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November 18, 2011


“He chose the 70 million instead.”

With the sale of the Houston Astros, approved on November 17, 2011, lifelong Astro fans learned that for the price of $70 million, an almost 100-year history of association with the National League had come to an end.

While some in the media rose almost immediately to defend the man as-if some puppet to Allan Selig’s puppeteer, none of them could answer the question of why the man pulling the strings would see to the puppet’s gaining $70 million of compensation.

That Jim Crane had leverage in this episode is undeniable. He himself asserted in the 9/8/11 Houston Chronicle as much when he indicated he would consider a move, but that he would have to be compensated appropriately.

Some defiantly claim that if it were not Jim Crane, then Selig would have merely ensured that whoever was buying the Astros instead of Crane would still have had to move the team to the Artificial League.

They have difficulty, however, explaining how that would have been accomplished, given how the facts line up: i.e., that

(1) MLB by-laws affirm that that authority exclusively lies with each individual owner, not the Commissioner;

(2) any move must be part of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the owners and players; and

(3) the timeline for the CBA was such that if an Astros sale to Crane or anyone else was not executed by the off-season, no move could occur until the next CBA, long after Selig would be retired.

Given all of this, and if one can assume Jim Crane to be a successful business owner capable of perceiving when he has substantive leverage… it simply strains credulity to pretend that he is a victim.

So, let’s be clear:

No one denies that Allan “Bud” Selig has been Astros’ fans own personal Satan over the years. But given the choice of becoming the fans’ savior while buying the team for $680 million or disregarding the fans while accepting a devil of a deal for a $70 million discount… these words might well be the Crane legacy as history records it… indeed…

he chose the 70 million instead.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 6:48 am

    Greg, I’m really glad that you took the time and effort to put this site and movement together. Its people like you that create change and make things happen. Please stick with the mission and I will be checking back often!!

    Sincerly,
    Dan S.

    • Sandy Voronin permalink
      November 18, 2011 2:55 pm

      I have informed What A Burger, Kroger, & HEB so far (guess I will be forced to buy groceries at Walmart)
      Don’t forget Comcast is the big one. I would switch but already have Uverse. Won’t be buying anymore Minute Maid products (sadly, that includes Coke)
      I’m looking forward to some suggestions here I just can’t remember any more. I was always one of the oddballs that was only interested in the game.

      • Becky:) permalink
        November 19, 2011 2:42 pm

        Sandy- I wish I could tell you that not buying the stuff Crane owns, but it won’t.
        The ONLY WAY to get his attention, is to quit buying tickets to the games, in 2013. That’s the way I’m going to get my “point” across. Becky:)

      • November 19, 2011 2:57 pm

        Becky, I obviously am attempting to convey that, while not attending games and such is fundamental, we are more effective to not limit ourselves to just that one mechanism.

        Crane is in the business of providing an advertising medium for companies wishing to promote themselves to Astros fans.

        To the degree that we can degrade that advertising medium by making the results less than appealing to those who sell orange juice or hand surgery services or tools or gasoline… we achieve something much greater than we can by limiting ourselves to only the direct approach you endorse.

      • November 19, 2011 5:39 pm

        Sandy, hi.

        You’ve got me to thinking… see the Database: Recent Astros Promotional Partners. 🙂

  2. Tom Hardey permalink
    November 18, 2011 6:41 am

    Well said and well researched, Greg. Count me on board!

  3. 206906 permalink
    November 18, 2011 9:20 am

    I have already contacted Whataburger and ChickFilA, I will return to this site for more to contact as the year progresses. Thanks for your efforts!

    • sgregthompson permalink
      November 18, 2011 10:21 am

      206906, indeed, it probably doesn’t hurt to go ahead and let some of these previous business partners know that this is a new variable they would want to consider in their marketing equation.

    • November 19, 2011 5:41 pm

      206906, be sure to take a look at the Database: Recent Astros Promotional Partners, okay?

      • 206906 permalink
        November 20, 2011 4:00 pm

        Will do Greg thanks.

  4. Ted permalink
    November 18, 2011 9:33 am

    Finally, someone else who gets it!

  5. famijoly permalink
    November 18, 2011 3:16 pm

    My question is, Why not be more proactive? I understand that formulating a list of top 10 Crane-friendly businesses would need fuller development, hence the wait until the 2012 season begins. But why not get a more comprehensive list going immediately, at least from the standpoint of names? Who makes the top 10 would take more time. But we who have followed the Astros in person, on TV, and on radio for years can easily identify several sponsors (in the park, on TV, on radio) off the tops of our heads.

