Tuesday, July 31, 2018

An open letter to Jeff Luhnow and the Astros Organization


Dear Mr. Luhnow,

In my 30 years as an Astros fan, I have had some amazing highs. My first memory of hearing “Jose Cruuuzzz” announced over the PA in the Astrodome is a big one. Watching the Astros win the NLCS pennant in Downtown Houston with thousands of fans in the streets is another and finally watching them win a World Series championship this past season is the highest of the highs. I’ve also had some lows. Saying goodbye to seeing the Astros play in my beloved ‘dome was one. That 2015 playoff game against the Kansas City Royals is another. However, I think I’m in the midst of the lowest of the lows I’ve ever experienced as an Astros fan.

When the At Bat notification popped up on my phone that it looked like the Astros would be acquiring Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays, I thought it either had to be a typo, a joke or some serious misinformation. I thought there was no way that the upstanding Astros organization, led by someone that I have long looked up to and fangirled over with the hashtag #InLuhnowWeTrust, would invite someone serving a MLB suspension for domestic violence to join the roster of honorable men in Houston. It wasn’t a typo. It wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t misinformation. It was true.

My initial reaction after realizing that Osuna would truly be joining the Astros organization was shock and then came anger. I have now landed on sadness and I believe this will be where I stay in regards to this situation. Mr. Luhnow, about 2 years after my father, who cultivated my love for the Astros, passed away, my mom became involved with an angry and controlling man. One day after work, I walked into our family house and found her cowering in terror and covered in bruises. It was one of the most horrible moments of my life and one that still brings tears to my eyes many years later. It did once again today as I thought about my mom and the woman Roberto Osuna abused.

Today in a statement and in a conference call with the media, Mr. Luhnow, you mentioned a zero tolerance policy and also second chances. You also mentioned that Osuna felt remorseful yet he is planning on entering a plea of not guilty. So the question is, which is it really? Is there a zero tolerance policy for men in the Astros organization who engage in domestic violence or do they get a second chance to engage in domestic violence while representing The Astros and Major League Baseball? Does he feel remorse for what he has done or is he innocent? Is it that since Osuna was part of a different organization, it doesn’t really count and puts no blood on the organizations hands?  I understand that the details of what happened have not come out nor are they likely to due to the laws in Canada. However, I doubt that MLB would dole out a 75 game suspension to someone who may or may not have had a minor scuffle with his significant other, when Aroldis Chapman received a 30 game suspension after choking his girlfriend and firing a gun eight times during a domestic violence incident.
So now I have some decisions to make. One of them regards my responsibility towards my daughter and nephews who I frequently take to Astros games. They constantly pretend to play Astros baseball all through the house, rotating through all of the players and I don’t know that I can take them to anymore games while someone of Osuna’s character is on the roster. I don’t want one of them to say “I’m Osuna!” during one of their bouts of make believe. I also don’t know that I can go to anymore of the games. This breaks my heart. I love this team. I love this organization. But there’s no way that I will be cheering for Osuna. I don’t have capacity to do something like that.

What’s done is done. Roberto Osuna is a member of the Houston Astros but the optics don’t look good. They look bad. The Astros organization looks bad. What kind of message do you think this sends to female fans? To me, it says that winning matters more than character. It says that violence against women is tolerated as long as someone can get the team more W’s. To the young ones in my family it says that breaking the law isn’t the deal breaker it’s made out to be and that if you’re a man, you can still do what you love and have money and fame.

I cheered for the Astros over the 100 loss seasons. I cheered for them every second that they got swept the first time they went to the World Series. I can't cheer for this. I can't cheer for the hypocrisy of this organization. I cannot and will not cheer for Roberto Osuna. I look forward to the day when Osuna is gone but the damage is done. This team was special. This team gave this city hope. That hope has been damaged.

There are a lot of writers, analysts, commentators over the years who have criticized the FO's approach to the game, saying that y'all disregard the humanity of a person in favor of their stats. The Astros Organization has now sent the message, loud and clear, that winning trumps humanity. 

Honestly, I’d rather watch the Astros lose without Roberto Osuna than win with him and in a way, the losing started July 30, 2018.

Respectfully and sincerely,
A heartbroken fan

44 comments:

The Batguy said...

Co-signed

Cockroach said...

Also co-signed.

(Not Hank) Aaron said...

Co-signed

Nathan Garza said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PATRICK said...

I am in full support of people who do not like the trade because of the issues discussed, but I'm curious - should he ever be allowed to play MLB again? If no, what moral basis would any business have in hiring him?

