Jim Crane approved as Houston Astros new owner: Get ready for American Leaguebaseball
After months of back-and-forth drama, plenty of anxious moments and some heated negotiations, Jim Crane almost quietly finally became the Houston Astros' new owner Thursday.
Major League Baseball's current owners approved Crane as expected in a vote in Milwaukee that lacked all of the intrigue of the arduous process. MLB commissioner Bud Selig sent out a statement — and well, now the hard part begins.
Crane isn't just tasked with turning around a 106-loss Astros team — the worst team in baseball. He also has to convince plenty of bitter Astros fans that moving to the American League — a move Crane himself fought in the approval process — is a good thing.
"I welcome Jim Crane and his group as they prepare to become the new stewards of the Astros," Selig said in his statement. "I thank them for their patience and determination throughout a long but necessary process, which allowed us to accomplish our due diligence. The enthusiasm of Jim and his group will serve the Astros and their fans very well in the years ahead."
Just like that, Drayton McLane's 19-year run as the Astros owner is over except for the ceremony, just like McLane always insisted it would be even as many wondered if Crane would ever be approved by baseball. Once Crane finally agreed to move the Astros to the American League after 50 years in the National League and his ownership group received a $70 million discount on the near-record $680 million sale price for that concession, the deal was done.
The Astros will have one more season in the NL under Crane before starting AL play in 2013. This league switch was not part of the dream for Crane (as CultureMap first reported) but owning a Major League Baseball team is this former small college ace pitcher's long-sought vision.
Crane is excited enough to be flying right from Milwaukee to Houston this afternoon for a press conference at Minute Maid Park.