Acccording to MLBtraderumors.com and Peter Gammons, it appears as if Bud Selig and Jim Crane have reached some sort of agreement. The Astros sale will be approved at the November ownership meetings and the Astros will move into the AL West at the beginning of the 2013 season.
Welcome to modern journalism. The extent of the report is here. So, if we want to add all of this up, essentially mlbtraderumors.com is basing their report off of 140 characters or less from Peter Gammons. That being said, Gammons is usually a credible source, so we’ll go with it. However, if something is wrong you know I’m simply passing on the news to you, as flimsy as it may be.
Crane’s First Job
Jim Crane’s first job as new owner will be to convince an angry and apathetic fan base that a move to the American League can be a good thing. Houston has been a National League city since 1921 when it first became a Cardinals affiliate. So, Crane has a credibility issue from the get go.
Thinking fans know this is mostly about Bud Selig, but some thinking fans don’t care. They’ve been watching National League baseball all their life and they will continue to watch National League baseball. Others might continue to watch, but it will take them a lot to bring them back to the ballpark.
Crane’s Second Job
If there is one element that always brings fans to the park it is winning. However, Crane just signed off on two trades that cut payroll and there are likely to be more this offseason. For most fans, slashing the payroll in half and winning just don’t mix. Still, there is a method to his madness. Funding a losing team to the tune of 100 million doesn’t make any sense. While you are rebuilding you might as well do it cheaply so you can afford to spend when you aren’t losing anymore.
That’s a hard sell, but he can pull it off by cleaning house and pumping money into the farm system. Most Houston fans are sophisticated enough to understand rebuilding through the draft and international scouting. Many would welcome a switch to smarter leadership as well.
Crane’s Third Job
Getting fans out to the park in the meantime is going to be a challenge. It can be done though. If you demonstrate an understanding of the tough economic times and inferior product by cutting ticket prices and concession prices, people will remember you as an honest businessman. You also might get more young fans to the park.
Young fans can become your best fans. They will grow up with the current nucleus of young players and be a part of the next generation of Astros fans. Families also buy food, drinks, hats, and other stuff at the ballpark. Empty seats don’t tend to spend a lot of money on that kind of stuff.