Anonymous said...

I say this without a hint of snark or flippancy. I am sorry that you and your mother suffered at the hands of an abuser. However, I have to disagree with you at the moment. The flip side to this coin is that we only know a fraction of the facts and we cannot say if Osuna actually hit his girlfriend. From what I have read, 3 things are known about that night: 1) people saw them arguing in their home and (2)later they found the female battered and bruised, and (3) then Osuna was arrested. There are A LOT of details missing there. What we also know is that MLB suspended Osuna 75 games and is facing potential criminal charges as well so people have now assumed that he is guilty because "why would MLB suspend him for 75 games without cause". There could be a multitude of reasons though we don't know that because MLB has not released their findings. No doubt this is a PR nightmare for the Astros, but there are currently a lot of assumptions being made about very few details that have surfaced. Osuna may very well be a POS that deserves to be thrown behind bars, but we don't know that for sure. In the court of public opinion, he is guilty and unfortunately that cannot be changed. If you have ever been falsely accused of something, you know how painful that can be. If someone starts a vicious and false rumor, it can spread like wildfire and ruin an innocent person's life. Again, not saying Osuna is innocent, but I for one, can't say that he is guilty. The current known facts might appear that way, but appearances can be deceiving.

Unknown said...

Wow, you are despicable.

The Batguy said...

To Nathan Garza, and anyone else to whom this may apply:

We are fine with, and even welcome, comments that disagree with this or any other post we make.

We will not, however, allow comments that include abusive language.

Anonymous said...

I guess she must have forgotten everything Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane did for the city during hurricane Harvey. Sorry for what happened to you but what you experienced does not translate into this baseball team. If you for a second believe this, you need to re-evaluate things. We live in a shitty ass world. Sorry things aren’t perfect but that’s the way it is. Im not sugar coating shit because again, THATS THE WAY IT IS. I’m so sorry that happened to you and if I was there myself I would have damn made sure I was in jail for beating the dude to a pulp, but what you went through does not translate into what this team is about. This is fact, not an opinion, a fact. That probably won’t sting well with you because it isn’t “perfect” but oh well.

Unknown said...

Well said. Count me on board with jexas

J Rich said...

Co-signed. Hard to get behind this one.

Anonymous said...

This is really stupid . Who cares what you think . Obviously Luhnow has looked into Osuna and his situation if he thinks that Osuna made one awful mistake why are we gonna define who he is after one mistake. I trust Luhnow and if he thinks Osuna is remorseful and trusts in him then I also trust in him. What Luhnow has done to this organization is a masterpiece if he thinks that he will be a great fit to our team and he obviously knows what he comes with then i trust what luhnow is doing here and i approve of it

Dremiel said...

Co-signed and thank you.

JasonP said...

6+6=13 is a mistake. Punching a woman (allegedly) is not a mistake. A professional athlete punching a woman is a choice to respond with anger and violence. It is a demonstration of terrible judgment, terrible lack of self-control, and deep immaturity. People shouldn’t be punished for their mistakes, but people should be held accountable and face the consequences of their choices and actions.

MD said...

The thing is, it now does translate into what the team is about because the owner invited it into the clubhouse.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand the jump to conclusion without knowing what he has done for certain.

erniebreakfast said...

It's exactly what this team is about. He didn't just show up, he was brought over on purpose. That probably won't sit well with you because it doesn't fit your flawed narrative but oh well.

Anonymous said...

I will withhold judgment until I find out the whole truth. Too many unanswered questions. Is it a pattern of behavior or an isolated incident or something else entirely? I'm a guy and I have never raised my hand to a woman, even when I was momentarily trapped and beaten on my face & head with a wooden brush. I did not strike back but struggled to get free because I was trapped in a car with by seat belt on. I took a half dozen blows before getting out. I ended up with some nasty cuts and bruises. No big deal, but she was drunk and ornery at the time.

Trish said...

Agree 100%. I was writing a similar letter, but you have already articulated everything I needed to say.

Anonymous said...

No one knows the facts of this case. If he did what he has been alleged to have done, then I can never root for this guy, on my team or not. Laying a hand on a woman or a child is a vile, cowardly action. But ever since the video came out of Ray Rice, we have been quick to crucify those accused but fail to forgive those that are ultimately proven innocent.

I just got done readying "Astroball," which is an absolute fantastic read. The vetting process that goes into decisions by this front office is incredible which you can see by reading this book. Lunhow said that the vetting process undertaken in reviewing Osuna was unprecedented by his front office. After reading this book, its hard to fathom the depth of this vetting process. I have to imagine that Lunhow's team did its homework along with the homework of every other team.

