But when I started to look up information about Jim Crane online, an odd picture began to develop. First, there were elements that reminded me of each of the owners of the various Houston teams. Some of the owners might sound normal, but this was all of them. Past and present. Including Bud Adams, the most hated man in Houston's history.
Now, I'm not comparing Crane to Adams, though that was my initial reaction on Twitter. Still, the elements that reminded me of Adams are disturbing, especially the recent statement where he said in responce to fans upset with the $25M roster:
If they want to complain about it, they have a right to complain about it. But we're going to stick with the plan.
In other words, Crane is doing things his way, and screw what the fans want--like forgetting about the American League.
That's right. The fans don't want the American League in Houston. How do I know this? Ironically, it's because I'm a Dynamo fan and went to the Vancouver game on March 23.
I arrived late and parked in the cheap lot south of MInute Maid, a ten minute walk from BBVA Compass. I met two guys there, and one was complaining about a number of things about the Astros, as well as Minute Maid. As we walked, he said, "I'm done with the Astros." This was after trashing the stadium (which I've also done), criticized the DH, and verbally assaulted some of Crane's decisions.
That night, I went online and found a number of posts and fan articles stating the same things. I also found that the Astros, with over twice the capacity of BBVA Compass, was outsold by the Dynamo in season tickets, and they only sold 12,000. Even the struggling Rockets sold more season tickets, and Compaq Center is the smallest professional arena in the city. Only the Aeros sold less, but they're a minor league team. (http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/08/hale-and-hearty-season-tickets-sales-thats-where-its-at/)
So, you can blame the Astros' woes on their record, struggling to be over .500 since 2007, doing for the first time last year for about two weeks before going on the Losing Skid From Hell. You can blame it on the decision to blow the budget on Carlos Beltran to make the World Series in 2005, destroying a minor league system that shows no signs of recovery until this month. You can blame it on a subpar roster. You can blame it on getting rid of the big names. You can blame it on Biggio retiring when he did. But the fact is this: Houston has never had an AL team, and long-time Houstonians don't want one.
No, I no longer consider myself an Astros fan. The owners screwed the city over, and Jim Crane wanted the team bad enough to go along with it. Further, Crane has demonstrated a lack of empathy for the fans. Jim Crane is the worst thing that could have happened to Houston's oldest existing sports team, and the fans need to make sure he understands it.
Sadly, I think he'll turn out to be too much like Bud Adams and take the team elsewhere.