New owner of the Astros answers some tough questions.

By Travis Rodgers

1560 The Game/Yahoo Sports Radio

Travis Rodgers: So obviously the big topic here in town is that the Astros are moving to the American League in 2013...A lot of Astros fans are upset about that. What would you tell them?


Jim Crane: Well, that’s not the deal we signed up for, either, but it became very clear to us during the process that, if we were going to own the team, or anyone was going to own the team, that it was going to be an AL team. It does make sense for baseball because they need to even us out, and they’re going to put another Wild Card team out there, and they needed this for the Collective Bargaining Agreement from a labor-side. So without an option, we decided we would be the best guys to own the team and we continued to put another up for a different deal. We certainly need the fans support and want them to come back out and give us some time, and we’ll do a job for them.


TR: How long do you think it will take Astros fans to be comfortable with being an AL team? Is it just a matter of winning games?

JC: Well, you hope to put a better product out there...you know, baseball is baseball. There’s going to be some positives this season, you know you’ll see some east coast teams. I talked to Nolan Ryan who said it’s going to be great when we get down to the end of the division, at the end of the year, and we’re both in contention playing each other. I try to look at the positives. Change is always difficult...but we’re going to make the best of it and put a good product out there for the fans, and we need the fans. The fans are the key to this whole business.


TR: Now that the deal is official, what is the first order of business for you?


JC: We’re going to sit down with all the key employees and assess what they’re doing, try to get a feel for that. We’ll also take a good look at the baseball operations and get a report on what’s going on and what their plans are. Then we’ll make some decisions on what we need to do moving forward.


TR: Is any of the money that was discounted [off the sale price] for moving the team going to be reinvested into the team?


JC: We didn’t get any of the money. Drayton took a discount off his original deal and baseball cut a deal to compensate him. We saw a purchase price reduction and that’s because it’s a different deal...It’s a little more expensive to run a business in the American League. We will continue to invest money in the team. We have the excess capital in the structure they put together, we do have a big TV deal that’s coming through next year that’ll give us another $30MM.


TR: How far do you think the Astros are from being a competitive team? Is it a 2 year or 5 year process? In your mind, what do you see?


JC: Anywhere from 2-5 years to get us extremely competitive and compete for a championship.


TR: What made you decide to buy into baseball? Why did it appeal to you?


JC: I played when I was a kid and played when I was in college so its always been a dream of mine. One of our big businesses, selling it, a few years ago gave me the opportunity to put the group together. I felt that I could put a good team together and build a winner here. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.


TR: Do you have any idea of what kind of owner you’re going to be? We’ve seen owners you are incredibly involved and have their hands on it from a very ground-level and we have guys that are taking a hands-off approach, they put their people in positions to make decisions and watch what happen. Do you know where you’re going to fall in that spectrum?


JC: I’d say, about in the middle. Having played a little bit, I understand the game and I understand the business side. I will hire good people and hold them accountable but I will be visible and will make sure everyone’s doing their job correctly. We’ll continue to assess that. So, somewhere in the middle. I’m not going to over-manage anybody or be an obnoxious owner, that’s for sure.