Let me start this by saying that I make no apologies for the fact that I am Texas Rangers fan. Yes, I have credentials. Yes, I deal with the players in the locker room. Yes, they can be a bit hard to deal with on occasion. If someone stood over my desk and asked me questions about my failures, I might be slightly annoyed.
In fact, I could tell them to leave my office and ban them from my place of work. However, in Major League Baseball you cannot do this. The most recent CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), states that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) will have unlimited access before and after games at appropriated times. It does not say anywhere that a team can ban a media member unless they have violated certain rules. An example was asking for autographs, touching players equipment or sampling their food spread. Just like the players, the media are there to do a job. Access must be made available to them.
This past week the Houston Astros banned a member of the BBWAA from Detroit. They did this because Justin Verlander got butt hurt over an incident. He says a writer for the Detroit Free Press was unethical towards him when he played for the Tigers. Verlander never said exactly what the incident was. In fact, he cowardly had his agent call the Detroit Free Press, asking to send another reporter instead. I understand when a player has an issue with a writer. His agent’s job is to do his bidding when he needs to have his ego stroked.
The Houston Astros should have never defended their player in a situation where he is blatantly wrong. It sends a bad message when a player can go against the agreed-upon rules because of personal dislikes. Any organization should let their employee know that they cannot do this.
This isn’t the first time that Houston has been come across as complete assholes. The mishandling of the Hurricane Harvey situation also was an issue for the front office. Reid Ryan (President of the Houston Astros), took to the media to bash the Rangers within hours of the flooding in Houston. He did this because Texas did not want to make a major scheduling decision with less than 24 hours notice. The Astros loved the national media as the Rangers were hailed as the villains. It was a time when Jon Daniels came across as the classiest guy in the public arena. Daniels refused to call out the unwarranted attack while defending his position. The Rangers had ticket holders who would be affected by the change of venue on such short notice.
Houston is starting to become the New York Yankees of the south. We are the best team so the rules don’t apply. If a player isn’t happy with a writer, ban them! (Who cares about the writer or the rules?) If we need to switch a series because our stadium flooded, just do it! (Who cares if your fans get screwed?) The Houston Astros are starting to think their needs come above everyone else’s.
Justin Verlander is acting like a petulant child. Fans shouldn’t have an issue with that. When a child starts misbehaving, the parents need to control them. But when mommy and daddy don’t want their baby to be told no, it’s a problem. What do you expect from a front office that doesn’t want to be told no?
The Astros are setting a bad example.
They need to control their clubhouse. Verlander can refuse to answer that reporter’s questions. Hell, he can call him out in front of his peers. But unless you have a legitimate reason, you can’t ban someone from doing their job. Houston felt that Verlander’s feelings were just too fragile to mess with. After all, they are in a pennant race. They surely don’t want to jeopardize anything with a disgruntled employee. Of course, if this was a relief pitcher with an ERA over 5 things would be different.
What parent wouldn’t throw the stepkid in front of the bus to save the chosen one?
Houston, you have a problem. (It’s not Justin Verlander)
Now it’s time for me to step off of my soapbox.
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