A.J. Hinch Apologizes for Sign Stealing Scandal, Badly
For weeks, current and former Astros sign stealing participants have walked right up to the line of an apology without actually apologizing. At least not to my satisfaction.
This time it was the disgraced-suspended-and-fired Houston manager, A.J. Hinch, in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci which aired on the MLB Network Friday.
Fine, I'm a tough crowd, but I heard several references to an apology, but no actual apology, and denials of excuse-making which sounded exactly like excuse-making, all of which together comes to nothing more than an attempt to avoid taking responsibility fully.
I heard Hinch refer to being "responsible" and to "leadership." He mentioned leadership an awful lot for a guy who doesn't seem to understand the concept. I heard him say he "should have done more" and that he wasn't "justifying it" and that it hurts a lot. Translation: Can't you feel my pain?
I heard the man say “[R]ight is right and wrong is wrong, and we were wrong” and “I know as the leader, I have to apologize.” But again, I never heard him actually use the stand-alone words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize."
I listened as Hinch talked about his firing and about how he had “to put out a statement that day, it was a very emotional day for me and my family to apologize that day,” and that “there’s something different about doing it on camera, and putting a face to an apology and say I’m sorry.” But no real independent-of-a-modifier apology.
The result is a thinly-veiled public relations effort – a professional, in-real-time crisis management campaign – to begin to rebuild a man's image. The end game is about getting a career back. And that's not an apology. Not really.
What Hinch should have said was simply this: "I'm sorry. I apologize. I was 100% wrong. I understand why I was suspended and fired and I understand why the industry would and should turn its back on me. I will go coach small town high school ball, if they will have me, and endeavor to teach kids about right and wrong."
In January, a number of Astros players shared their thoughts on the matter. Badly. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman? Obnoxious. Justin Verlander? Even worse. Dallas Keuchel actually used the words "I'm sorry," but not without complaining about former-Astro and whisleblower Mike Fiers and muttering something about "the state of baseball was at that point in time."
I think that's the best we're gonna get, folks. A grudging apology with a maraschino excuse on top. You'll forgive me if I don't apologize for not accepting the apologies being offered, won't you? For that I'm sorry.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.