Drayton McLane has started the countdown, again. In five days McLane hopes to be able to deposit a large check into one of his many bank accounts and hand the keys to the Astros franchise to Mr. Jim Crane.
MLB owners will meet in Milwaukee this week. A vote on whether or not to approve Crane as the new owner of the Astros is officially on the agenda. The vote has reportedly been scheduled for Thursday. But we’ve heard it before. In August, owners met in Cooperstown but decided to delay their vote on the sale of the Astros. Commissioner Bud Selig cited many
excuses for that particular delay. Meanwhile, there seems to be a groundswell of support to approve the Houston businessman once accused of war profiteering and discriminatory hiring practices. That support seems to be stemming from Crane’s willingness, for a price, to move the Astros to the American League.
How much of a discount is Crane asking for, and where is that money coming from? It was originally reported that Crane wanted $50 million, but more recent reports suggest as much as $80 million has been discussed. As I see it Crane and McLane have already agreed on a price. If MLB wants to railroad Crane into switching leagues they need to be the ones to come up with the cash. Bud can pass a hat around the room and hope for the best.
I really expect the deal to get done this time around. Selig has hinted that he may retire after the 2012 season and has a lot of work to do to secure his legacy as anything other than a failure. Approving the Astros sale will allow Selig to move on to more pressing issues in Los Angeles and New York. Selig has wrestled control of the Dodgers away from Frank McCourt and will sell the team through a “court supervised process.” Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have become quite familiar with court proceedings as well. As former investors with the infamous Bernie Madoff, the two brothers-in-law are facing lawsuits claiming they knowingly profited from Madoff’s ponzi scheme. Selig continues to stand behind Wilpon and Katz. But if some of the allegations against these guys are true, they make Jim Crane look like a Saint.