A walk-off homer of Roberto Osuna would be the most satisfying way for the World Series to end:
And in the center of the room, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!”
The outburst was offensive and frightening enough that another Houston staffer apologized. The Astros declined to comment. They also declined to make Taubman available for an interview.
Taubman’s timing was odd.
Closer Roberto Osuna had allowed a two-run home run to tie the game in the top of the ninth. He had been, by Baseball Reference’s calculations and any intelligent observer’s assessment, the least valuable Astro that night. So why would Taubman choose that moment, to taunt that demographic? It’s not hard to figure out.
Osuna likely only pitches for Houston because he allegedly assaulted Alejandra Román Cota, the mother of his then-three-year-old child, in May 2018, as a member of the Blue Jays. Prosecutors dropped the charges after Cota returned to Mexico and declined to testify; as part of the bargain, Osuna agreed not to have contact with her for one year. MLB suspended him 75 games, a stretch that did not include the postseason. Osuna was one of the best closers in the game, and his infraction made him, in the mind of the Astros’ front office, a distressed asset. They traded for him, and in terms of traditional organizational capital, the price was low: the Astros gave up their own struggling closer and two middling pitching prospects for him.
Apstein’s report has been corroborated by multiple reporters on the record. What cabinet position Donald Trump will nominate Taubman for remains unconfirmed at press time. And I hope Scherzer and Strasburg have their A games ready.