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Volume 24 No. 160
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Astros Owner Crane Discusses Team's Struggles On The Field And At The Gate

Astros Owner Jim Crane touched on several issues, including the team’s on-field struggles this season and its attendance woes in a Q&A with Zachary Levine of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE’s. Below is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: Is it frustrating for you to watch all the losses as an owner/fan?
Crane: I’ve never done anything when I’ve lost this much. It’s painful. I’d be lying to tell you that it wasn’t. Sometimes you’re going to get beat. It’s when you beat yourself. I watched one game last week where they made like three blunders in a row, and it’s very painful to watch. I’m not used to losing, so that’s not something we’re going to stomach, hopefully, for a long period of time. Because it’s just not acceptable. ... It’s no fun watching them lose that many games.

Q: What are your goals off the field in the second half?
Crane: I think (the new sign space in left field for the community leaders program) is going to be a nice plus for the city. Starting on July 28, we’ll roll out one sign. We’ve got seven, hopefully eight here soon, on the sponsorships. We’re still working on them. My goal is to finish up all the sponsors and get to work on renovating the city fields. ...We’re preparing for the changes for next year. We’re going to renovate the Diamond Club area. It needs freshening up. Hopefully, if the uniforms get approved, the color schemes change, and inside of the facility, the signage will change to match up. So we’ve got work to do there between now and next year.

Q: You’ve spent most of the first half of the year last in the NL in attendance. Are there things you can do to fix that beyond winning more games?
Crane: It’s not good. But my feeling is that we really hit an inflection point when we were close to .500 (22-23 on May 25). I felt if we could have kept that moving along -- you know we hit that big skid -- we would have done much better in attendance than we’ve done. ...Truly, we’re right where we thought we might be, but we’re going to continue to try to do things to get the fans out. We’ve got some big events coming up.

Q: Is there anything you feel you misjudged about the fan base when you took over?
Crane: Well, other than the name change? We kind of threw that out there, and it hit us in the head, and we got off of that pretty quick. ...The two things that get asked about the most now are the train and the center field (Tal’s Hill). So we’re doing some work on that and seeing if there’s any changes coming there or not (, 7/12).