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