Roberto Osuna wasn’t the man at the center of the latest Houston Astros controversy, but Washington Nationals fans decided he was a fitting proxy during World Series Game 3 and booed him resoundingly when he entered the game in the ninth inning.
In a story that has become the major talking point of this World Series, the Astros fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman on Thursday after it was revealed this week that he used Osuna’s presence on the Astros roster to taunt three female reporters after the team won the American League Championship Series.
Osuna was arrested for domestic violence last year when he was pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays decided they didn’t want him to suit up for them again, and the Astros worked out a buy-low trade for Osuna that squarely placed the prospect of winning over humanity. Plenty of negative publicly followed the move, enough to carry into this season and enough, apparently, to trigger Taubman to yell at the reporters in question: “Thank God we got Osuna. I’m so f---ing glad we got Osuna.”
The timing was suspect, since Osuna had given up a game-tying home run before the Astros came back to win on a walk-off homer and clinch their World Series trip. His beef, according to the ensuing investigation, was with one particular reporter who wore a domestic-violence awareness bracelet and would sometimes tweet the domestic violence hotline when Osuna entered games.
A story by Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein revealed the scene in the Astros clubhouse and set in motion an entire week of controversy that’s followed the Astros through a series of botched statements, two losses at home to begin the series and finally the firing of Taubman on the World Series travel day.
Then Friday night, in Osuna’s first appearance of the series, Nationals fans responded with a loud chorus of boos.
The Nats fans in attendance had other reasons to boo Osuna, sure. His presence meant the Nats were down to their final outs in the first home World Series game in franchise history. Osuna did his job and got the final three outs without issue.
The Astros won Game 3 in D.C. to make the series 2-1, but it seems like they’ll continue to take Ls on this topic for the foreseeable future.
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