Major League Baseball’s owners meetings are currently underway in Arlington, Texas and with the Houston Astros currently under investigation for using technology to steal signs, team owner Jim Crane has a lot to answer for. If he’s doing any answering, though, it’s not to the media.
Several journalists who were covering the meetings in Arlington on Wednesday reported that there’s an increased police presence inside the hotel where the meetings are being held, and several officers stepped in when the journalists attempted to ask him questions.
The police reportedly only stepped in when Crane was being asked questions, but the presence of actual police officers at the MLB owners meetings isn’t normal. According to Eric Fisher, a longtime sports journalist and editor for SportsBusiness Group, he can only recall three other times when there were police officers at these meetings: when teams were voting on whether or not they should eliminate two teams in 2001, when owners were voting on the next commissioner in 2014, and former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria apparently had a special detail in 2012 following his latest team fire sale.
This show of strength from the owners has led to unexpected consequences for the journalists who have been assigned to cover the meetings. Apparently the police and hotel management attempted to have them kicked out of the hotel, and then forbade them from speaking to any owner unless the owner spoke to them first.
The owners, and Crane especially, seem afraid to face the media and field questions that fans are desperate to have answered. And fans have a lot of questions. Perhaps the owners are afraid to answer questions about the sign-stealing scandal, which threatens to gobble up nearly every team in baseball. Or maybe it’s MLB’s proposal to eliminate 42 minor league teams, which would cause the loss of thousands of jobs (for players and for those teams’ year-round employees) and remove access to lower-cost, family friendly baseball in many communities. Or it could be the issues with the consistency of the baseball, which sent the playoffs (and possibly its results) into an upheaval.
That’s just a short list. There are plenty other issues that fans deserve to have addressed honestly by MLB’s most powerful people. The police may prevent the owners from having to answer right now, but those questions will not go away.
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