SBD/March 15, 2013/Franchises

Wish Upon A Star: Astros Seem To Be Sacrificing Wins In '13 For Long-Term Success

The Astros enter the '13 season coming off a 56-106 record last year, and the team is “treating this season as a form of spring training -- a time to evaluate young players,” according to Brian Costa of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Operating a team with "such little regard for the current season is something other baseball executives likely fantasize about." If it "weren't for the annoying chore of appeasing fans in the interim, many teams could build a championship core within five years." But few clubs have the "gall to take the Astros' approach.” The team is to some degree a "reflection of the sport's new economics, which have made it more attractive for teams that aren't competitive to invest the bare minimum in the present.” Meanwhile, the Astros last year “added 100 new front-office employees, replacing 70 that left and adding 30 new roles” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/14). In Houston, Chip Bailey notes most onlookers "would agree they are generally charting the right course.” The PR part “where they effort to endear themselves to those fans who may ultimately want to watch and support, however, leaves a little to be desired.” It will “only confirm to some” that Astros Owner Jim Crane is “in it for the money.” It will “undoubtedly support the idea that Crane will continue to strip the organization, never spend money and be content with a Royals or Pirates approach.” It seems “clear the Astros aren’t interested in wooing fans at this point.” Bailey: “Does Crane want you at the park this year? Of course, he does. But he’s willing to bite the bullet for the long haul if you aren’t. And he apparently doesn’t mind letting you know” (CHRON.com, 3/15).
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