Is Crane approval on hold pending Astros move to AL?

FOX-26 in Houston is reporting that Jim Crane’s approval as the next owner of the Houston Astros may be awaiting Crane’s agreement to move to the American League. When the possibility surfaced in June, the thought was that realignment could be done, but would have to be studied to understand the effects on scheduling (both inter and intraleague) and the playoffs. It’s safe to say that if Selig is pushing this to happen, that study is complete. Crane doesn’t have a lot of choice in the matter, considering that he remains on the outside looking in. Of course, this would mean that interleague play would occur pretty much everyday during the baseball season.

Houston realignment to the American League

Maury Brown claims that Crane could use “denial” of the move as an excuse should he be denied the ownership stake, and that the excuse would paper over many of the other misgivings the other owners might have about Crane assuming control of the Astros. That’s plausible, but the easiest way for Selig to get some modest form of realignment, which is one of his pet causes, would be to use this as way to kill two birds with one stone: get realignment on the back of Drayton McLane selling the team. I sincerely doubt that Selig and the other owners have gotten religion and have decided to have more “upstanding citizens” within their ranks. None of the billionaires or multimillionaires have gotten to where they were by being nice guys (yes, I am including Lew Wolff). We’ll find out sometime before the end of the season what happens to Crane, to realignment and scheduling in the 2012 or future seasons, and hopefully this will get things rolling for the A’s as well.

41 thoughts on “Is Crane approval on hold pending Astros move to AL?

  1. I would prefer that the Diamondbacks move to the AL, which is where they were intended to go in 1998. In addition, since I’ve recently landed a job in Phoenix, I’ll be inclined to buy season tickets if the D’backs move to the AL.

  2. I’d prefer it if the government would come in and break up the MLB monopoly and make the American and National leagues compete with each other. Get rid of the commissioner, even.

  3. I’d prefer the fools just leave the league as it is right now. Any change they make to add more interleague play will do nothing but erode the unqueness of each league.

  4. I’m with Dan, quit making changes. The two leagues are different and what makes it fun are the great traditions of the two leagues. Selig is out to destroy this of course!

  5. Outside of the NY-NY, Chi-Chi, Ana-LA and SF-Oak matchups, does anyone care about interleague play anymore? Anyone eager for those Mariners-Phillies matchups? How about TB vs the Padres? Get rid of interleague play – it’s a gimmick that’s worn out its welcome.

  6. Any variety is better. Yes, Seattle/Colorado sucks, but one Seattle/Colorado series every few years beats the hell out of more Seattle/KC games.

    Would be nicer if they just moved Milwaukee back to the AL where they belong, but we’re obviously way past that.

  7. dbacks moving to the al west, no thank you. it’s hard enough for the a’s to contend with teams like tex and laa in the next few years for a playoff spot, no need to add a team that looks like it could be a contender for many years to come.

    gladly take hou who is by far the worst team in mlb in the al west.

    like others above i’d rather leave things alone as the are right now with the divisions.

  8. Never really cared for Interleague, and this would make a game every day. Not good.

  9. I don’t care who moves or why, I just like the symmetry in the new division spreadsheet thingy.

  10. The old school thought of “dont fix it if it’s not broken” is what holding back MLB. It is because of this lack of progression or evolution that is holding back MLB. MLB can very well compete against the NFL in terms of viewers and TV contracts, they just need to be more progressive.

  11. I think this is good news for an A’s fan. Nobody would be pushing divisional/league symmetry if they were considering contracting the A’s (and Rays), because that would immediately upend the symmetry they had just created.

    I think the league envisions settling in with six 5-team divisions for the next few decades. Dipping into a new market during that time frame would only come from relocating the A’s or Rays, and I think that would be very unlikely. Both franchises will probably build new stadiums within 50 miles of their current homes.

    But my main point is, the league wouldn’t push for a move like this if they didn’t feel their current arrangement of teams, and their locations, was likely to remain steady for a long time.

