Astros’ Jim Crane refuses to discuss his team’s sign-stealing scandal at MLB Owners’ Meetings

The MLB Owners’ Meetings are underway in Arlington, Texas, and prominent among the attendees is Houston Astros owner Jim Crane. The AL champion Astros are of course the subject of an MLB investigation for alleged electronic sign-stealing, and Crane as he passed through the hotel lobby where reporters gather was sure to be asked about what’s become baseball’s biggest scandal since the peak of the steroids controversy.

Crane, however, wasn’t talking, at least not about that. Here’s the relevant exchange with Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle

Rome: “Do you have a few minutes to talk?”

Crane: “If you want to talk about baseball, I’ll talk about baseball. What else do you want to talk about?

Rome: “So, you have no comment on …”

Crane: “Any other issues.”

First and foremost, this is the offseason of 2019-20, and “talk[ing] about baseball” would rather obviously entail addressing the current scandal. 

In any event, according to multiple reporters on the scene Crane at that point was separated from reporters by a pair of law enforcement officers. As Laura Albanese of Newsday points out, off-duty officers kept reporters away from not just Crane but all owners present at the meetings. Longtime MLB business reporter Eric Fisher tweets that such a heavy security presence is rarely spotted at these meetings. The Astros scandal surely has much to do with it, and so perhaps does MLB’s reported plans to disaffiliate from perhaps 40 or so minor league franchises. All of that would justify extra security measures when it comes to the public, but giving owners cover not to answer fair-game questions from the media — and media members are always at these events — is something else entirely. 

As for Crane and his Astros, the recent comments from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggest that only the Astros are being probed and that penalties, possibly severe, may be forthcoming. All of that probably has Crane in the mood to talk about anything else. Lucky for him, security was there to save him from such discomfort.

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