Astros' Jim Crane Draws Strong Criticism For Apology Performance
There was "no amount of money in the world" that could have bought Astros Owner Jim Crane "out of the hole he kept digging Thursday" as he and the team apologized for their sign-stealing scandal, according to Tom D'Angelo of the PALM BEACH POST. Crane repeatedly put the blame for the scandal "on the two people he fired" in manager A.J. Hinch and President of Baseball Operations & GM Jeff Luhnow. Crane spent "nearly 30 minutes apologizing for the actions of everybody no longer with the organization," including Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, who were fired during the offseason as managers of the Red Sox and Mets, respectively, due to their roles in the scandal (PALM BEACH POST, 2/14). In DC, Dave Sheinin writes Crane's "absolution of everyone except those who already have paid for the Astros' sins underscored the glaring limits of the apologies offered Thursday." The "lack of specifics and the lack of introspection made it sometimes seem as if the Astros were reading from a list of talking points" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/14).
DODGING ANY KIND OF BLAME: THE RINGER's Michael Baumann wrote Crane "equivocated, deflected, and dissembled at every turn." Baumann: "All morning Crane wielded the commissioner's report like a veritable Holy Shield of Righteousness, but more and more that document seems to have been crafted to set up four former Astros employees ... as the fall guys, while insulating players and ownership from negative consequences" (THERINGER.com, 2/13). In Tampa, Eduardo Encina writes Crane "continues to put the blame on their shoulders" purely because MLB did, "even though the league's report said [the] scandal was player-driven" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/14). USA TODAY's Gabe Lacques writes it was "determined that all the blame would fall on Hinch and Luhnow." Crane now "wants to pin everything" on Luhnow, "even as he was responsible for having the latitude to behave as, arguably, the most rogue GM in baseball" (USA TODAY, 2/14). In Pittsburgh, Joe Starkey writes Crane's apology was the "classic coward move." Starkey: "He began throwing people so far under the bus you'd need the jaws of life to pull them out. Not his players, of course. Those are his meal tickets" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/14). ESPN's Jeff Passan writes Crane's "attempts at apologizing were clear signals that his contrition went only as far as his ability to absolve himself of wrongdoing." Passan: "The more Crane spoke, the more his words served as a spade, digging a hole from which he couldn't rescue himself" (ESPN.com, 2/14).
TONE-DEAF RESPONSE: On Long Island, David Lennon writes Crane "doesn't get to claim the moral high ground." He "actually had the gall to suggest that the Astros' sign-stealing scheme, which told his players what pitches were coming, 'didn't impact the game'" (NEWSDAY, 2/14). MLB Network's Jon Heyman said the opening comment by Crane "that it didn't impact the game put ... things on a bad tone right from the start" ("MLB Now," MLB Network, 2/13). In L.A., Dylan Hernandez writes Crane "came across as an out-of-touch plutocrat used to people telling him they agree with whatever nonsense comes out of his mouth." While the mea culpa news conference "didn't reveal the extent of the Astros' fraud, it completely exposed Crane" (L.A. TIMES, 2/14). In DC, Thomas Boswell writes Crane during the press conference, "like all his Astros, avoided the word 'cheat' at all costs." There is "no better way to show good old-fashioned genuine remorse than by refusing to speak the misdeed you committed" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/14). ESPN's Ryan Smith said, "There was almost an air of defiance from Jim Crane" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 2/13).
A LONG ROAD BACK: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes, "From the department of 'Good lord, they just don't get it,' we present the Houston Astros and their pathetic performance in Thursday morning's media session." Jenkins: "For Heaven's sake, show some kind of remorse" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/14). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes "most of the sporting public was going to reject any apology, but what owner Jim Crane and the players themselves did on Thursday morning only made matters worse" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/14). NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan: "I didn't think they could make it worse, but they made it worse" ("SportsTalk Live," NBC Sports Chicago, 2/13). In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes Crane's "Sergeant Schultz act of saying he had no idea what was going on begs the question if he is willfully dumb or dishonest." The Astros, with their "pre-rehearsed soulless responses, make it hard to forgive" (N.Y. POST, 2/14).