  12. @notsellingjeans

    That is a very good point. This realignment thing, with moving the Astros to the AL West, which MLB is pushing for right now, would not be the case if contraction or relocation of the A’s or Rays was under consideration.

    It sill could be conceivable that a relocation to San Antonio or Portland would not upset the Astros to AL west strategy. But, we’ve seen absolutely zippo on those fronts.

  13. I will never watch the A’s at AT&T, be it temporary or permanent. Many of you may like the idea because of the cool digs and so-called fan experience, but i can’t and won’t do it. Give me our shithole any day over that phony phone booth park.

  14. Raiders and Niners can’t make the kind of luxury box $$ at the college stadiums that the NFL expects. And Stanford only seats about 50,000 people – about 20,000 too short.

  15. jK: Will you watch the A’s at their very own state-of-the-art ballpark in San Jose? Takes about 40 minutes to get from Oakland to downtown San Jose if the traffic is not that bad.

  16. @pjk–Nope. Won’t catch me ever in that place EVER, and I’ll probably stop following the team altogether. Just won’t be the same team I grew up with.

  17. Piggybacking on a few comments…

    1. Brian said: “Yes, Seattle/Colorado sucks, but one Seattle/Colorado series every few years beats the hell out of more Seattle/KC games.” I could not agree more.

    2. I think symmetry is good. Also, this should create a “more fair” schedule.

    3. Astros please. Not Arizona. Not for the competitive reason with regard to the A’s (things are cyclical afterall). I want Houston to switch as it was appease the Rangers.

    4. The comment by notellingjeans is spot-on, at least with regard to contraction. Doesn’t mean the A’s and Rays wont relocate though (I’m thinking A’s to SJ….maybe Rays to New Jersey?)

    5. JK – I think the team will somehow manage to survive as you continue tilting at windmills.

  18. Contraction is just too much as the players will file a lawsuit against MLB. Because of the minor leagues it makes things far too complex.

    As for the stadiums, Is Ostler being satirical?

    Cal Memorial stadium specifically wrote in their charter upon renovation no NFL team would be allowed to play there. They did not want Raider Nation to “trip, slip” and end up there.

    The A’s cannot share ATT with the Giants because of the same reason they cannot move to San Jose…..T-Rights.

    The Giants T-rights include San Francisco, therefore it eliminates the A’s or any other team sharing that facility.

    As for the 49ers in Stanford….they should have tag teamed a major renovation to Stanford Stadium and added luxury suites and kept the capacity around 70k.

    That would have been real smart and 49ers would get a newly renovated place for a fraction of the cost of building in Santa Clara.

  19. …I heard that Stanford, even with a potential #1 team in the country, still had 10,000 empty seats last week. 70,000 seats just doesn’t work for Stanford, which is like the A’s compared to the Giants: the Bay Area’s “other” college team. Cal has more fans….jk: So we all know that the city of Oakland has proudly done nothing for the A’s, unlike every other MLB city which has taken the initiative to get a new ballpark done. So I can’t see taking your frustrations out on the team if they have to move a whole 30 miles away thanks to Oakland flaunting its disinterest in the team.

  20. Okay, how about adding two teams (2 from: SA, Vegas, Indy, NY/NJ, NC or Salt Lake) to make four 4 team divisions in each league like the NFL? Expand the playoffs even more like the NBA and NHL and we’ll be having the World Series around Thanksgiving! Hey, as long as it makes BS and the owners more money, a little cold weather won’t hurt too bad.

  21. Either San Antonio or Vegas may not need an expansion team since they may get the team currently playing in Oakland,

  22. There were some rumors of business group in Montreal putting together a plan for an expansion team. I would think that based on the history of MLB, a city that previously-held a franchise would have better ranking vs. a new squeaker.

