Brandon Taubman was the assistant general manager of the Houston Astros. According to a report from Sports Illustrated, Taubman yelled at female reporters about Roberto Osuna, who was accused of domestic violence, during the Astros’ American League Championship Series locker room celebration. After initially defending Taubman, the Astros fired him on October 24, three days after the SI report was published.
The 34-year-old Taubman turned to three female reporters, including one wearing a purple bracelet to raise awareness about domestic violence, and yelled, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f*cking glad we got Osuna!” six times, SI’s Stephanie Apstein reports. Apstein wrote, “The outburst was offensive and frightening enough that another Houston staffer apologized. The Astros declined to comment. They also declined to make Taubman available for an interview.”
As Apstein pointed out, “Taubman’s timing was odd,” as Osuna had blown a save for Houston earlier in the night. Osuna, then with the Toronto Blue Jays, was arrested on domestic assault charges in Canada in 2018, but he was not prosecuted after the victim, the mother of his child, returned to Mexico. Osuna was suspended for 75 games and traded to the Astros at the 2018 trade deadline.
According to NPR’s David Folkenflik, Taubman, ” was targeting a female reporter wearing a purple bracelet on domestic violence. She has tweeted frequently on DV; he complained about her tweets offering info on DV hotlines when Roberto Osuna appeared in Astros games in 2018,” an apparent reference to MLB.com reporter Alyson Footer.
The Astros issued a statement after the story was published by SI saying, “The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible. An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed toward any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated’s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”
Hunter Atkins, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted in reaction to Houston’s statement, “The Astros called this @stephapstein report misleading. It is not. I was there. Saw it. And I should’ve said something sooner.” And Hannah Keyser, a baseball reporter for Yahoo Sports, tweeted, “Can confirm,” in response to Apstein’s tweet.
Taubman then issued a statement the morning after the SI story saying, “This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed. My over-exuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving a committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry of anyone was offended by my actions.”
Astros owner Jim Crane said in a statement, “The Astros continue to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence. We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all of our employees, we have also created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence and have raised over $300K through our initiatives to help various agencies providing important support for this cause. We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence.”
MLB issued a statement saying, “Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior — whether intentional or not — that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence. We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further.”
On October 24, the Astros announced Taubman had been fired. The announcement came after Houston dropped the first two games of the World Series to the Washington Nationals. Team officials said they interview Astros staffers and MLB officials interviewed members of the media as part of an investigation into the incident.
“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. We were wrong. We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed the incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence,” the Astros said in a statement. “Our initial belief was based on witness statements about the incident. Subsequent interviews have revealed that Taubman’s inappropriate comments were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters. Accordingly, we have terminated Brandon Taubman’s employment with the Houston Astros. His conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action.”
Taubman had worked for the Astros since 2013 and worked his way up through the front office from baseball operations analyst to assistant GM, according to his biography on the team’s website. He was promoted to that position ahead of the 2019 season. Taubman worked in finance before pursuing a career in baseball, according to his bio.
Here’s what you need to know about Brandon Taubman:
1. Taubman Graduated From Cornell University & Worked at Ernst & Young & Barclays
Brandon Taubman graduated from Cornell University in 2007 with a degree in applied economics and management, according to his Linkedin profile. Taubman is originally from Long Island, New York, where he attended Syosset High School and saw his baseball playing career end at the junior varsity level, according to the Cornell alumni website.
After college, Taubman worked at Ernst & Young in New York as a derivative valuation expert. He also worked as an equity derivatives group analyst at Barclays, according to his Astros biography.
Taubman told the Ernst & Young website about his time at EY, “It’s a badge of honor. And it’s something that, quite frankly, I can advertise as proof of my having learned from the best and brightest and had diverse experiences with some of the premier financial services clients in the world. It’s almost like having gone to a great school, or having anything that is recognizable as prestigious by various people outside of the company or the industry.”
2. He Was a Fantasy Baseball Player Who Decided to Pursue a Career in the Real Game
Taubman was a baseball fan and avid fantasy baseball player who decided to leave his career in finance and work for a real-life baseball team, according to a 2017 interview with Baseball Insider.
He said he applied for a job with the Astros in February 2013 after seeing a job posting online.
