Texas Rangers celebrate in the clubhouse after clinching a post-season berth against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers general manager Chris Young took a Houston Astros reporter to task on Tuesday, ripping him for “pretty poor journalism” in a “classless” comparison between postseason-clinching celebrations by both Texas teams.

While he felt it was “ridiculous,” Young weighed in on the discussion around the Rangers’ celebration after clinching a playoff spot that came before they squandered the American League West division title to the Astros on the final day of the 2023 MLB season.

“I find it ridiculous that that’s even a subject, honestly,” Young said during an interview on 105.3 The Fan on Monday. “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.”

Heading into Sunday, the Rangers were one game up on the Astros for the AL West crown after having spent 159 days in first place during the season. Having clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2016, they felt like celebrating even though there was still one more game to be played.

Unfortunately for them, the Rangers lost 1-0 to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. Since the Astros won and held the tiebreaker, they won the AL West for the sixth time in seven seasons. Given the outcome, the defending World Series champions took the opportunity to jab at their cross-state rivals on social media.

Twisting the knife a little more, another Astros social media post featured 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.”

Even though the Rangers ended up failing to clinch the division, it’s still understandable they’d want to celebrate the playoff spot. However, some people took their early celebration as a sign that the franchise didn’t have the right mentality for what was ahead. That assumption was compounded when they lost the next day.

Reporter Brian McTaggart, who covers the Astros for MLB.com, tweeted such a concern on Sunday.

“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.”

That’s what caught the attention of Young and led to his rebuttal on Monday.

“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.

“These guys had earned the right to pop those champagne bottles, and that was the extent of our celebration. It had no impact whatsoever on Sunday’s game.”

For his part, McTaggart somewhat apologized on Tuesday for the social media post.

“A post of mine on Sunday has become a story of its own,” McTaggart wrote. “I should clarify that I was not in the Rangers’ clubhouse Saturday night and should not have indirectly suggested that their celebration impacted their performance on Sunday.

While both teams are in the MLB Playoffs, Sunday’s outcome had a sizable impact on where they’ll both go from here. Instead of earning home-field advantage and a No. 2 seed, the Rangers begin the playoffs on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays for a best-of-three series on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Astros get some time off with a first-round bye.

Depending on how the playoffs go for the Rangers, that celebration may continue to be a hot-button issue in the days ahead, fair or not.

[ESPN, Brian McTaggart]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.