  23. Have any of you been in Vegas in August? That is brutal heat.

  24. re: brutal heat

    think – domed stadium, AC. San Antonio’s pretty hot, too, I believe.

  25. Palo Alto has made it very clear that Stanford can’t have an NFL team at its stadium, the traffic and noise around town are bad enough when the Cardinal play let alone the usual drunk NFL crowd. Also, Stanford doesn’t allow beer sales.
    The A’s at AT&T would be second-class citizens like the Angels were at Dodger Stadium, it just doesn’t work.
    I like the realignment, anything that takes away Texas’ advantage of getting to play Houston while the rest of the division doesn’t.

  26. re: anything that takes away Texas’ advantage of getting to play Houston while the rest of the division doesn’t.

    ..who’s to say Houston won’t be a powerhouse by the time they move into the AL? They won’t be awful forever. Went to World Series about 6 years ago

  27. Personally, I’d be thrilled to be able to drive only three hours from Corpus to see the A’s play in Houston instead of eight hours to Arlington. At least I get to see the AA Corpus Christi Hooks play Midland several times a year. There are, however; a lot of folks in Houston who are going to be upset about no longer being in the same division with the Cubs and Cardinals not to mention being in a division with teams from the “librul west coast”

  28. To JK USA:

    I’m with you re: a new ballpark in San Jose. Won’t be the same.

    A’s observer.

  29. …San Jose will supply more than enough fans to make up for the few set to abandon the team because it had no choice but to move 30 miles south. Won’t be the same is right – the team would be in its own sold-out baseball-only ballpark, unlike being situated in an empty football stadium like it is now. Free agents will want to play here, no football stands ripping up the field, no more troughs in the men’s room. It certainly won’t be the same.

  30. ML, you seem to have either misread or mischaracterized Maury Brown’s point (it’s also a bit suspicious that you link to his site and not the specific item). Brown flatly argues against your thesis — he says that the hangup with Crane has nothing to do with realignment.

    • @monkeyball – Maury’s response to the story came well after the Fox 26 report surfaced and I posted about it. His point is well taken, though his ax to grind regarding Crane is a bit unusual. As to your suspicion, don’t mistake my cut-n-paste link incompetence for something more sinister. Unless you’re you and you live in that world 24/7.

  31. @pjk–there’s no doubt the Coliseum isn’t as good for baseball like it use to be, but a move 40 miles south is not the answer. One of the great, storied franchise with a wild and crazy history in the O should continue in the O, with all efforts made on a new ballpark there. A SJ park may sell out the first few years, but when the shine wears off, super high tix prices, and if the losing continues (Moneyball will continue wherever they play with this ownership and GM–they enjoy it), I’m sure they’ll be plenty seats available. They’ll be San Diego North, but without the coolness factor..
    BTW, do the troughs really bug you? They got them at Wrigley and they don’t seem to have a problem with them like the guys on here do. Just more ragging on the Coli at any cost. E-mail LW and tell him to take some of that 20 mill him and Fish pocket every year and put in some urinals for the bashful bladders.

  32. …so how do you pay for the ballpark in Oakland, then, when it’s established that there’s insufficient corporate dollars to be found there and no public dollars? An act of charity, perhaps? As I’ve already said, this “history”: thing won’t pay the massive 30-year mortgage on a privately funded ballpark – only lots and lots of money will. San Jose has it, Oakland doesn’t. LIke it or not.
    also, re: wild and crazy history. the Saint Louis Browns had a “wild and crazy history” – sending a midget to the plate, etc. They moved to Baltimore in the early 50s.
    re: may sell out the first few years in San Jose… We’re still waiting for the shine to wear off for the Sharks in San Jose. We’re moving to year 19 now and the place sells out every night. That’s the best comparable we have..
    re: LW funding improvements to the Coliseum. Do you pay for improvements to homes you don’t own? Didn’t think so. If you do, could you please pay to fix my fireplace and add a new bathroom?

