In case the Houston Astros participating in yet another World Series wasn’t a solid enough reminder of their unfortunate staying power, perhaps the return of Brandon Taubman headlines will be enough to prove them unkillable?
You remember Taubman, right? You shouldn’t remember his career whatsoever, but he should serve as a pretty stark reminder of the seedy underbelly of baseball, as well as the dark side of the ruthlessly efficient “win at all costs” Astros under Jeff Luhnow.
Back in 2019, Taubman was an assistant general manager for the Astros. Wikipedia doesn’t seem to know his birthdate, which is never a good sign. Kind of makes it seem like he just … emerged from a volcano. His brush with infamy was luckily brief, but still extremely harmful.
The story goes that, when the Astros acquired closer Roberto Osuna fresh off a domestic violence suspension, Taubman voted against the move in the room (per Andy Martino in his book Cheated). However, by the time the ‘Stros were eliminating the New York Yankees in six games that fall, there Taubman was, loudly taunting female reporters in the locker room about how he was “so f***ing glad” the team had acquired the abuser. He’d just blown a crucial save, too! Truly abhorrent behavior intended only to harm people.
That’s where Taubman’s story ended. He was fired after Game 2 of the 2019 World Series, then placed on the Ineligible List during January 2020, while Rob Manfred was doling out the rest of the Astros’ punishments.
Except … the funny thing is … he applied for reinstatement after the 2020 season and was granted it. Quietly. Hush hush. If a team were so inclined, they could now hire Taubman immediately, thanks to Manfred’s wink.
Steve Cohen and the New York Mets on line one?
Yankees fans should be furious sexist Astros loser Brandon Taubman is back.
In case you forgot the embarrassing depths to which Taubman sank, Joel Sherman of the New York Post has you covered:
"Among the reporters was the one who had been tweeting the hotline number and was wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month). That was the reporter that Taubman would tell MLB officials he was directing his rant toward.…The Astros claimed Taubman was ranting to support a player being questioned after “a difficult outing.” Taubman put out a subsequent statement also saying he used “inappropriate language … in support of a player.”But MLB’s investigation quickly revealed no players were being interviewed near Taubman and after Game 2 of the World Series Taubman was fired. The Astros reversed track in a statement, among other things, apologizing to the Sports Illustrated reporter."
So, to summarize, just a few months after he reportedly expressed skepticism about the potential transaction, there he was, admitting to directly targeting a female reporter who’d trumpeted domestic violence victim aid charities while lying about the root cause. “It wasn’t personal! I was just defending a player!” said Taubman, who was surrounded by absolutely zero players at the time.
You don’t have to tell a Yankees fan twice about the questionable and icky second chances that everyone involved with the 2017 Astros has gotten in recent years. But if Brandon Taubman, of all people, gets quietly rehired two years after his wildly inappropriate actions, there should be mass fury.
Alex Cora was exiled from the game for on-field reasons entirely. He’s a great baseball mind. It’s unfortunate he’s back, but we know why. Taubman’s transgressions weren’t baseball-related, but rather showed an uncorrectable flaw in his sense of humanity. He did nothing to distinguish himself other than being unacceptably mean. He should be silently exiled once again.