For some reason, I feel that Lunhow and his front office already know the outcome of Osuna's case, which will likely result in dropping the assault charge and entering a peace bond. Otherwise, the egg on Lunhow's face would be too much to bear.

Anonymous said...

This article is out of place and a short-sided emotional snap response. Below is my attempt to provide the same type of feedback.

- Your mom getting assaulted is anecdotal.
- Your 30 years as an Astros fan were primarily under other ownership.
- The 100 loss seasons were the best because we saw the wave building.
- Your perceptions of Astros being "good guys" is off - baseball players seem like good guys because they have calm temperaments. They cheat on their wives as much as any other sport. "Honorable men" made me laugh.
- The "hope" they provided the city is specifically hope in winning more games or championships, nothing else. That hope just increased.
- Historically speaking, "innocent until proven guilty" is a more significant thing to protect than the perception to your kids that professionals live up to a higher ethical standard. Why don't you have a mature conversation with your family about the imperfection of people and the importance of having a system in place to appropriately deal with that?
- Furthermore, in today's social climate "innocent until proven guilty" is a more important cause to fight for than protecting domestic partners from abuse. The latter is trending positively and former eroding quickly.
- Basing the confidence of your conviction off the suspension length is bunk. Commissioner penalties are all but random... BS argument - Forrest Whitley is a more sinister person than Chapman
- You expressing interest for the female fans is crap. Violence against women has not been tolerated, it has been punished.
- Do you have a suggestion for a sentence that would allow you to consider him? Half a year unpaid for a snap response that left no long term physical damage we know of feels appropriate. Time served.
- Winning is more important in baseball than character. Ghandi never got an invite to spring training. "High character" guys put up better stats because work ethic translates over time and chemistry matters, that is the extent of it.

This post is incongruent with the nature of the site and I hope you will consider taking it down. Baseball isn't an honorable cause but simply entertainment. Astroscounty is the same. You have had a platform for years to promote something other than cheeky entertainment and havent. Stay in your lane and dont propogate hate or hearsay.

If you wanna take a stand because this issue matters to you, do something substantive. In the years since your traumatic experience I will posit that you have spent 10 hours on baseball for every 5 minutes you have spent doing anything to curb this issue (or any other one for that matter).

You do not have a platform to speak on this. This article doesn't make the cut. If you think it does,try submitting anywhere else and see if anyone is willing to publish it.

Go stros, welcome to Houston Osuna. I will judge you for your performance on the field. Lets win a few world series!

Esther Burchert said...

Co signed and 100% agree. Verlander was obviously not happy about this situation in his interview in the clubhouse last night. They had a team meeting. They were coached into saying that this was a good thing for the team. Verlander and McCullers have been very vocal about the issue off the field. I find it very hard to believe that they are okay with this situation. I believe bringing in Osuna is messing with the vibes of this team whether or not he is guilty. He was suspended for 75 games. Suspensions in professional sports does not come from suspicion of guilt. Suspensions come because there is probable cause. I am disheartened by this move. It gives the impression that the organization is willing to win at all costs. It just doesn’t look good no matter what has occurred off the field.

Anonymous said...

Innocent people don't pay 2 million dollar fines. So take all the time you want and give all the benefit of doubt you want. Ask your self honestly if you were falsely accused would you keep your mouth shut and pay a 2 million dollar fine? I canceled my sports package today and will be reading about the rest of the season from the box scores. I'll be back when the pre-existing Domestic Abuse clause is removed from the Astros zero tolerance Domestic abuse policy.

scott from online said...

Agree with everything, Jexas. That said, I still trust Luhnow enough to afford him the chance to explain himself further, and we'll also see what comes of Osuna's court date tomorrow.

From what I can tell, though, this signing is not only a silly mistake that jeopardizes a lot of the goodwill the club has built up within the community since last year, but it also has the chance to divide the locker room. It's clear that at least some players are very worried about that too, from the anonymous texts I'm sure we've all read by now. I'm all for "let's wait for the facts" in the sense this is an ongoing legal matter, but that is very different from bringing this situation into a team that has (from the best we can tell from the outside) incredible chemistry.

awr156 said...

Isn't it funny that every single person here who disagrees with this and is just fine with domestic violence feel the need to comment as "Anonymous"? Cowards, every single one of you!

Dustin Nguyen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dustin Nguyen said...

The anonymous comment describing this piece as a "short-sided emotional snap response" is absolute trash.

