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Astros cheating scandal rightfully ends in firings of AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow

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Astros owner Jim Crane gave AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow only minutes of warning before he fired them on live television Monday. It was a cold, sudden ending to what had been such a warm story, as Hinch, the manager, and Luhnow, the general manager, guided Houston from irrelevance to the franchise’s first world championship, packed houses and three straight 100-win seasons.

Hinch was blown away by the news. He had anticipated discipline from Major League Baseball for failing to stop his team’s sign-stealing schemes in 2017 and 2018, but who actually anticipates getting fired? He was stunned, but still managed to tell Crane he understood and still wants what is best for the organization. Luhnow, true to his stoic self, took the news and was off the phone in a hurry.

Has anybody else been fired on live TV, let alone two successful shepherds of a franchise at the same time? Stunning as it was, Crane acted logically given the findings of the commissioner’s investigation.

The Astros had built a winning culture, but a deeply flawed, impersonal one. Crane would not risk returning to it–not by putting two placeholders into those jobs in 2020 and simply waiting to go back to Hinch and Luhnow in 2021 and the taint they carry. He had to move on permanently, not temporarily.

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