Results tagged ‘ Jim Crane ’

Crane takes in first camp as owner

Astros owner Jim Crane kicked off Spring Training early Monday by addressing the pitchers and catchers prior to their first workout, and then took a stroll around the facility at Osceola County Stadium to get the lay of the land.

“I’m feeling my way around,” he said. “It’s a nice facility and everybody has settled in and everybody is ready to go to work. The conversation this morning was [to tell them] to work hard. There are a lot of positions up for grabs. I think everybody if focused.”

Crane, whose group purchased the team from Drayton McLane in November, was scheduled to fly back to Houston on Monday night, but will return in time for the first full-squad workout on Sunday. As a former college player, Crane reveled at the chance to be back in his element.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I hadn’t been in a locker room in a long time. You never forget what it’s like. There’s a lot of young faces sitting in the room and probably anxious about making the team, and you kind of understand that when you’ve played baseball. I played baseball, and it brought back a lot of fond memories.”

Astros owner Jim Crane does an interview on Monday




Crane: Astros won’t change name

The Astros recently changed owners, will switch to the American League next year and could have new uniforms by 2013.

One thing that won’t change is the team’s name.

In an video emailed to season-ticket holders on Monday, Astros owner Jim Crane informed fans that Houston’s baseball team will continue to be known as the Astros. Crane hinted at a press conference last week to announce new fan-friendly initiatives that team management was considering changing the name of the franchise.

The thought of a possible name change caused a ruckus with fans on internet message boards and local sports talk radio stations. The majority fans made it clear they wanted the club to continue to be called the Astros, a name the team has had since it moved to the Astrodome in 1965.

“You asked for change and we addressed our fan-friendly initiatives last week and we hope you liked them,” Crane told fans in a videotaped interview. “We will continue to listen and look for additional ways to improve on and off the field. One thing we’re not going to change is the name. We received strong feedback and consensus among season-ticket holders and many fans, and we will not be changing name, Astros. Astros are here to stay. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark soon.”

This season marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise, which began play in 1962 as the Colt .45’s.

In the last several weeks, hundreds of season-ticket holders took part in sessions with Crane and members of Astros management at Minute Maid Park to discuss ways to improve their experience while attending Astros games. The Astros also received hundreds of responses to a season-ticket holder survey and on the club’s Facebook page.

Last week, the team announced ticket prices for more than 5,000 seats at Minute Maid Park have been lowered and said more affordable beer prices were going to be offered throughout the ballpark. And for the first time since Minute Maid Park opened, fans will be permitted to bring in their own food and beverages.”

“We feel this is the right thing to do,” Crane said during last week’s press conference. “It is a way for us to let our fans know how vital they are to our success, and to let them know we’ve been listening to them.”

Crane indicated that a uniform change was something management has been exploring for a while and if they do want to make a change prior to the ’13 season, they’ll have to notify Major League Baseball sometime around the start of the ’12 season.

If there are indeed new uniforms, the name across the front will stay. The Astros will remain.

Should the Astros change their name?

Astros owner Jim Crane created some news Monday when he told reporters the team is considering changing its name upon moving to the American League in 2013. The Houston franchise began as the Colt .45’s in 1962 and changed its name to Astros when it moved into the Astrodome three years later.

The Astros are changing leagues and likely will have new uniforms in 2013, and now perhaps even a new name. Let us know what you think about the Astros possibly changing names by taking our poll:

Astros lower ticket prices

The Astros on Monday announced several new, fan-friendly initiatives, including a reduction in ticket prices, rebates for season ticket holders and a revised policy on bringing food and beverages into Minute Maid Park.

“We feel this is the right thing to do,” Astros owner Jim Crane said. “It is one way for us to let our fans know how vital they are to our success, and to let them know we’ve been listening to them.”


Fans are now allowed to bring food and water into Minute Maid Park for Astros games. Food must be transported in a small, clear (see-through) plastic bag, and water must be in a sealed, plastic bottle, being one liter or less in size. One bottle of water per person is allowed. The Astros new policy now mirrors that of most Major League ballparks.

