure on their teams. The Crane/Cashman exchange brings unnecessary drama to their teams, and it’s just a bad look all the way around.
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