The most hi­lar­i­ous, egre­gious & shame­ful claims by Crane

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - BY BRAD­FORD WIL­LIAM DAVIS

On Thurs­day, Astros owner Jim Crane ad­dressed a mas­sive scan­dal in­volv­ing mul­ti­ple mem­bers of his or­ga­ni­za­tion.

No, not the scan­dal where an Astros ex­ec­u­tive bul­lied three re­porters in his noble at­tempt to de­fend an ac­cused do­mes­tic abuser, only to deny it with the full-throated sup­port of the team’s pub­lic re­la­tions de­part­ment, all con­tra the tes­ti­monies of mul­ti­ple on­look­ers.

Nor that time Ea­gle Lo­gis­tics — the Crane-founded com­pany where he amassed his wealth — was sued by the De­part­ment of Jus­tice for al­leged war prof­i­teer­ing. (Not once, but four times.)

Not even the thou­sands of claims al­leg­ing race and gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion at Ea­gle, re­sult­ing in a $9 mil­lion set­tle­ment.

No, Crane’s lat­est mea culpa was re­gard­ing the Astros’ il­le­gal sign-steal­ing op­er­a­tion, ex­e­cuted by the play­ers, but not with­out as­sis­tance from mul­ti­ple mem­bers for the front of­fice.

Crane’s presser was lit­tered with claims that were vapid, in­cor­rect, eas­ily dis­proven, and frankly, kinda hi­lar­i­ous:

1. “This didn’t im­pact the game”

Ac­cord­ing to Crane, know­ing what pitch was com­ing didn’t im­pact his hit­ters’ per­for­mance, which is why he felt jus­ti­fied in not con­tact­ing the Yan­kees or Dodgers to apol­o­gize for his team’s sign-steal­ing through­out the 2017 play­offs.

Both of those series were de­cided on a do-or-die Game 7.

“To de­ter­mine the ef­fect and the cause is, in my opinion, al­most im­pos­si­ble,” Crane as­serted as fact, de­spite all the facts.

Why cheat for (at least) a sea­son and change if you didn’t think it was work­ing?

We have out­side anal­y­sis mak­ing the case that it did work. In Novem­ber, Rob Arthur found that, cu­mu­la­tively, Astros hit­ters sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved their plate dis­ci­pline af­ter they started bang­ing their trash can to re­lay pitches to the dugout.

But Crane didn’t have to read, or God-for­bid, Google for ev­i­dence. All he needed to do was ask his em­ploy­ees.

Tom Koch-Weser, the Astros’ “Man­ager of Ma­jor League Ad­vance In­for­ma­tion” wrote that the scheme ab­so­lutely helped some of their hit­ters.

“Marwin [Gon­za­lez], I’d say does the best job with get­ting this info,” Koch-Weser said of his util­ity man, who left af­ter 2018 to join the Twins.

Gon­za­lez had ca­reer bests in vir­tu­ally ev­ery sta­tis­ti­cal cat­e­gory, in­clud­ing av­er­age (.303), OBP (.377), slug­ging % (.530), home runs (23), RBI (93), runs (67), hits (138) and dou­bles (34).

Koch-Weser isn’t the only Astros staffer that be­lieves that cheat­ing helped the team.

Car­los Cor­rea, the Astros’ start­ing short­stop, told re­porters that know­ing the pitch ahead of time was “def­i­nitely an ad­van­tage.”

2. “I didn’t say it didn’t im­pact the game”

Ac­tu­ally, you just did. No won­der the Astros are ready to move for­ward — they’re aw­fully quick to for­get about their past.

3. Any vari­a­tion of “the report said” or “the com­mis­sioner said”

First: The com­mis­sioner’s report sucks! At ab­so­lute best, the league find­ings pre­sented to the pub­lic weren’t nearly as com­pre­hen­sive as they should have been. At worst, key in­for­ma­tion was omit­ted from it, such as the heavy in­volve­ment from the front of­fice in what was called a “player-driven” scheme.

Sec­ond, Crane reg­u­larly de­flected tough ques­tions about by hid­ing be­hind what Rob Man­fred sent out in Jan­uary. Which makes you think he would have at least ex­hib­ited a thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of

what his em­ploy­ees were do­ing.

4. “I’m not clear on all of those de­tails. Again, I didn’t do the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Af­ter de­fer­ring to the re­sults found in MLB’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Crane sug­gested he didn’t un­der­stand the in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s find­ings on when the when the cheat­ing ac­tu­ally ended. So, then, did it stop? Ac­cord­ing to Crane, “clearly it stopped early on [in 2018].”

5. “It won’t hap­pen again on my watch.”

Look, Crane placed full trust in a report that he sounds like he didn’t read and has no idea if the Astros’ scheme even worked. Re­gard­less, he said the Astros are done cheat­ing and we should be­lieve him.

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