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Are the Conflicting Reports on the Astros to the AL an Exit Strategy for Jim Crane? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 08:22

Jim CraneGiven up trying to figure out what’s going on with Jim Crane and the Astros? The vote to approve the $685 million sale from Drayton McLane was delayed in August, and ever since, it’s been in a holding pattern. On Thursday, it will have been a month since MLB announced that the vote was delayed.

There are two camps reporting separate reasons for the delay. Here’s the examples.

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle (AL Issue Won’t Decide Crane’s Fate), Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), and myself here at The Biz of Baseball (Jim Crane Stance on Moving Astros to AL Not What is Holding Up His Approval) have all reported that while the jump to the AL is a factor, it’s not the sole issue that is preventing Crane’s approval.

The other camp has Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Moving Astros to American League Important For Crane's Bid to Buy Team), Brian McTaggert of MLB.com (Source: MLB wants Astros to move to AL), David Dalati of FSHouston (Sources: Crane’s AL stance holding Astros sale)and recently, comments from ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark in his Sept 9 Rumblings & Grumblings (see “Ready to Rumble”).

So, what’s going on? Something that was mentioned by a high placed source a couple of weeks ago could be – repeat could be – playing out.

I’ve said repeatedly that the deal to approve Crane will likely go through (technically, a vote can be called at any point), but it could be as late as the quarterly meetings in November before that happens… if it happens.

But, if the deal is going to fall through, Crane might have an exit strategy.

Crane and his sources could say that it’s the unwillingness to jump to the American League that ultimately doomed the sale. The league will say it’s a number of issues, but not say one way or the other on the jump from the NL.  Hypothetically, Crane could have an out. His character ultimately wouldn’t be the reason for the deal not going through. In other words, Crane would save face.

It should be clear, it’s a theory. Crane could be approved tomorrow, for all we know. But, there’s rarely been so much conflicting reports from reporters that are known for having solid sources, floating around. Clearly, there’s the different set of sources. Which one is right may no longer be the issue. It could be, maybe, part of any drawn out scenario if, perhaps, Crane is not approvable.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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