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.


Jayne said...

The devil that you know ...

Andrew said...

I am also nervous about the transfer. I was really beginning to see the turnaround of a new and better direction for the team and I fear that Crane could blow the whole thing up and start his own plan, thus putting us back another few years, or worse still start trading prospects to try and compete now (although it doesn't sound like that will be the case).

You just have to ask yourself how much of an impact does he want to make right away? Hopefully not much, but I have also heard he wants the fans to get excited about the team again, so what do you do to make that happen?

I am not going to pass judgement early on, but I for one will miss Drayton.

Anonymous said...

Tread carefully, indeed. There's so much about Jim Crane that hasn't even been mentioned in the Houston media, let alone explored, that it's a joke. Maybe if this was New York or L.A. or even Dallas, where there's a competitive media presence, we'd know more about Crane, his shady past, and his heavily-leveraged purchase offer. Instead, we have Richard Justice racing to attach his lips to Crane's butt in order to get more free dinners and an occasional scoop.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: In the press conference today, Crane danced around any talk about infusing additional money into the team to make improvements, and stressed that he wants to "build from the bottom."

For a last-place team with a bottom-five farm system, "building from the bottom" means about eight years of misery. This sale looks like a disaster for Astros fans.

Anonymous said...

I think fans always need something to bitch about.

Watch the game, keep your opinions to yourself about the owners. Atleast somebody wants our team.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, because the financial strength of a team's owners never matters. #sarcasm