SBD/September 9, 2011/Franchises

Jim Crane Frustrated With Astros Sale Process, Media Rumors

Crane said he would consider moving Astros from NL to AL
Houston businessman Jim Crane said he was “getting impatient not only with how long it’s taking Major League Baseball to approve” him as owner of the Astros but also with “swirling media rumors about why it’s taking so long,” according to Joe Holley of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Crane indicated that “his patience with Major League Baseball has limits and that his contract with longtime Astros owner Drayton McLane has a deadline attached.” Crane: “We have a contract with Drayton. When that expires, then it expires. The contract goes through November 30.” Crane suspects that MLB is “holding up final approval to pressure him into agreeing to move the Astros” from the NL to the AL. He said that he “would consider a move, but it’s more complicated than simply saying yes.” Crane: “We signed an agreement in May, and that agreement hinges off all the economics that were presented to us.” He added, “If that changes, we’ve told baseball that if they want us to move to the American League we’d certainly consider that, but we have to understand all the ramifications of that. That includes travel, that includes paying for a designated hitter that we don’t have to pay for. That includes our TV contract.” Crane said that MLB “has satisfied its concerns about past discrimination complaints and war profiteering charges at two of his companies.” But an MLB official on Thursday said that the league “is still studying the bias allegations.” Crane said that he “remains confident the deal will go through, based on discussions he’s had with baseball officials.” Crane: “We’ve worked very hard to own a team. We think we’ve put a very good proposal in place and a very good set of owners, and we’ll do a very good job with the team, given the chance. And we want to do what’s best for baseball” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/9).
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