Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeling bad for Jim Crane

Prospective Astros owner Jim Crane is getting pissed, and it's hard to blame him.

If you're a loyal, or even a not-so-loyal, Astros County reader, you'll note that we have linked to every story Maury Brown has published, be it through the Biz of Baseball or Forbes, on updates on the sale of the Astros. None of these reports - none of any report - have been favorable. (That's not a criticism of Brown. He's basically been the sole writer to bring Crane's previous activities to prominent light.) At best, Crane is a bad American, profiting unfairly from The War. At worst, he's a horrible person: petty, dishonest, racist, domestically violent.

There hasn't been a single person - other than Drayton - who has come forward on Crane's behalf to say, "You know, there's more to the stories you've been given."

Crane couldn't take it anymore. And frankly, who could blame him? I would gouge someone's eyes out if they went to the press on me with a lot less.

Everything from Crane's past: the EEOC, the war profiteering, the domestic disturbance allegations that prompted Crane to speak out to the Chronicle, has been covered before. Every single item that has come up about Crane's past was a matter of public record, whether it was in the Chronicle or the Houston Press. That this is the first time Bud Selig has heard of these allegations, and that he "needs more time" to do his due diligence indicates - to me - two things:

1. Crane was never taken seriously as a prospective owner of the Cubs or Rangers, or the Astros in 2008. Or else all of these issues would have been taken care of.

2. Selig is taking his role as Baseball's Morality Policeman very seriously, thanks to the problems initiated by the McCourts and the Wilpons.

I understand the desire to keep baseball clean and pure, or, in a state that is completely impossible to maintain. If Crane can't come up with a good explanation for any allegation, then it's a different story. But perhaps the reason that Crane hasn't given so much as a middle finger to the press is because he couldn't. He has no official role in baseball until Selig approves his sale. And it's bad form to run your mouth before you've been approved, or rejected.

Do I want the Astros to have a crook running the show? Absolutely not. But he at least deserves a chance to get a chance to talk to Selig.

Richard Justice says this will infuriate Bud Selig. And frankly, I really don't care if it does. Crane should be allowed to answer every single one of these allegations, because what plays out in this episode is not confined to his, or his family's, life with Selig's decision. It's going to come up any time Jim Crane's name is mentioned.