Something absolutely egregious happened during the Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday afternoon—Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse took the time to call the Astros “miserable cheaters.”
.@SenSasse: "I'd like to talk about the Houston Astros who are miserable cheaters...all baseball fans know that the Houston @Astros cheat. They steal signs. They bang on cans...they deserve to be punished probably more than they have been."#SCOTUS #SCOTUShearing #ALCS pic.twitter.com/uBBUOOA84J— CSPAN (@cspan) October 14, 2020
“I think all baseball fans know the Houston Astros cheat,” he said, transitioning the conversation of the hearing away from constitutional structure to baseball. “They steal signs, they bang on cans, they’ve done a whole bunch of miserable things historically, and they deserve to be punished probably more than they have been.”
Sure, we all love a good bully pulpit, but many in the room were left shocked and confused of the relevance of something that happened in baseball three years ago to a Supreme Court justice nomination hearing.
Others in the room were more visibly upset at the tirade. Texas Senator John Cornyn could be seen shaking his head during Sasse’s speech. “Thank goodness the First Amendment protects that right for him to express that erroneous opinion," Cornyn said, interrupting Sasse.
But the Nebraska senator, who at the beginning of his absurd speech apologized to Senators Cornyn and Ted Cruz (both of whom are on the hearing committee and also GOP members) continued on.
“If you want to defend cheating, that is certainly the prerogative of the senior senator,” Sasse told Cornyn. He then questioned Cruz, who rushed back into the room to defend his hometown team, for wearing a Texas face mask during the hearing and not an Astros mask.
Sasse’s speech went on for about five minutes, in which he attempted to connect sign stealing to the partisan fighting surrounding this confirmation. But many weren’t buying it, especially as the Astros are playing Game 4 in the American League Championship Series tonight.
In fact, Sasse seems to have enraged many in Houston with his comments, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, who tweeted twice about about the incident.
Senator Ben Sasse, Nebraska, took time at the hearing to call out the Houston Astros as cheaters. What do you call the Senate majority that is going against its own principles to rush through an appointment while people are already voting. What a hypocritical lesson for kids. st— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) October 14, 2020
Whether you are a Texas democrat or republican what Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said about the Houston Astros is unacceptable. There will be no Texas BBQ for him. Go #Astros! st— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) October 14, 2020
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña also took to Twitter to speak his mind.
There’s been no response yet from the Houston Astros. They’re probably too busy being awesome.
Let’s go, ‘Stros.