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There was a right way and a wrong way — which became the Astros way — to handle the incident between Houston starter Justin Verlander and a Detroit Free Press reporter Wednesday night.

How can I be so sure? Because something similar once happened to me.

In 2011, I was a second-year reporter for MLB.com, covering the Baltimore Orioles. I was a 25-year-old with a dream job. I was having a blast. Or as much of a blast as you can have covering a team that went through three managers the year prior in a 96-loss season.

Losing sucks all the atmosphere out of a clubhouse. Guys are angry, quick to turn on each other, or anyone with a tape recorder. It can make your job a lot harder. Still, I wasn’t aware of any particular issues until I was pulled aside one day in the spring of ’11 and told I wouldn’t be welcome in the postgame scrum.

The Orioles starting pitcher that day, let’s call him Pete, had told the club in no uncertain terms that he...


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