Jim Crane pulls a fast one on Houston


Monday, Jim Crane made some significant announcements that will change fan experience at Minute Maid Park. He also described some other potential changes that had vastly different reactions from the fan base. While Crane strongly hinted at a uniform change come 2013, he also hinted at a possible name change. While the former was received with cheers and applause from many fans, the latter evoked quite the opposite reaction. Many fans have been up in arms about the possibility that the Astros name could be no more in 2013. So while the Astros will be changing leagues, could they change much more then just that?

The reality of the matter is Jim Crane created more buzz in one sentence than anything the Astros have done in a very long time. Maybe it was pure dumb luck but knowing the type of businessman Crane has been, that seems doubtful. He planted a seed that had the airwaves of Houston buzzing on Tuesday. The mere thought of making such a drastic change brought out loyal and casual fans alike to voice their displeasure with the move, for the most part. Thing is, Crane has Houston talking Astros again and has created a ton of momentum that the franchise needed badly. The question many fans should ask themselves is whether Crane wanted to just plant the seed or let it grow?

As mentioned above, the Houston radio scene was buzzing and everyone had an opinion. While a large portion of sports talk hosts saw through Crane’s marketing ploy, most fans took the news to heart. It’s understandable, after the forced change to the AL West, most fans would be sensitive to anything of this sort. Bottom line is Crane understands this and knew he would suffer a pretty considerable backlash but also realized the team needed something to create news. While the other changes, noted by Brian yesterday, would have created some buzz, it would have subsided fairly quickly but the shock factor of a name change would stick a while longer. Crane understands winning cures all wounds so he was willing to take a little bit of a publicity hit in an effort to generate badly needed news for the club.

So would Crane actually make the change? There is always a chance something like this could happen but those chances are remote at best. Listening to Crane’s presser, he basically hit on every gripe the fans have had over the past few years under Drayton McLane, Crane is listening. As soon as he hears or heard the backlash all over the internet and airwaves, I’m sure he will sit back and smile while uttering the words “gotcha.” Even as of Tuesday afternoon, the Astros sent out a tweet telling fans to go to their facebook to voice their opinion on this matter and all the changes they have planned. Crane is certainly listening and will respond soon, so don’t be surprised at the additional changes he plans to make either.

So while fans called and tweeted their displeasure, Jim Crane accomplished his purpose for having the press conference in the first place. Crane was able to stir up conversation about his ball club in late January while not making any big splashes, although I love the Chris Snyder signing. While Crane’s ethics have been called into question, this once again proves, Jim is a savvy business man.