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Astros’ potential move to American League playing a role in Jim Crane’s approval status

Sep 7, 2011, 10:41 PM EDT

Drayton McLane, Jim Crane AP

We’ve heard multiple theories as to why exactly Houston businessman Jim Crane has not been approved as the new owner of the Astros.

Forbes magazine called him “controversial,” he had an ugly divorce back in 2000, his businesses have been taken to court 130 times over the past 15 years. Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball has more.

But what’s the real issue? Why hasn’t the sale gone through? And will it ever go through?

According to Mark Berman, sports director for FOX 26 in Houston, baseball commissioner Bud Selig has asked Crane to move the Astros to the American League when (or if) he is named the owner of the team. Crane has not yet committed to doing that, and his hesitance may be holding up MLB’s approval of the $680 million sale agreement that was worked out nearly four months ago with former owner Drayton McLane.

Selig is hoping to even up baseball’s leagues at 15 teams apiece so that a system that allows four Wild Card spots can be put in place. The Astros would be sent to the American League West to create a “Texas rivalry” with the Rangers, and to shake up baseball’s two uneven divisions (the NL Central currently has six teams and the AL West has four). It’s a serious money-generating move, and it could be put into place this offseason.

If Crane doesn’t get on board, Selig and baseball’s 29 current owners might continue to make things difficult.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 7, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    I can understand anyone’s reluctance to keep a team that plays real baseball, however badly at the moment, from being moved into a league that plays that deformed and degenerated bastard stepchild of the game know as designatedhitterball.

    • baccards - Sep 8, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      Well said Old Gator..

  2. okieranger - Sep 7, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    so, we have interleague play all year round, or 1 team in each league off every night?

    • paperlions - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:48 AM

      Yeah, because that is a logical option….they’ll just have teams take off on Saturday and Sunday….MLB teams hate weekend baseball.

  3. micker716 - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Typical Bud. Just when I thought he was doing the right thing (vetting another potential disastrous owner), it turns out he’s doing it for all the wrong reasons.

  4. thekingdave - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Total bs. We’ve been an NL team for 50 years. The Rangers are relevant for the first time in years, and we need to move to accommodate them? And waiting till the Astros are at their lowest point to perform this coup d’├ętat? Ridiculous. From keeping the roof open during the WS, to moving a series against the Cubs to Miller Park because of Hurricane Ike, Selig finds another way to crap on the Stros. Move the Dbacks, or your Brewers.

    • bsputnik - Sep 8, 2011 at 5:44 AM

      I completely agree. Move the Brewers back to where they were. It is ridiculous to move a team that has been there since inception in ’62 when one that SWITCHED in ’98 is right there. Even granting that a further divisional alignment would be necessary, its only right. Selig moved the Brewers out of pure greed for the team that he gave to his daughter. But as a Pirates fan, I am especially tired of my team getting pummeled by the Brewers…..and by the league in general….but especially the Brewers.

      Save the Astros.

    • Mr. Furious - Sep 8, 2011 at 6:36 AM

      The only possible reason I can see for moving the Astros rather than the D’backs or the Brewers is that it wouldn’t require any additional reshuffling. If the D’backs switch, the Astros also move to the NL West, and if the Brewers switch, the Royals would presumably move to the AL West.

      That’s a small price to pay, though, for getting it right, and the best way to get it right, I think, is to move the Brewers.

    • Steve A - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:02 AM

      As I recall, the D’backs’ original owner refused to be placed in the American League when he was granted an expansion team. I don’t know if there’s still some sort of contract that is in place preventing a move to the AL.

  5. dasher521 - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    From acting commissioner to present, Bud “Lap Dog” Selig has been the worst commissioner ever. Baseball isn’t the NFL. Baseball isn’t the NBA. Baseball isn’t the NHL (where more than half the teams make the playoffs). And I don’t want it to be. Send the Brewers back to the AL, where they came from. DO NOT add wild card teams. Get rid of the DH. Shorten the season. Take the game back, particularly the playoffs, back from the networks. Oh yeah, get a real commissioner that is nuetral to players and owners.

    • paperlions - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:49 AM

      If you really think he’s been the worst commissioner, you should read a little baseball history. The bar for Worst Commissioner is set pretty high (or low).

      • dasher521 - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:53 AM

        William Eckert. Point well taken. Shows you where “Lap Dog” Bud is.

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