Jim Crane

Jim Crane to be approved as Astros new owner later this month


Via Maury comes news that Jim Crane’s candidacy to become the new owner of the Houston Astros is likely to be voted on at the next owners’ meetings, which take place on August 17th and 18th.  It’s expected that he’ll have smooth sailing.

I was asked yesterday if it was bad for the Astros that he wasn’t approved before the trade deadline.  Astros fans chime in here if you think differently, but I’m struggling to think of how it would have helped.  To have made a difference, he would have had to be on the job, have already fired Ed Wade, hired his replacement and his replacement would have had to make a thorough assessment of the system and everything.  I just don’t see how that could have happened in such a short time frame.

By being approved in late August he’ll have a little over a month to hang around and get to know the operations better.  And he’ll be able to be ready to pounce at good front office talent as soon as the season ends.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.