“I got really lucky that (Astros GM) Jeff (Luhnow) was looking for someone with a banking background and valuation background that could help us,” Taubman told Business Insider. “And we really started to put together the roster that would get us to this point.”
In a profile on the Ernst & Young website, Taubman said, “When the daily fantasy sports industry was in its infancy, a friend and I saw an opportunity to create a side business to systematically beat the competition, draft the best teams, and play in high volume to get results that were better than the breakeven point. Baseball is the sport where analytics is most neatly applied, so that’s where we had the greatest success.”
He added, “Each game is packed full of discrete events: a pitcher throws the ball, the batter decides to swing or not … If he swings, does he make contact? If he makes contact, what are the parameters of the batted ball? And the game can be measured that way, as a series of mostly independent events.”
Taubman was part of the so-called “Nerd Cave” in the Astros’ front office, according to the Cornell alumni website.
“The old way of looking at a season’s worth of performance data and using that to predict the future is kind of obsolete. We get tens of thousands of rows of data—about every swing, every pitch, every fielder movement—and we need to decide what to do with that information,” Taubman told the Cornell alumni site.
“Brandon began his career with the Astros as an analyst in Baseball Operations and spent the last year as the Astros Senior Director of Baseball Operations. He quickly earned promotions after joining the club, as he was promoted to Manager of Baseball Operations prior to the 2014 season, and Director of Baseball Operations in October 2015,” the Astros website says. “Over the course of his career with the Astros, Brandon has been heavily involved in virtually every aspect of the Baseball Operations department, including international, domestic and pro scouting, contract valuation and negotiation, economic modeling and most recently, as of his appointment to Senior Director in 2017, Research and Development. Through his work across areas, he has been an essential figure in helping the Astros become perennial contenders at the Major League level, while maintaining a top-ranked farm system.”
Luhnow said in a September 2018 statement, after Taubman was promoted to assistant GM, “Brandon has earned this promotion as he has been an integral part of the success of this team. Brandon has demonstrated leadership in several areas of baseball operations. In his expanded role, he will oversee some key baseball operations functions as well as assist me across all areas of the baseball operation.”
3. Taubman Has Been Among Several Names Considered for the Open General Manager Position for the Boston Red Sox
Taubman has been a name that has surfaced as a potential future general manager, including on lists of targets that the Boston Red Sox could pursue to fill its opening at GM left after Dave Dombrowski was fired at the tail end of the 2019 season.
CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson wrote in September 2019, “(Taubman) has since spent years rising the ranks of the Houston system. The Astros are a controversial group, but the success of David Stearns in Milwaukee and the hiring of Mike Elias in Baltimore suggests other teams want what they have — that makes Taubman a potential candidate to keep in mind, for now and later.”
4. He Received a Contract Extension & a Promotion That Included More Duties in September 2019
In a possible effort to keep Taubman in Houston amid potential interest from the Red Sox and other teams, Taubman was given a contract extension and promotion that includes additional duties in the Astros front office, the Houston Chronicle reported on September 30, 2019.
Taubman was given the additional title of being in charge of player evaluation as part of the multi-year deal. The Chronicle reported that Taubman, “will oversee amateur, professional and international player evaluation, along with retaining all other previous responsibilities.”
Taubman told the newspaper, “When I broke into the industry, my end goal was to achieve a director-level status of an area I was interested in just so I could live life without being a financial liability for my wife and kid. Now I am overseeing several areas that I’m incredibly inspired by. It’s a ton of responsibility and nothing I ever expected when I got into the game.”
5. Taubman & His Wife, Leah Perry, Got Married in 2015 & She Is Pregnant With Their First Child
Brandon Taubman has been married to his wife, Leah Perry, since 2015. They met at Ernst & Young, according to a post about their wedding on The Knot.
Taubman, a “competitive ping pong player,” said in an interview with Ernst & Young’s PR department in April 2019, “I feel like I don’t need a lot of hobbies outside of work because I’m so passionate about what I do and thankful for the fact that I get to work in baseball, a sport that I grew up absolutely loving. When I’m not working, I try to spend as much time as possible with my wife, who made the move across the country for me. And we have a baby on the way. So being a responsible family man is really important to me.”
Taubman, who lives with his wife in Houston, said their baby is due, “In November — hopefully after we win our next World Series. That’s the dream!”