The reporter who broke the Houston Astros' cheating scandal reveals how a baseball team could so dramatically descend into corruption, with never-before-told details of a broken management culture, the once-revered leaders who enabled it and the scandal itself.
Baseball, that old romantic game, has been defaced and consumed by corporate America. As Moneyball-thinking and Ivy League graduates grabbed hold of the sport, the Astros set out to build a cost-efficient winning machine on the principles of the outside business world, squeezing every dollar out of every transaction, player and employee.
In less than a decade, ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow helped revolutionize the game. He created an environment that led to one of the worst cheating scandals in baseball history, a Shakespearean tragedy of innovation and failed change management. Through years of extensive interviews, former Houston Chronicle beat writer Evan Drellich, now a national writer for The Athletic, delivers the definitive account of baseball’s most controversial franchise and how a modern baseball team truly works—without the usual myth-spinning.
Drellich reveals the rise and fall of the Astros to be a collision of subcultures. The team’s top boss was a former McKinsey consultant who lived on the bleeding edge with no guardrails. He hired outsider after outsider to change the organization as quickly and cheaply as possible. The wins piled up, and so did the cash for the billionaire owner with a checkered business past. But not even a World Series title could cover up the rot.
All of it came at a cost to fans, employees, and the sport on a whole. But as Winning Fixes Everything makes clear, “The Astros Way” isn’t going anywhere. Drellich uses the saga of the Astros’ scandal to detail the evolution of baseball itself.
Evan Drellich, a senior writer for The Athletic, broke the story of the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. He covered the franchise for the Houston Chronicle from 2013 to 2016. He now lives in Queens.
“This is the real story of the most fascinating team in baseball, and nobody can tell it better than Evan Drellich. From the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal to the people who oversaw it, Winning Fixes Everything shows what bad culture run amok looks like—and offers lessons for every business, baseball or otherwise.” — Jeff Passan, Senior MLB Insider at ESPN and New York Times bestselling author of The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports
“This is the riveting inside account of the rise and spectacular fall of baseball’s most controversial franchise. Evan Drellich’s Winning Fixes Everything isn’t just a terrific baseball book; the story of the Houston Astros’ under Jeff Luhnow is also one the great corporate dramas of our era. It’s an Icarus tale of how a renegade executive heralded as the best and brightest succumbed to greed, hubris, and unchecked ambition—a failure of leadership that destroyed everything he’d built in the blink of an eye.” — Joshua Green, national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek and author of Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency
“Evan Drellich’s gumshoe reporting delivers the goods, taking us behind the scenes of one of baseball’s most cynical scandals. The drama he unfolds, of management consultants hell-bent on turning America’s pastime into an arms race of surveillance technology, has the intrigue of a spy novel and the doomed grandeur of a tragedy. It is a dark fable for our data-maddened times.” — Donovan Hohn, author of Moby-Duck and The Inner Coast
“Evan Drellich got to the bottom of the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing because he knew of the problem and couldn’t let it go. That same energy,curiosity, and dogged reporting led to an even bigger story—the one he tells in this book. Winning Fixes Everything is the definitive account not just of the Astros’ misconduct but also of how baseball operated over the past decade, how front offices sought every possible edge. To understand the Astros’ behavior, one must also understand the environment that would lead a team to consider crossing such a line. Once again, Drellich has the answers.” — KEN ROSENTHAL, senior writer for The Athletic and field reporter for FOX Sports