SBD/May 14, 2013/Franchises

Astros President & CEO George Postolos Resigns; Nolan Ryan Denies Interest

Postolos plans to return to the consulting firm he formed in '06
Astros President & CEO George Postolos yesterday announced he is leaving the club, 18 months after being named to the position and seven years after first aligning with Owner Jim Crane in his pursuit of a team. Postolos led a series of sweeping organizational changes, including new uniforms and complete rebranding, as well as a restructuring of the baseball operations and sales staffs. He also had been the club's point person on stalled distribution negotiations for Comcast SportsNet Houston. Postolos said, "The organization is in great shape. ... I'm convinced that Jim is firmly on the right track." The club said there are no immediate plans or timetable toward naming a successor (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In Houston, David Barron noted Postolos' departure "was not anticipated and came as a surprise to executives in the business and baseball sides of the ballclub." Postolos "described his decision as the natural conclusion to his involvement with" Crane and the Astros and said that he "wanted to return to his role in mergers and acquisitions." Postolos said that he would "return to the consulting business he established after his departure as president of the Rockets" in '06 (CHRON.com, 5/13).

OUT OF HIS ELEMENT: FOXSPORTS.com's Jon Paul Morosi writes Postolos’ "effectiveness was ... limited by the fact that he lacked an extensive baseball background." He is "more experienced in the NBA." During Postolos’ "tenure with the club, fans have voiced their displeasure with TV carriage issues, poor wattage on the flagship radio station, and dynamic ticket pricing during a season in which the Astros have baseball’s worst record" (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/14). In Houston, Jose de Jesus Ortiz wrote Postolos was "probably doomed from the start." And it is "not entirely his fault." Being a "top NBA executive doesn’t quite prepare you for what it takes to run a baseball operation." If Postolos "genuinely understood the bond fans feel to their baseball teams and stadiums, he never would have allowed that monstrosity of corporate signage that the Astros built behind left field." Ortiz: "Even worse, Postolos’ regime got rid of many key front office business operations folks with plenty of institutional knowledge." Some of those folks "might have been able to tell Crane and Postolos that it would be a public relations disaster to lose broadcaster Jim Deshaies to the Cubs." A team president with an "appreciation of the Astros fans’ sensibilities would have realized the Astros would lose in a spat with" former broadcaster Larry Dierker (CHRON.com, 5/13).

ALL ABOARD? Following Postolos' announcement, speculation began to fly regarding Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan joining the team he played for from '80-88. But Ryan immediately shot that down when asked about it yesterday on ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas, saying, "I don't think so. How's that?" Ryan said he was surprised by the move because he thought the Astros were "trying to prepare themselves for a long season." Ryan: "When things go as poorly as they’ve gone for them … it makes it tough to go to the ballpark, tough to go out and sell the ballclub, so they're under a lot of challenges. Obviously, I don’t know what's going on in the inner offices there, but it's got to be a strain on everybody" ("Galloway & Company," ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas, 5/13). ESPN DALLAS' Jean-Jacques Taylor wrote if Ryan "wants the job, he can probably have it because he’s an even bigger legend in Houston than he is in Arlington." Ryan could have "all the power and authority he wants in Houston," and Crane would "probably let him re-hire many of the people the organization has fired." But the Rangers are "winning right now and Ryan gets plenty of credit and no blame for anything, which is as good as it gets in the world of sports" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 5/13).

PEOPLE POWER: In Houston, Chip Bailey wrote Ryan and Dodgers Senior Adviser/Baseball Operations Gerry Hunsicker "have a place in Astros' history," but they are "not the answer to replace" Postolos. Crane has "much to repair and his next choice will, indeed, be critical to the future of the team." But he "already has a baseball man" in GM Jeff Luhnow, who "doesn’t seem to be going anywhere." With as "many problems as the Astros’ organization faces, it doesn’t need a repeat of the Rangers’ power struggle debacle." The Astros "don’t need a business man, they need a people man." Someone who can "step in and mold an organization that builds trust within its ranks and in the city" (CHRON.com, 5/13).
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