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.

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Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:19 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

This has been discussed before on here.  But most would agree that b/Bud Selig is a national league guy and that he strong armed his Brewers into the National League.  This goes back to the 60's when the Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta and at the time Selig was only able to purchase an American League team for Milwaukee (the Brewers) even though he considered Milwaukee a National League City.  He eventually got redemption by making the Brewers a National team as commissioner.

Now the rest of us will have to suffer for Selig's selfishness by enduring the travesty of watching the Astros as an American League team.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:01 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

The heavy handed way they did this deal is a complete turnoff to me and just about everyone here in Houston.  Sports talk radio here in Houston, callers and hosts alike, has been almost unanimous in opposition to this move.....of course the next time anyone associated with ownership and leadership in sports gives a damn about the fans' opinion will be the first time.  AL baseball in my opnion sucks, the DH is an abomination, and yes I was raised on NL ball.  It's been an NL city for 50 years.  You can't just expect everyone here to just put on a big old happy face and go "Oh yay, let's just take everything we've ever known all our lives as Astros fans and just flush it down the crapper."  Yes I guess it had to be somebody; just sucks that, of course, it had to be Houston.  I guess they figure "Houston can handle it.....they're USED to perpetual disappointment......."

Since: Feb 19, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:59 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time before the NL adopts the DH.

Since: Nov 26, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:48 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Too bad Ken Caminiti(?) cant be their DH! That guy was a BEAST!

Since: Sep 29, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:45 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Baseball should have moved Colorado to the American League!  Having the Astros and Rangers in the same division is like having the Cubs and White Sox in the same division or the Mets and Yankees in the same division.  I agree that the AL West needed another team and the NL Central needed one less team.  Why did the Brewers move to the National League in the first place?  Perhaps the Brewers should have gone back to the American League in the Central Division and they could have moved Kansas City to the West Division.  Colorado probably makes the best sense to move to the AL west and Houston could move to the NL West to even out the divisions.  Once again another odd shaddy deal by Bud Selig. 

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:31 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

Bad move!!!  Way too many road games on the West Coast.  Not a big deal for the players, but part of building (and maintaining) a fan base is making sure the fans are able to follow the team on TV, particularly when they're on the road.  With 30 games (or more, depending upon interleague schedules each year) to be played on the West Coast, too many of them are going to start too late for very many fans to watch the completion of the games and that hurts.  Also, fans are going to wake up in the morning, want to know how the Astros did "last night" and thier morning paper is going to read "the game was not completed at press time."  Again, not good. 

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:01 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

They should move the Royals to the AL West and the Brewers back to the AL Central. Leave the Astros in the NL.

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:44 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

I am looking forward to 18 games with the Rangers and seeing the Red Sox and Yankees in Houston each year.

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:43 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

For the Astros to stay in the NL it would best be the Diamondbacks that moved to the AL West (they are in the same time zone 6 months a year since Arizona doesn't do daylight savings) and the Astros move to the NL West.  Hey, none of the scenarios are great for all teams involved.  The geography simply doesn't work.  Until 1994, the Braves were in the NL West with the Astros. 

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:15 am

Astros ownership saga to close with move to AL

I really hate to see them go.

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