SBD/March 25, 2013/Franchises

Dierker Leaves Astros After Broadcast Role Denied; Postolos Calls It "Sour Grapes"

Dierker did not sign a contract asking him to make up to 180 appearances for the team
Larry Dierker “will end” his association with the Astros “after almost a half-century as a pitcher, sales representative, broadcaster, manager and goodwill ambassador,” according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Dierker said that the move “stems in large part from his disappointment and frustration that he was not allowed a chance to return to the broadcast booth this season.” He added that he met with team marketing officials last Wednesday and “refused to sign a contract that would have called on him to do up to 180 appearances on the team’s behalf each year.” Dierker: “I’m not a guy who just wants to go around signing autographs and taking pictures with people. They never have been able to understand that, I guess, or believe it. So that’s the end.” Barron noted Dierker’s “dissatisfaction with the administration” of Astros Owner Jim Crane and President & CEO George Postolos has been “well known in the wake of the decision” not to include him on the broadcast. Dierker said that he was offered a salary that was “next to nothing.” Postolos on Friday said, “We raised Larry’s salary in 2012, and we offered to raise him again in 2013 and expand his role to include pre- and postgame analysis on CSN. ... Larry was complimentary of the direction of the franchise until he didn’t get the job he wanted. His remarks today are sour grapes. We regret his bitterness but still wish him well” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/23). Barron wrote Dierker “was, and is, one of the most popular figures associated with the Astros.” Dierker “acknowledges he was angry and upset that he did not get the CSN game analyst’s job vacated by Jim Deshaies" (CHRON.com, 3/22).

PUBLIC ENEMY? In Houston, Randy Harvey penned a column to Astros fans and wrote the team “as recently as a year ago was yours.” But Crane in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal said of the fans, "It's not their money. ... If they want to write a check for 10 million bucks, they can give me a call." Harvey wrote Crane "doesn’t want you to think he’s as cavalier toward you as he sounded.” Crane said that he “knows the team belongs to the public.” Crane: “It’s the fans’ team; it’s the city’s team. I am the custodian. I'm backing it with my money and my partners' money. I've got to be a good custodian of their money. But I'm also the custodian for the city and the fans." Crane “insisted that his plan is to win and win as soon as possible.” But Harvey wrote patience "will be required," as Crane is "attempting to build from the ground up, without shortcuts.” Crane said that he has “no other choice because the Astros aren't drowning in cash flow,” adding that the Astros “have lost money for five consecutive seasons.” Crane: “I will spend the money when I have the money. I'm not going to spend money I don't have.” Crane added, “I'm going to fix it. I'm going to make it fun for the town." Harvey wrote the process “may or may not be cold and humorless,” but it “definitely is calculated” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/24). 
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