The clock is ticking on Jim Crane and Comcast. Yes there are many variables at play here and that need to be considered, but ultimately the whole debacle boils down to one succinct conclusion.
If Astros fans cannot watch their team, Jim Crane is at fault. It is not that simple, and David Barron of the Houston Chronicle has you covered for all of the details, but in reality it is. Fans need someone to blame here, and as owner, the buck has to stop with Crane.
The problem though, is that his hands are tied to some extent by Comcast, the courts, and everything that was in place prior to his purchase of the team.
Today, Barron is reporting that Comcast will not be purchasing their fledgling Houston affiliate. Had that taken place, perhaps we would have started to have some optimism about being able to watch the Astros this April without going through extreme measures (or subscribing to Comcast).
Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe (in an email) described the Comcast court filing as a tactical shift by the cable giant.
“Comcast drove the network into bankruptcy for the stated purpose of preventing us from terminating our media rights agreement and to buy the network out of bankruptcy,” Kibbe wrote. “Now, after forcing the city, fans and teams through this ordeal for the last seven months, they’re pulling out. Market conditions haven’t changed. Comcast’s tactics have.”