So here we are, a few days later and still in shock over Jim Deshaies’ departure to Chi-Town and fingers are being pointed at anyone and everywhere. Was Jim Crane at fault for overvaluing his hand or was Deshaies simply wanting something else? Regardless of what side of the fence you might land on, this has caused a firestorm and may have scared some fans to the point, it might take years to recover. The question I’ll throw right out there is who is at fault for what has happened?
For many fans, this falls squarely on the shoulders of Jim Crane and George Postolos. They should have locked him up sooner or should have given Jimmy a blank check and told him to fill it out. Those are just two examples of finger-pointing I’ve heard since the news broke. Do the Stros deserve fault in this matter, absolutely. They should have locked up Jim and also Bill Brown a while back but that’s just not their philosophy and they finally got burned. What I won’t do is kill them for not trying to retain Jim once the deed was done. From all accounts, including Deshaies himself, the offer or counter offer presented to him was very fair. The deal would have been for multiple years and according to Jim, the longest contract he had ever been offered. So while the Stros and CSN Houston do share some blame for not acting quickly, they certainly made an effort to keep the now former Stros” broadcaster.
Now that we’ve established some blame, the cold reality of where the Astros are is about to be poured upon quite a few fans like an ice cold bucket of water after a drunken night. The Cubs gig is just a better job and always has been. WGN is big time whether you want to accept it or not and once they came calling, it was an uphill battle. WGN money is different and given the prestige of the job, it was just too hard for Jim to say no. This is nothing against the Stros TV color job because it’s a major league team in a huge market but with the state of the club, the Cubs job is just better. Another factor is what Deshaies thought about the switch to the AL and his admiration for Chicago itself. He never sounded thrilled with the move to the AL or AL baseball itself; while quite often mentioning how much he loved visiting the windy city. So, plenty of factors outside of money were in play and just listening to his interviews since accepting the job, Jim seems very content with his choice.
So who do I think is to blame? Honestly, I blame the Stros for gambling on Jim coming back regardless of the delays in getting him signed. Times are different and unstable with the move to CSN Houston so waiting was not the right play. They were probably outspent but from all indications this was more than just about money. The sadness and depression over losing Deshaies will not be soon forgotten for Astros’ fans and right now anger seems to be the prevailing emotion when discussing this scenario. A good replacement for Jimmy would go a long way to help calm the masses and could have them lower some of their fan’s pitchforks but even that is no guarantee.