Additionally, the Astros have expanded the $5 beer special to include every permanent concession stand and permanent bar at Minute Maid Park where domestic beer is sold.


As a special thank you for their loyalty and commitment, the Astros will issue five percent rebates to full-season and 27-game season ticket accounts that are renewed by January 31, 2012. Those rebates will be distributed in the form of a gift card that can be used to purchase food, merchandise or individual game tickets at Minute Maid Park.


The 2012 season will bring a reduction in the cost of over 5,000 seats at Minute Maid Park, in comparison to the start of the 2011 season.

The Astros low-priced, Outfield Deck seats have been reduced even lower, now costing $5 for adults and $1 for children ages 3-14 (adult tickets were $7 in 2011). With this reduction, a family of four can now attend an Astros game for $12, which is the best everyday value in the Houston sports market and less than a single movie theater ticket in some instances.

In August, with the consultation of Crane, the Astros made a significant reduction in the price of a large number of Field and Club Level seats at Minute Maid Park for 2012. Seats in the newly-created Field Box II sections are now priced at $29, down from $41 in 2011. And, with the creation of the new Power Club, located on the exclusive Club Level, fans have the opportunity to purchase a $35 ticket that includes a $15 credit for food, beverage and retail items. Those same seats were $46 in 2011, with no added credit.


The Astros will also continue to offer several of the popular ticket specials that have been available in recent years in an effort to make Astros games affordable to all fans.

Price Matters Days presented by H-E-B

This offer, which is available for every Monday through Thursday Astros game, includes one View Deck II ticket, one hot dog, a bag of H-E-B chips and one soda for just $10, which represents a savings of over 50%. Also, for $10 more, fans can purchase a lower level seat in the Bullpen Boxes.

All You Can Eat

For $30, this deal includes a Mezzanine game ticket and unlimited hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, soda and water  and is available for every home game. Groups of 20 or more are eligible to purchase this package for just $25.

Coca-Cola Value Zone

This offer, which is available for every Friday, Saturday and Sunday game, includes a Mezzanine ticket and Astros cap, as well as a hot dog and Coke product beverage for $20.

POWERADE Double Play Tuesdays

This popular offer, which is available every Tuesday, features two Outfield Deck tickets for just $2. Additionally on Tuesdays, fans can now also purchase two Field Box II tickets for just $40, which is new in 2012.

 9-Inning Lunch Break

This package is offered for weekday, 1:05 p.m. games and includes a Field Box ticket and $20 in Minute Maid Park food and beverage vouchers, which is a $61 value, for just $45, a savings of $16 per ticket.

Dynamic Pricing

This offer is available for every Astros home game for select seats. Prices, which fluctuate based on demand, can represent up to 50% in savings per ticket.

Special Fundraising Pricing

The Astros offer special fundraising opportunities to charities and community organizations, which can earn up to $10 per ticket by selling discounted Astros tickets.

Group Ticket Specials

With the Astros Group Ticket Program, groups of 20 or more can purchase discounted tickets. Group discounts can be as high as 50% per ticket, depending on the size of the group.

The return of Mills makes sense

Despite all the changes the Astros have been going through in the last month, manager Brad Mills never really appeared to be in danger of losing his job. And deservedly so.

Mills, who will return for the final year of his contract in 2012, has two years under his belt as manager (132-192 record) and has seen the Major League club stripped and payroll dropped while the team stockpiles prospects in a rebuilding phase. Mills did a terrific job of keeping the Astros competitive in the second half of the 2010 season after losing Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and last season’s 106-loss campaign certainly couldn’t be put on him.

The Astros used 20 rookies last season, including starting second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Jimmy Paredes and outfielder J.D. Martinez, and had one of the youngest rosters in baseball, including an inexperienced bullpen. Mills’ mission has been to mold the young players and get them ready as quickly as possible while trying to win games, which is an extremely difficult challenge.

“Brad’s our manager,” new general manager Jeff Luhnow said Thursday when asked about his job status. “I had a good conversation with him, and I’m looking forward to working with him as our manager.”

Astros owner Jim Crane sang Mills’ praises.

“Brad’s a good developer of talent and that’s what we need,” he said. “I like Brad and I had a good time to visit with him and hear his input. We spent some time together [at the Winter Meetings] in Dallas, and Jeff feels the same way about him.”

