SBD/May 20, 2013/Franchises

Astros' Reid Ryan Vows To Focus On Business Side, Put Fans First

Ryan is vowing to take care of both the Astros' players and fans
The Astros on Friday named Reid Ryan as the club's new President of Business Operations, and Ryan "vows to focus on the business side and leave the baseball decisions" to GM Jeff Luhnow, according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Ryan said, “I kind of look at what my vision is. It’s really two things. It’s one, putting the fans first in everything we do. We’ve got to make sure we’re taking care of their best interests. If we take care of their best interests, they’ll take care of us." He added, "We also have to take care of the players." Ryan's father and Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said, "He likes people, and he understands customer service. I think he brings a dynamic to this position that the fans are going to appreciate.” Ortiz wrote Reid Ryan is a "more charismatic leader" than his predecessor, George Postolos. Astros Owner Jim Crane said, "I think he’s a natural in front of the camera interviewing. He’s got a lot of experience at it. And quite frankly I’m new at it, and I’ve made a few mistakes and I’m going to continue to try to improve" (CHRON.com, 5/17).

CARRIAGE ISSUES: In Houston, David Barron noted Comcast SportsNet Houston is approaching its "ninth month without full distribution," and Crane said that the Astros/Rockets/NBC Sports Group partnership is "low on funds and faces 'tough decisions' about its future." Crane said that the net does "not face irreparable financial damage and will remain on the air, but the partners might have to make financial decisions if NBC is unable to increase revenue by closing carriage deals with national carriers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse or regional carriers such as Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable." Crane said, "Without coverage, the network is not making money." The Astros own 46.4% of the net while the Rockets own 30.9% and NBC 22.7%. Crane said that "all options are on the table" for the net and he will "assume the Astros' position on the four-member CSN Houston board that was held" by Postolos before his resignation last week (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/18). The HOUSTON CHRONICLE noted the Astros Foundation on Saturday partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for the "opening of three refurbished baseball fields at Ingranado Park" in southeast Houston (CHRON.com, 5/18).

FACE OF THE FRANCHISE: In N.Y., Bill Madden wrote the hiring of Reid Ryan is Crane's "effort to put a kinder, more human face on the organization." Ryan "figures to be a much more engaging front man for the Astros." But on the "other hand, Crane is said be one of the least liked owners in baseball and is only there because commissioner Bud Selig wanted to take care of his friend," former Owner Drayton McLane, by "getting him a record price for the Astros, and at the same time getting a new owner who, as part of the deal, had to agree to move the team to the American League." There was a "reason Selig rejected three previous Crane bids to buy a team" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/18).
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