HOUSTON – I’ll start by stating the obvious: the Houston Astros scandal rocked the MLB. Actually, it really rocked the entire world of sports. It was a top story on national newscasts. Even folks who didn’t like sports became interested in the intricate details of how the Astros had pulled this off.
It sparked a conversation that went so much deeper than baseball. People discussed how they were telling their young, baseball-loving kids about cheating. Can you still root for the Astros? Is their championship and franchise forever tainted?
The man at the center of many of those discussions was Jeff Luhnow.
Luhnow joined the Astros as general manager in December 2011, and is the man credited with modernizing the Astros scouting department and bringing in a new perspective that helped them become champions. He did the same thing in St. Louis prior to Houston. His methods, while not always popular, proved effective if anything.
Luhnow, more than anyone, has been painted as the mastermind of the cheating. He and Astros manager A.J. Hinch were fired by team owner Jim Crane on Jan. 13. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred had initially given them both a one-year suspension.
We’ve heard from Hinch. Crane has had press conferences. Some of the players have spoken. But we haven’t heard Luhnow’s side of the story, until now.
When I caught up with him a few months ago, it was clear he had done an insane amount of research, combing through emails and other pieces of evidence to try and prove his case to MLB. Until our sit-down interview, I had no idea just how much energy and how many resources he poured into trying to prove his innocence.
It’s not my job to tell you what to believe, but I think the interview is worth a watch. No questions were off-limits. He actually welcomed challenging questions, from which a lot of high-profile figures would shy away.