Everyone knows by now that the 2012 season will be the last season the Houston Astros are considered a National League team. This will end fifty years of National League traditions. Some were upset but moved on, some are still upset and some, like myself, never really had an opinion on the matter. Former Houston Astro and current St. Louis Cardinal, Lance Berkman, never liked the move. When it was first rumored Berkman did an interview stating that he hoped the Astros would continue to play in the National League. This week, he took it a step further.
Most Astros fans know that Lance Berkman isnt the type of person to keep his opinion to himself, so it came as no shock when he stated the following in an interview:
"“I feel basically like the commissioner (Bud Selig) extorted Jim Crane into moving the Astros.”"
As I originally said, I didn’t really care one way or the other which league the Astros were in, but I completely agree with Berkman. MLB writer and Astros hater, Jon Heyman, did not as he wrote this article, basically picking and choosing which definitions of the word “extortion” he wanted to use when he bashed Berkman’s opinion. Keep in mind, Heyman’s baseball “expertise” is questionable at best as he believes Don Mattingly is a more deserving player than Jeff Bagwell for Hall of Fame induction, despite Bagwell’s records being vastly superior. Berkman believes that Bud Selig and MLB basically told Jim Crane that they would only approve him as the owner of the Astros if he agreed to move the team to the American League in 2013. Let’s take a look at the word extortion, as Heyman appears to have lost his dictionary. Extortion is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion. Telling someone (Jim Crane) that you (Bud Selig/MLB) will only approve something (sale of Astros) if they promise to do something (move the team to the American League) sounds an awful lot like extortion to me. What do you think? Is Berkman right? Was Jim Crane extorted by Bud Selig and MLB?