Blog Entry

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Posted on: November 16, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 7:26 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

The Houston Astros are soon to be owned by Jim Crane and will be moving to the American League West prior to the 2013 season. As we've previously reported, expect everything to be finalized Thursday, ending six months' worth of waiting.

Jim Crane agreed to purchase the ballclub (along with Minute Maid Park) for $680 million all the way back on May 16. Since then, everything's been on hold as Bud Selig and the baseball owners mulled over whether or not to approve Crane. The latest -- via the Associated Press -- is that Crane had to agree to switch the Astros to the American League in order to gain approval. In return, evidently to grease the wheel a bit, Crane reportedly received a discount on the sale from the original dollar figure.

The two 15-team leagues has been requested by the MLB Players Association to better balance the schedule. Of course, having an odd number of teams in each league means there will be interleague play throughout the entire season, more resembling an NBA schedule than what baseball fans have been used to for years. But it definitely evens out the chances at the playoffs and makes the schedules far less intra-division heavy.

The Astros will join intrastate "rival" Texas Rangers in the AL West, along with three west-coast teams -- the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. This means lots of very late road games for Astros fans living in the Central time zone.

Drayton McLane bought the team in November 1992 for about $117 million and put the franchise up for sale in November. He turned down an offer from Crane to buy the team in 2008. McLane said he was "sad" to be selling the team, but "I hated getting out of college, but I knew I needed to get to work."

Crane, who founded a Houston-based logistics company in 2008, is also the chairman and chief executive of Crane Capital, a private equity fund company. In 2009, he was in the running to buy the Cubs and last summer teamed with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in an unsuccessful bid to buy the Texas Rangers.

On his way out, McLane's advice to Crane? "Learn from the sportswriters."

I guess that's a fitting head-scratcher to what has been a very weird transition in ownership.

All quotes via Danny Knobler's Twitter feed.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Comments

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:48 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

And for the "traditionalists" that oppose this move, releax, it's not like we're moving one of the uber-traditional NL teams (Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Reds, Braves, Phillies, Pirates). In the last 20 years, the Brewers switched leagues, we've lost the Expos and gained the Nationals, and added the Marlins, Rockies, Rays and the Diamondbacks. Things change, we will all adjust and the sport will be fine.


Again, easy to say when it is not happening to your team.




Since: Aug 15, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:47 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

My facts are all correct...I don't live under a rock, and it is no secret the Selig family sold the franchise 6 years ago, but it is also clear he still loves the team and is a Brewer's fan first and foremost.  He is a Milwaukeenative, and still resides there to this day.  Hell, they just unveiled a Bud Selig statue at the ballpark last summer.  But I'm sure that and the fact the team was owned by Selig and his family for 35 years is totally irrelevant.




Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:47 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Better League? Oh yeah because the AL won the world series this year..wait.
Granted the NL won the World Series, which was a very close battle and the NL had home field advantage thanks to another of BS's brilliant moves that are in the best interest of his owners, I mean baseball. But, "better league" - yes, the AL is the better league. In the past three years, interleague records are as follows: 2011 - AL over NL 131W-121L; 2010 - AL over NL 134W-118L; and 2009 - AL over NL 138W-114L. With some of the AL's stud pitchers moving to the easier NL in free agency, the disparity is diminishing, but yes, over a full year - not just seven games - the AL is clearly the dominant league in head to head competition.



Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Sorry to hear that Astro fans. Get ready for boring American League baseball.



Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Well put Sazonov.

Yes we know the history.  The Milwaukee Braves; 1953-1965.  I guess those 12 years in the National League established such a strong tradition that decades later, after the Brewers played in American League for 25+ years, the franchise simply had to return to the National League and thereby create the mess that now comes back to bite the Astros.

And if you want to cite history, how about the Astros and their entire 50 year existence in the National League? But as Sazonov noted some people cannot look at this objectively and honestly think how they would feel if it happened to their team.  I guess any sacrifice is small---as long as somebody else is making the sacrifice.




Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

The 'Stros moving to the AL West is a good move to balance the leagues, although I am not a big fan of interleague every day. There really couldn't be a better time for them to move, with Oakland, Seattle and LAA all down right now. The Rangers are a hegemon now with the farm system loaded up and lots of money to play with. However, the Astros are getting their own TV deal now too, so they will have some cash as well. Houston will struggle at first but they should be fine. And for the "traditionalists" that oppose this move, releax, it's not like we're moving one of the uber-traditional NL teams (Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Reds, Braves, Phillies, Pirates). In the last 20 years, the Brewers switched leagues, we've lost the Expos and gained the Nationals, and added the Marlins, Rockies, Rays and the Diamondbacks. Things change, we will all adjust and the sport will be fine.



Since: Oct 9, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

What the hell difference does it really make? National or American? Astros in middle or begining or rebuilding anyway so make the switch and move on. Just be happy your team wasn't carpet-bagged out of town to Washington on the pretense it's a better baseball city. Just play ball!



Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Astros are bad so no worries for Rangers fans. Hate seeing more interleague play though.




Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Yes, that's how life works. If I know you are in more pain than I am then I am suddenly and miraculously no longer in pain.



Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Yes, we know the history. That's not the point. It's an emotional point. I'm sick of BASEBALL fans pretending this would not upset them. We're not "whining" we're upset. As would you be. As for the "idiots" comment well that just suggests you don't understand what it is to care passionately for your baseball team. Yes, we know we're SOL, that's what sucks so much about it. By the way, as for facts, the reason we "don't really have an owner" is because of this forced move holding up the closing of the sale. Partially at least. Have some empathy. If you hate the Astros, at least say that and admit it's emotional for you too. But to approach this as an objective baseball fan and not see that it's upsetting for a lifetime fan to have this change forced upon your team is either to not approach it objectively or it means you're not a baseball fan.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com