The last time the Astros competed in the World Series, their presence was disrupted and, to some degree, overshadowed by the controversy that would ultimately lead to the suspension of then-assistant GM Brandon Taubman.
With much less attention — in fact, nearly none — Taubman was reinstated a year ago, The Post has learned.
Taubman applied for reinstatement soon after the 2020 World Series concluded, which was the soonest he was allowed under the edicts laid down by MLB for his tirade toward a female reporter during the Astros’ celebration after beating the Yankees in the 2019 ALCS. Commissioner Rob Manfred determined that Taubman had met the criteria for reinstatement from the ineligible list.
There are no indications that Taubman plans to try to return to MLB. Neither Taubman nor MLB would offer comment for this story.
In 2018, the Astros had controversially acquired Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays while the reliever was in the midst of serving a 75-game suspension for domestic abuse. It would be seen then and, especially over time, as part of an Astros culture that too often dismissed morality for efficiency and value.
One female reporter would regularly tweet the number of a domestic abuse hotline when Osuna would appear in a game for the Astros. Osuna served up a game-tying homer to DJ LeMahieu in the ninth inning of ALCS Game 6 in 2019. But Houston won in the bottom of the ninth on Jose Altuve’s homer off Aroldis Chapman (think the buzzer brouhaha).
In the celebratory Astros clubhouse, Taubman, then 34, six times yelled toward a group of female reporters, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so (bleeping) glad we got Osuna.” 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.
Early in the World Series (Washington vs. Houston), Sports Illustrated was first to report what had occurred after the ALCS. The Astros refused comment for the story, but in the immediate aftermath of its publishing released a statement that, among other items, called the story “completely irresponsible” and said the matter was a fabrication, which led to harassing attacks on the female reporter of the article.
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.
On Jan. 13, 2020, as part of the more focused-upon punishments for the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, MLB announced that Taubman was placed on the ineligible list through, minimum, conclusion of the 2020 season.
As part of the reason why MLB reinstated Taubman is that it found no proof he had participated in the Astros’ sign-stealing operation. In addition, MLB found that he had made amends with the reporter toward whom he had directed his ALCS tirade, done work for a domestic abuse center and undertaken therapy.