Jeff Passan said it best in his Tweet concerning the fall out from the Houston Astros technologically-engineered sign-stealing scandal that has resulted in the firing of manager AJ Hinch, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and most likely Alex Cora, now a World Series-winning manager with the Red Sox.
Bo Porter: The People’s Choice
Now let’s study the rest of this situation. How everything that is happening is part of the irony of life. When Bo Porter was fired as Astros manager in 2014 before the end of the season, he left having totally transformed the culture of the team.
Astros owner Jim Crane, who’s also a large shareholder of Champion Energy, remains very fond of what Porter did for the organization. He’s expressed that publicly. Crane still holds Bo in high esteem and he probably regrets letting him go more than ever at this point.
All Crane has to do is reach out and make the call. There’s nobody better to assume the helm than the man who started the rebuild.
The following series of screenshots were taken from Bo Porter’s public Twitter account exemplifies the fan support he’s receiving.
I’ve written several stories about Porter, who was given a raw deal his first go-round as a manager after laying the foundation for the World Series championship that AJ Hinch hijacked in 2017.
When Houston won the ring, Porter received countless texts, social media posts, and fan mail, congratulating him for developing its young talent and babysitting a dumpster fire during the 2013-14 seasons before the many jewels of the team’s farm system blossomed into form.
As Astros manager, Porter purged the club’s losing culture in less than two seasons, was fired and has never managed again. That was six seasons ago.
Now — after masterfully guiding fans through the baseball intricacies of the Washington Nationals World Series run in his role as an analyst — fans and respected baseball minds are clamoring for the Astros to reach out to the guy who started this mini-dynasty with integrity, sweat, and old school baseball acumen.
When AJ Hinch captured the World Series title in 2017 it was bittersweet for Bo. He was friends with Hinch and guys in the organization. Hinch also revered Bo as a person and baseball mind. Bo was right at home teaching young guys like Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzales and Geroge Springer how to be pros. But he never thought he was smarter than the game. There’s no magical recipe for success.
A Winning Culture Breeds Sustained Success
When the Astros pulled the rug from under Bo, he didn’t bad mouth the organization. He didn’t agree with the firing, but he knew that the grind doesn’t stop because of one hiccup. And for the same reasons why he never juiced as an MLB player to enhance his chances of success, Bo is probably a bit disappointed in his protege’s today, because cheating the game was never part of his philosophy.
This scandal is an example of why Bo always puts the culture of the game first.
“Building a winning culture will lead to success on the field once the talent is provided by management.”
Bo built the culture, but Hinch got the talent. Unfortunately, the culture Hinch and his staff chose to institute and allow, was also rooted in trickery and deceit.
Porter went a misleading 110-190 in less than two seasons as Astros manager, but he never cut any corners or skirted the rules. He was always confident in his baseball savvy, experience and spiritual connection to the game. The fans know that.
Bo has a deep respect for a craft that lifted him out of a single-teenage mom situation in Newark, into the University of Iowa as a two-sport star in football and baseball. From there, he was drafted into MLB which laid the groundwork for a career in baseball.
BLUE CHIP CANDIDATE
As a managerial candidate, Bo checks all the boxes. He’s been a player, coach, manager, front office executive, and analyst. He’s also considered a community leader.
The truth is, baseball has a problem with hiring and retaining Black managers. The numbers undeniably tell us that. There’s still outdated, culturally-biased perceptions lingering among some ownership groups, that there aren’t any “qualified” black candidates.
Nobody in Houston, however, seems to care about the color of Bo’s skin. They just want him to come home and finally finish his breakfast. It’s long overdue and embarrassing to the sport.
Porter proved during his stint as MASN NATS XTRA analyst, that he has a superb grasp of analytics, so that shouldn’t be a concern. He has roots in the organization as a head coach, is personally familiar with the Astros players and can re-establish respectability for a franchise that is being raked through the coals for using video cameras to decode signs, predict pitch and location and transfer them to the batter.
Return The Integrity
The art of sign stealing is nothing new to baseball, but an entire elaborate operation with video is stepping over the line. Houston ignored fan backlash when Bo was let go. The franchise’s first World Series title helped fans forgive, but they never forgot the guy who showed real leadership and an undeniable passion for managing
If you know baseball — and Bo knows baseball — a manager’s win-loss record rarely defines the value he can bring to a team. It’s what a manager does with the talent he is given.
No need to go on a manager hunt. The Astros can just let Bo Porter manage the talent he helped cultivate. It would be the perfect reunion and a reboot of karma that the franchise desperately needs.