Monday, May 16, 2011

Tread Carefully

Today - at some unknown time - the Astros will hold a press conference announcing the official sale of the franchise to businessman Jim Crane.

I've been wrestling with how to feel about this since news broke that Drayton was actually serious about selling the team. On one hand, I think it's time for Drayton to ride off into the sunset, on one of his own grocery-shipping carriages, like the Wells Fargo wagon. On the other hand, Drayton was as predictable as one of Justice's "Charge!" tweets. You knew what you were going to get. He's really the only owner that I remember. I knew of John McMullen, but I started becoming aware of something other than "Jeff Bagwell is great!" under Drayton's watch.

In high school I dated a girl for a couple of years. It was comfortable, we had a good time, nothing bad happened, etc. We broke up because I was bored, and this other girl looked pretty good. Turns out that Girl #2 was guano crazy, and I pretty much hated life for the eighteen minutes that we dated. Girl #1 and I were never going to get married, and there wasn't any way that the relationship was going to last past freshman orientation. But still. I realized then that, just because something is new and shiny (and I'm not strictly referring to Girl #2) doesn't mean it's better.

This is what I fear with Jim Crane. We got a couple of emails over the weekend about Jim Crane that, if they're true - and we're working on it - are terrifying. We've been hearing the Right Things about Crane (as you would expect): he's into data analysis, which presumably means that he wouldn't sign off on trading five players for Miguel Tejada, he's local(-ish), he's a Baseball Man. And he just might fire Tal Smith. But what in the hell do you expect to hear in the first days of knowledge of the transfer of ownership?

Crane didn't get where he is without some halfway-decent PR, and we're hearing exactly what we want to hear. While this is an exciting time in Astro-land, just be careful. Crane deserves a chance, and it's going to take some time to see his plan - or his staff's plan - start to work. Just don't be so quick to dismiss Drayton.