New GM will come after Winter Meetings

The Astros won’t have a new general manager in place until after the Winter Meetings, which get underway Monday in Dallas.

Assistant general manager David Gottfried, who has assumed the role of general manager until a full-time replacement can be found, said Monday he was told by team president and CEO George Postolos he would remain as interim GM through at least the Winter Meetings.

“George indicated yesterday it would be through the Winter Meetings, and he didn’t indicate how far beyond and I didn’t ask,” Gottfried said.

The Astros are searching for a new GM after Ed Wade was dismissed following four-plus seasons on the job. New owner Jim Crane and Postolos will have plenty of opportunities to interview potential candidates at the Winter Meetings, when front-office executives from every team will be in attendance.

Postolos, who wasn’t available for comment Monday and hasn’t laid out a timetable for finding a GM, did contact manager Brad Mills to address rumors his job status was in question. Mills is under contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013 and no change is imminent.

“There was some speculation out there [Sunday] night and I think that was all premature and not accurate,” Gottfried said. “George reached out to Millsie personally to make him aware.”

Gottfried, who’s been with the club for 13 years, including five as assistant GM, said the club’s goal remains the same in the wake of the dismissal of Wade and long-time president of baseball operations Tal Smith.

“We’re just going to continue to load up the farm system as best we can,” he said. “Certainly, in all my conversations with George, he wants to get good and stay good for a long time and believes, like many people, the best way to do that is with a strong farm system.”

Wade told last week he wouldn’t return

Former Astros general manager Ed Wade told on Monday that he was informed by owner Jim Crane and club president and CEO George Postolos last week that he would not be returning for another season in Houston.

The Astros began a major shake-up of their front office by announcing late Sunday president of baseball operations Tal Smith andWade were being dismissed. The moves come less than a week after a group led by Crane assumed control of the club from long-time owner Drayton McLane and only a week before baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, scheduled to begin next Monday in Dallas

Wade said he was informed in a meeting with Crane and Postolos on Wednesday morning he wasn’t going to be retained, and he left flew to his Philadelphia-area home later that night for a previously scheduled to trip to spend time with his family at Thanksgiving.

“There was really no discussion beyond that beyond timing of announcement,” Wade said. “I did have an opportunity to talk about some of our staff and the esteem I hold them and [manager Brad Mills]. It was a very brief conversation. We’ll move forward from here.”

Wade, who was hired Sept. 20, 2007 to replace Tim Purpura, inherited a team with a barren Minor League system and an owner who would trim payroll over the next few years prior to selling the club. The Astros contended in 2008, going 86-75 and finishing in third place, before slumping to 88 losses in 2009 and 86 in 2010. <p>

The team, which traded away franchise icons Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman in 2010 and up-and-coming players Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn in 2011, hit rock bottom last season en route to losing a club-record 106 games and having 20 rookies see playing time. <p>

Smith, Wade out in front office shake-up

The Astros began a major shake-up of their front office by announcing late Sunday president of baseball operations Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade were being dismissed.

The moves come less than a week after a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane assumed control of the club from long-time owner Drayton McLane and only a week before baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, scheduled to begin next Monday in Dallas.

Crane’s $610 million bid to buy the Astros was approved by Major League Baseball owners Nov. 17, and he told reporters shortly after being approved that significant changes were on the way.

Smith, who just completed his 54th season in baseball and 17th consecutive with the Astros, was a close confidant of McLane and has been a mainstay in the Houston baseball scene for decades. Wade had been on the job with the Astros for four-plus seasons.

In a statement released by the club, team president and CEO George Postolos said assistant general manager David Gottfried will serve as interim general manager, but is not a candidate for the permanent position.

“With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations,” Postolos said. “We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. We recognize their dedication to the Houston Astros. We thank each of them for their significant contributions and many years of service to the Astros, and wish them our very best as they pursue new opportunities.

“The search for a new general manager begins immediately. We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal.”

A feature on Jim Crane

Here’s a video posted by the NCAA about Jim Crane, who is leading a group to buy the Astros: