Rejected Dejected: Astros Waiting Around for MLB to Do Something About Jim Crane
It's known as the Rejected/Dejected shot. The camera focusing on the batter as he walks back to the dugout after having just struck out, usually on a called strike. It's one of those shots that best capture the emotion of the game and help to bring the viewer closer to the experience.
Somebody finalize this deal already.
And knowing of the Rejected/Dejected shot, one can't help but wonder if, somewhere, some enterprising director has placed hidden cameras in the offices of Drayton McLane and Jim Crane, just waiting for that moment when Bud Selig finally gets off his ass and makes the call that pretty much every baseball fan in the country knows is coming. That phone call saying that MLB has voted down Crane's purchase of the Astros from McLane. One can't imagine a more appropriate Rejected/Dejected shot.
Drayton McLane is still claiming that the sale will be approved by MLB soon. Of course, he's been making such proclamations since June. But as time passes, as more and more of the details of Jim Crane's personal and business life become exposed to the public, as more and more of the details of the financing plan become public, the more likely it becomes that MLB and Bud Selig are looking for some kind of nice way to tell Crane to take his money and go home.
Maury Brown, who writes for the Biz of Baseball blog and Forbes.com, has done most of the damage to Crane's attempt at the purchase. Word is that MLB was well aware of the EEOC problems, and was willing to overlook those. And word is that MLB was aware of the problems arising from Crane's divorce. They were even willing to overlook the debt-laden financing plan being advanced by Crane and his partners to purchase the team. But when Brown came out with the story of Crane's war profiteering, something of which MLB was previously unaware, then MLB finally, or so it appears, decided that that was just too much baggage.
While McLane appears to be sticking beside Crane, the rumors are out there that Selig has already informed Crane that his bid has been rejected. But while MLB is denying this, they are also refusing to state when a vote will occur.
So just what is going on with the deal? There's endless speculation, and unless one has a direct line to Bud Selig, no one really knows. Perhaps Selig's trying to help his buddy Drayton out and seeking some way to get the other owners to approve this deal. Why would the other owners be hesitant about this deal? Well, there's the current mess that is the Los Angeles Dodgers and that team's shattered ownership, which is being contested in divorce court and which has revealed the whole McCourt ownership deal to be a bit of a scam. And there are the problems with the New York Mets ownership, an ownership which is caught up in the Bernie Madoff dealings. And with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres ownership being torn apart by nasty divorces over the past decade, perhaps the owners just don't want to have this same thing with the Astros.
Selig and MLB just can't keep letting this thing hang out there. At some point they've got to act. Perhaps Selig is waiting for Crane to get the message and back out. But if Crane hasn't gotten the message yet, is he ever going to get it? So it's all going to come up to Selig to get the vote done and get this deal approved or not approved.
Because until he does something, the Astros are a team stranded in limbo. It's pretty obvious that McLane wants out, and in many ways, it's not fair for him to have to keep spending money on a team he believes that he has sold. If it's not sold, then MLB should let McLane know so that he can get back to trying to find other parties to buy the team.
There was a late entrant into the sweepstakes to purchase the Astros. The father of Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman was supposedly heading up a group to purchase the team if the Crane deal fell through. And maybe Selig should let the deal fall through so that McLane can start dealing with that other group and try to get a deal done.
It's a wonder that Crane has gotten this far in his attempt to buy the team. It's a wonder that, after he backed out of a deal with McLane in 2008 to purchase the team, McLane would even deal with him again. It's a wonder that with all of his baggage MLB hasn't already nixed the deal. But it's a situation that needs an end point, and that end point needs to be soon.