    206906 already added Whataburger and ChiFilA. To the obvious beginning with Minute Maid can be added that Minute Maid is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola (Corner).

    Other prospective Crane-friendly businesses: Aramark (concessions), Conoco (pump), Citgo, KTRH, KBME, Waste Management, Gallery Furniture, United Airlines (official airline of the Houston Astros), Landry’s Restaurants (Crawford Boxes), HEB, State Farm Insurance, That’s just a start.

    • sgregthompson permalink
      November 18, 2011 3:43 pm

      Thanks.

      My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that we owe it to companies to try to be fair and not to penalize them just because they were a previous supporter during the McLane era. To me, yes, corporations need to be responsible,but also I think we as consumers have a moral obligation to be responsible. And, so, I don’t really want to presume the worst until that fact is actually established.

      But that’s just my perspective.

      EDIT=================================

      On the other hand, I know you’re interested in thinking about how we might develop a process together that produces a reasoned, and thus, effective Top 10 list.

      I’m all for that. Let’s give that some more thought in the days ahead.

    • November 19, 2011 5:43 pm

      famijoly, take a look at the Database: Recent Astros Promotional Partners page… your contribution and others inspired the thought to put it up.

  6. Frank Hardey permalink
    November 19, 2011 12:46 am

    Count me on board as well. Great site!!

  7. November 19, 2011 11:26 am

    Here’s the bottom line – if you want to hurt Bud Selig and Jim Crane, you’ve got to hit them financially in the only place that matters – the box office.

    Failing to buy Minute Maid orange juice isn’t going to do it. (For what it’s worth, I quit buying MM when they bought the naming rights to the park.)

    The only thing that will get anyone’s attention is empty seats. While this site is a good start, the only thing that is going to have any real effect is an organized effort to see to it that the Astros open the 2012 season in front of empty seats.

    Not 2013; 2012.

    EMPTY SEATS ARE ALL THAT MATTER.

    If someone can organize a way to make sure that no one buys tickets to Astros games starting next season, perhaps Bud and Jim will get the message.

    Everything else is unimportant. It’s tickets.

    • November 19, 2011 12:24 pm

      Charlie, we agree in philosophy. As the first couple of sentences above state, it’s a given that not making any direct contributions to the Jim Crane corporate complex is important.

      But again… that is a given.

      That is what anyone is going to do who is upset. And either they are or they aren’t… there’s little that a person can do to persuade someone that they should be angry if they are not already that way.

      Where we disagree is in two ways.

      First, this revolt has to have multiple layers to it. The empty seats, for example, can easily be attributed to simple lack of talent on the field. So, the empty seats, while fundamentally necessary, are not by themselves effective in getting the message across to Jim Crane exactly how deeply cut we are by his actions, and salt in the wound from his assuming we’re all just a bunch of sheep who are more than willing to give him a pass.

      Second, I think you seriously underestimate the impact of promotional business partners to a sports franchise. These deals are routinely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even in the millions. To reduce the appeal of partnering with the Astros is to proportionately reduce Jim Crane’s ability to generate revenue.

      So, again, philosophically we’re very much on the same page. Strategically, I would urge you to not limit yourself and, given your clear animosity that is congruent with my own, to embrace what we’re doing with the Crane-cott.

      Kosher?

  8. NolaOwl permalink
    November 20, 2011 12:56 am

    Fantastic site. Nice to see someone standing truth to power. Good luck!

  9. bob carroll permalink
    November 20, 2011 10:39 am

    michael barry [of radio fame] has a phone brigade consisting of thousands of listeners.
    when he sees something he opposes, he gives out phone numbers of the offending party and ask brigade members to call and voice their opposition.
    the response has been overwhelming.
    you could start same, and focus on one company a week. it would be great to get list of corporate season ticket holders and call them to voice our displeasure. their ticket purchases are for business only and getting them to divert those to other sporting events would hurt no one but the astro’s organization.
    the media and crane have already started the “we had no option” and “the fans are #1”
    garbage.
    we were lied to from the start.

  10. July 11, 2013 8:12 am

    its time to refocus and boycott crane and the Astros till a TV deal gets done so all Houstonians have CSNHouston

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