Texas Rangers general manager Chris Young defended his team's postseason-clinching celebration, saying he thinks it is "ridiculous that that's even a subject" and ripping a Houston Astros reporter's "pretty poor journalism" for a "classless" comparison of the in-state rivals' celebrations.
Young weighed in on what has become a hotly debated topic in the Lone Star State during an interview on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, one day after the Rangers squandered their American League West division lead to the Astros on the final day of the season.
"I find it ridiculous that that's even a subject, honestly," Young said. "This is the most professional, responsible group of players that I've ever been around. We had a very subdued champagne popping, but beyond that there was, there was no partying. There was nothing outlandish."
The Rangers (90-72) secured their first postseason appearance since 2016 with a 6-1 victory Saturday over the Mariners and needed another win Sunday or a loss by the Astros (90-72) to win the division title.
But 24 hours later, Texas' 1-0 loss to Seattle coupled with Houston's 8-1 victory over the Diamondbacks handed the division crown to the Astros, who did not miss a chance to jab at the Rangers with multiple posts on their official social media accounts.
One Astros post to social media platform X included the caption, "We celebrate titles in Houston," with a video of third baseman Alex Bregman telling his teammates, "A lot of people were wondering what it was going to be like if the Stros didn't win the division. I guess we'll never know."
The Astros were more muted in their postgame celebration Saturday, when they held a clubhouse champagne toast after clinching a postseason spot but were still chasing the Rangers for the division title.
Young specifically took exception to a social media post from reporter Brian McTaggart, who covers the Astros for MLB.com and sparked a social media firestorm Sunday when he posted on X: "The Rangers partied last night while the Astros had a champagne toast and quickly turned their attention to Sunday and one more win. Houston's 'been-there, done-that' mentality paid off, it seems."
"It's pretty poor journalism to even suggest that, honestly," Young told 105.3 The Fan. "I'm very disappointed in the lack of professionalism of the Houston journalist for putting that out there. It's classless and it's not appropriate and it's completely fabricated. It's wrong."
McTaggart on Tuesday posted to X that he wanted to clarify that he "was not in the Rangers' clubhouse Saturday night and should not have indirectly suggested that their celebration impacted their performance on Sunday."
The Dallas Morning News reported that the Rangers' clubhouse was relatively tame after Saturday's victory, as the champagne-soaked tarp in the locker room had already been removed within an hour of Texas' victory.
"These guys had earned the right to pop those champagne bottles, and that was the extent of our celebration," Young said Monday. "It had no impact whatsoever on Sunday's game."
Instead of days of rest and home-field advantage as the No. 2 seed in the AL, the Rangers instead traveled to Tampa Bay for a best-of-three series against the Rays that started Tuesday with a 4-0 win. Including off-days, the Rangers spent 159 days in first place this season, but the defending World Series champion Astros instead will be raising a division banner.
"There's always going to be disappointment because this game was big," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said after Sunday's loss. "It was huge, and so I'm sure there's disappointment in there. Once we get on the plane, realizing you're in postseason, and like I said, you get your head back to where it needs to be."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.