In a remarkable turn, Jim Crane told Brian Smith that the Astros are entertaining the idea of moving the Triple-A franchise to The Woodlands.
"Something north of the Woodlands would definitely work. When we were in Austin with the Triple-A, we got a lot of bang for our
buck and the most for our TV market. Unfortunately, we’re not there.”
And, oooh, here's more from Crane about the Nolan Ryan (group)-owned Corpus Christi Hooks:
“That’s not necessarily the way we like to see that.”
Click the link, because there's an awful lot to unpack here.
First, The Woodlands as a possibility for the Triple-A team is interesting simply because Drayton seemed to go out of his way to avoid that. Remember back in 2011 when Drayton vetoed a minor-league team in Sugar Land (paving the way for the Skeeters - who had two, TWO, nationally televised games to the Astros' zero nationally televised games).
Here's what we wrote at the time (link above):
This is tremendously short-sighted. It takes 48 minutes to drive from
the Ballpark in Arlington to Frisco, TX. It's 46 minutes from Turner
Field to Gwinnett, GA - home of the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. It's 39
minutes from Camden Yards to Bowie, MD - home of the Orioles' Double-A
affiliate - and 44 minutes to Aberdeen, MD, where the Orioles have their
NYPL short-season team.
Hurt attendance? If your favorite
prospect was playing 45 minutes down the road, and climbed the ladder to
Minute Maid, wouldn't you check out the guys you're invested in? Chalk
it up, Drayton. Another fantastic idea.
Second, it would seem that Crane is leaning towards not bringing Nolan Ryan back (at this moment), as the idea of the Astros' Double-A team being owned by Nolan Ryan isn't something he likes to see. It's a valid point. The part-owner and CEO (even one whose official capacity is somewhat up in the air) of your new division rival owns your Double-A team? I wouldn't like it much, either.
But the Astros desperately need a south Texas presence, what with the Rangers thinking they're hot crap, and whatnot and making inroads across the state (not to mention that everyone who has cable gets Fox Sports Southwest and CSN Houston?...oh yeah). So they'll need to keep something in Corpus...right?