Anonymous said...

https://deadspin.com/the-roberto-osuna-case-has-turned-baseball-reporters-in-1827984594

matt from austin said...

$1,624,193 that's the amount the Astro's are going to pay someone that agreed to a 75 game suspension for violating the Domestic Abuse policy. That is the price of Zero Tolerance or your Morality.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:28 P.M. - I’m sorry your mom hurt you like that. :’(

Anonymous said...

This is just how a liberal feminist schoolteacher boy would react. No forgiveness, no second chances for this man who we can agree acted in the worst way. He is horrible, but we all make mistakes and need forgiveness. You are a fat and poor child. That is your destiny.

Anonymous said...

I have have been wearing astros merchandise for all 38 years of my life. For them to prommote domestic violence sickens me and effectively ends me supporting their organization

Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty. I thought that was a principle our country was founded on. I, being a man, have seen relationships that are toxic and abusive from both males and females. I don't condone violence in any situation, but I am also ready to weigh the facts as they arise. We have very little facts yet. The Astros are only trying to improve their team by getting rid of one problem and getting another. Let all this ride out till all the facts come out, then make an informed decision on the guilt or innocence of Osuna.

Anonymous said...

I make a comment about something. Big mistake! I have my inbox full of comments from people I don’t know calling me fat, feminist lesbian, man hater, bitch, STFU you liberal piece of fing trash. Literally over 100 hurtful hateful comments. Are you serious right now? I love the Astros with my whole heart! I have loved the Astros since I was a tiny girl growing up in Houston. I am deeply concerned about this trade but I am willing to see what happens. Please let’s try to act civil! There is no need to fill my inbox with such hatred. I am praying for all of those that felt compelled to do so. It just breaks my heart that we can no longer have civil
Discourse in this country anymore.

Unknown said...

College Football has become the pinnacle of placing victory above all else(see Penn St and Baylor). The Astros had a ton of goodwill, a team that is hard to root against unless you just root against them because they are good. They cashed that in for Osuna and we will see how that works out. In the end the administrators in College,coaches everywhere, and management and owners in pro sports are going to put winning above everything. Doing the right thing just is not in the vocabulary.

Tman said...

I will wait for more information to come out before I judge either way. Pre judging anything can be dangerous in our society. I will make a couple comments on other comments here though.
accepting a 75 game suspension is not admitting guilt. If he wouldn't have then he could of been suspended longer and it could of carried into next year. Remorseful is also not admitting guilt. Apparently they were arguing because his girlfriend thought he was cheating on her. Maybe he was remorseful for the situation ever developing to begin with. None of us have the facts and we are going on feelings.
Two quick instances with different facts. My mother was beaten and so was I from her first husband when I was 1-5. He was guilty as hell.
My best friends girlfriend got mad one night and started hitting him, scratched his eye. He did push her away from him. She filed charges of assault, he was arrested and charged. 2 days later he remembered their nanny cam and that exonerated him.
Domestic abuse is never black and white. There are always variables. It's an ugly word that scares people and it should. It can range from all out beatings to misunderstandings to false claims.

I will wait for more information before I sentence someone in my mind. No one even knows what MLB found. They could of been pre setting a new example. No one even knows what the girl will say or said. The judge lifted a restraining order so they could attend the same party for her brother. If what he did was that horrific no judge in their right mind would of allowed him anywhere near her, even for a one time party.

Adam said...

Co-sign. As a Blue Jays fan, I am disappointed in both the Jays and Astros. The Jays, for letting Osuna stay on the roster after the suspension was handed down with, I’m sure, an explanation of why the suspension was given. The second he was suspended, you should release him from the team. Management and ownership said Osuna would never pitch again for the big league club and instead of releasing him outright, they kept him to get a return. They played both sides of the coin.

For the Astros, Jeff Luhnow showed incredible hypocrisy in his comments. Zero tolerance but second chances? If this happened while he was a member of the Astros, what then? If Osuna is found guilty of his crime and is kept on the roster, then that is 100% indefensible.

Unknown said...

