Look, I'm no insider into the Astros machine. I'm just as outside the system as all of you readers. I spend a good deal of time thinking about the team, but other than that, I'm not connected in any way.
Except when I am, sort of...if that makes sense.
One of my friends at my new job is a member of the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He used to attend quite a few games each season (despite living two hours away from the stadium) until some things conspired to make it impractical for him.
But, he still remains connected to people who are connected to the team. Which means any information I glean from him (and get to share with you) is, at best, fourth-hand. That's sort of the case here, but the story I am about to lay out is too good not to get irate about in this public forum. Unfortunately, the article discussing the issue isn't online at my primary place of work, so I'll sum up the issue for you.
My boss heard my friend talking with Bill Hartman, who is the president of said local chapter of the BBWAA. Hartman talks to my friend from time to time and, really, I wish you could hear these conversations. Hilarious, but in that dark way where you make fun of a train wreck. Anyways, apparently, Mr. Hartman called my friend to tell him about this whole incident with the voting for Astros MVP.
For those of you who are not aware, the Houston chapter of the BBWAA each year votes for an Astros MVP, Best Pitcher, Best Rookie, Daryl Kile "Good Guy" Award and the Houston Area Player of the Year. This year, my friend and other members of the chapter voted for Hunter Pence as Astros MVP, which is why he was announced as the winner last week. Before that announcement, though, shenanigans ensued.
According to my boss and friend through Mr. Hartman, there are Astros officials who called him (and presumably other writers) to get them to change their vote so it would be less embarrassing that a Phillie won Astros MVP. This brilliant plan predictably did not work.
I mean, if they did call members about this...never mind the line between the media and the subject it covers which got crossed, or the gray line that exists between MLB.com's stable of writers and its editorial input. This...this was too much. I can just imagine the conversation that might have happened if Richard Justice was one of the writers approached. It must have been amusing.
I don't want to make a tempest in a teapot here, but to me, that kind of thinking just shows how rudderless this front office is right now. It also smacks of Drayton McLane's hand, because I can't really imagine Ed Wade taking it upon himself to do this on his own nor can I see Jim Crane pulling off this kind of power play. This was a Drayton move all the way.
Until this team can get away from these kinds of bone-headed decisions and get back to being a first-rate organization, things are going to be pretty grim. Grim enough to vote a guy as team MVP even though he hasn't been there for 55 games.
Lastly, just so I'm putting things in proper perspective, it appears that not every writer was called, as my friend certainly didn't hear from Uncle Drayton on the matter. I don't know how many actually did get called, just what I heard and read about in that article by my boss that's not online. The only thing fit to print is that Bill Hartman was called and quickly rebuffed those attempts at avoiding further embarrassment.
As if 106 losses wasn't embarrassing enough...