Astros board meets, tours Kissimmee

Astros owner Jim Crane took the team’s board of directors on a tour of the team’s facility at Osceola County Stadium on Tuesday morning. The board held a meeting Monday night in Orlando, where manager Brad Mills and general manager Jeff Luhnow gave updates on the club and went over finances.

Eight of the investors and Crane threw out the ceremonial first pitches prior to the game against the Cardinals.

The board of directors, which is made up of principal investors, will vote on major decisions, but not be involved in day-to-day operations of the club.

“We’ll try to create an atmosphere where they can participate in an owner’s suite when we get home and get some special perks,” Crane said. “They’re over major decisions, like the budget, and we’d have to get some approval from them. Other than that, [president and CEO] George [Postolos] and Jeff will make the day-to-day decisions.”

Crane said he expected the Astros’ Opening Day payroll to be around $60 million when the season begins April 6 against the Rockies.

“We’ll see what happens as the season moves on and whether Jeff makes any trades and what adjustments we might have to make throughout the season, depending on how things progress,” Crane said. “I think we’ll open [the season] where we’re at now.”

Crane has been in and out of spring camp for the past month and said he plans to take at least a couple of more visits to Florida. Earlier in the month, he traveled with the Astros to Tampa to take in a game at the Yankees’ Steinbrenner Field, and he said he’d like to tour a couple of other facilities before spring camp ends.

“We’re getting close [to the start of the season],” he said. “We’re getting excited and ready for Opening Day.”

Crane will meet with some fan focus groups this week in Houston to go over some designs for the team’s new uniforms, which are expected to debut next year when the Astros move to the American League. The Astros have to have a design submitted to Major League Baseball by May 1. He’s even sought input from some former players, like Jeff Bagwell.

“We want it to be a long term uniform that will show well and fans will like it,” he said.

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