Well said. I'm a long time die hard Jays fan and I commend you for standing up for your beliefs. I never though honestly we would EVER be able to trade away Osuna, but we did and for a good return which surprised me even more. The Jays also have a zero tolerance policy, which means he would never throw a pitch for our organization ever again, despite what Mr. Atkins has said in the past, which is that he would allow Roberto to come back to work for us, but ultimately he made the right decision in moving on from him, I honestly thought our only course of action would be to release him cause he's a piece of trash human being in my opinion. Enter Mr. Luplow, a man of no character and no morals, a man where he says the team has a zero tolerance policy for DV, but it's obviously B.S. , with you do or you don't, zero tolerance means zero tolerance. I'm sorry that you have to walk away from your beloved astros. As a sports fan, I've never had to make a choice like that with one of my favorite teams but I imagine it's like losing your best friend. Honestly I don't think Mt. Luplow realizesthat when you're sitting at home or at the ballpark watching the Astros play it's like your letting them into your family, Into your hearts each an every day and when he made a decision like this it was betrayal to watch and every fan out there, especially women like yourself who value morals and want to teach your children the values of life, and in his eyes and the eyes of the Astros, winning and repeating as WS Champions Trump's all, even if it costs you your fanbase along the way. Just wanted to say again I feel so bad for the tough choice you had to make but it had to be made and you made the right decision. Take care of yourself and Gold Bless.

Unknown said...

I live in Canada and am a die hard Blue Jays fan. I agree that we do not know all the facts. However, this is Canada, where our police only lay a charge when there are reasonable and probable grounds a crime has been committed. They are very careful with no laying a charge unless there is a basis to do so. Also, there is a huge difference between pleading not guilty and being innocent. A person who knows they committed the crime can still plead not guilty in order to get the prosecution (here called the Crown) to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

That said, Osuna has had his lawyer appear in court a number of times since he was charged, including today. At any one of those appearances, his lawyer could have asked to have a date for trial set but hasn't. One would think if he were innocent, he would want his trial to be held as soon as possible. Trial dates here are very hard to get. If one had been set today, the trial would have been probably next Spring. In Canada, the time limit for a trial is 18 months, not a 180 days. The longer he waits to set a trial, the longer this case will continue.

Instead, his lawyer is continuing to have discussions with the Crown to resolve the case. His lawyer said today those discussions continue. To my mind, why would an innocent man be trying to resolve this short of trial? His lawyer says that he is seeking a peace bond to resolve the case. In that case there is no conviction. However, a victim must agree to the peace bond. Unlike the USA, a victim here cannot have the charges dropped by refusing to testify. Here, she would be compelled to appear at trial, and if her story changes, be confronted with her original complaint that lead to the charge being laid.

In Canada, facts about a case do not typically come out. Our privacy laws are very strict. If the case resolves without a guilty plea or ends in a peace bond, the facts will never be heard in an open court. If it goes to trial, it's public record. I do not know for sure but I would think that after doing the long investigation, MLB would not simply suspend a player for 75 games and not produce a written report and have that report in the hands of at least the Jays, if not all the teams. I am pretty sure that teams know a lot more than the fans or media.

One point I think the writer was trying to make, and did so, is that the Astro's are sending mixed messages. They have a zero tolerance policy but trade for a player who not only is still serving the third longest suspension for DV, but one who is still facing a legal proceeding in another country, with different laws. A conviction, which still very much a possibility, would have very serious implications for him to work in the USA. Yes the Astro's say they did their due diligence, but to me this is unlike any other DV case in baseball history, in that the charge is still before the courts.

The fact that they promote zero tolerance but acquire a guy with Osuna's situation, sends very mixed messages. They release one of their own prospects for DV, but than welcome Osuna? It will be interesting to see how he is received when the Astro's return home from LA.

Anonymous said...

Wow! So brave!

Kenneth Meadows said...

Disagreeing with the article does not equate to being just fine with domestic abuse, well, unless the individual is narrow minded, I guess.

Anonymous said...

The scuttlebutt around Toronto is that Osuna really beat the lady up, it wasn't just a slap. Toronto police are apparently still talking about the photo of her face, it wasn't pretty, so it wasn't a minor offense. These things were taken into account when the descision was made to trade Osuna. As a Jays fan I'm gonna miss him as a great closer and as a young man we practically watched grow up here, but there was no real choice. Does he deserve another chance? I think that people do, generally, but it's different in sports. I can't answer that question for y'all...maybe Verlander has the right of it.

Mr.Max said...

A good friend of mine is married to a Blue Jays broadcaster's sister and has told me that this is common knowledge not an isolated incident and that Osuna is known for this type of behavior among people in the Toronto industry scene and "those in the know" around the club. Glad he's been shipped out of Toronto and sorry he's now what was a 1st class organization like Houston's problem.

0Patty0 said...

So just because "THATS THE WAY IT IS" people should just accept that? Too many people these days are willing to accept shittyness instead of recognizing that change can happen so that we no longer "live in a shitty ass world." Kudos to the author of this letter for trying to help make a change.