  33. No, it won’t be the same. It’ll be better.

  34. @pjk–all the teams leaving for other cities in the 50’s/60’s was a shame, and that now should be avoided at all costs. Selig should know that when his beloved Braves left for Atlanta in 66. They never had a losing record in their 13 years in Milwaukee. They set NL attendance records their first few years but drew poorly the last few years.
    The Sharks comparison is weak. Only NHL team in the area, and making the playoffs more than any BA team the last 20 years. The W’s get near sellouts and they blow. Baseball has more seats to sell and a season twice as long. Long term packed houses It is not a slam dunk in SJ, just like a new park in the O, but will be an improvement over the 15-18k they get right now I’m sure even in off years.
    LW putting in some improvements in the Coli besides “leaks and stuff” while he’s still there would really change many peoples opinion of the guy and would be good PR. But being the businessman that he is, if it doesn’t get a return, why do it? You don’t get into baseball with that mindset. And in the long run, he’ll make out when they sell.

  35. So under your logic, the A’s should still be in Philadelphia. And the Braves should never have been in Milwaukee in the first place – they should still be Boston’s NL team.
    …Of course you’re going to say the Sharks comparison is weak. The Sharks decades-long record of fabulous attendance is a thorn in the side of people who like to claim San Jose wouldn’t support an MLB team. If the Sharks attendance was lousy, it would be Exhibit A for the Oakland-only crowd.
    …yes, MLB has more seats to sell, which is why the A’s really ought to be in a prosperous city of 1 million people, don’t you think? I was at the A’s game the other day (gorgeous Monday afternoon holiday) – just me a few thousand other folks – the usual acres and acres of empty seats. In San Jose, the place would have been sold out.
    …And you still haven’t told us how a new ballpark gets paid for in Oakland. (An act of charity doesn’t count as an option)

  36. To PJK:

    How and WHEN has it been “established” that Oakland and the East Bay lack sufficient corporate dollars?

    There are plenty of corporations that would commit to a baseball team committed to this region.

    A’s observer

  37. Name which company has committed to sponsoring naming rights for a VC ballpark (Diridon has one, so VC should have one too). The answer is no company has. The VC study has going on for almost a year; no company has stepped forward saying it will pay millions (or anything, for that matter) for naming rights. And all we need to do is check out the consistently empty suites at A’s and Raiders games and we see firsthand the lack of corporate support for pro sports in the East Bay.

  38. @A’s observer- Normally you would be right if the Giants were not 12 miles way already have “cannibalized” the corporate sponsors in the East Bay…Chevron and Safeway are prime examples.

    The Giants own the SF-Oak-Fremont metro area hands down. A new ballpark in Oakland will not change that. In fact without the ballpark being at least 75% publicly financed it would be a money loser so close to ATT Park.

    In Silicon Valley or in the San Jose-Santa Clara-Sunnyvale metro area on the other hand, only 25% of all corporations do biz with the Giants right now. Only a fraction and the remaining 75% is far larger in dollars than the entire SF-Oak-Fremont metro area.

    So assuming a privately financed situation San Jose is clearly the choice. The owners will lose massive amounts of $$ privately financing a stadium in Oakland…Hence why it has never happened and never will.

    Selig knows this full and balks at having 2 privately financed ballparks in the Bay Area and having to cut the Giants a break for giving up Santa Clara County or sharing the the entire region with the A’s. The huge delays signals this pretty well.

    In the end it is relocation to another city or San Jose as a last ditch option. Oakland can move forward anytime but it will take a huge public subsidy to make it economically feasible.

    Knowing Selig…I would prefer a publicly financed Oakland ballpark so that it would force the Giants to sell San Jose to the A’s.

    The Giants are cornering the A’s in the East Bay with no hope in sight in their territory. Our only hope is Selig “exhaust all options” and San Jose is all that is left.

  39. You’re still stretching quite a bit there, Sid. In fact, you’re stretching a whole lot.

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