The Year in Astros Baseball: Thank God That's Over
1. They finished with the worst record in team history, which was quite the accomplishment seeing as how the Astros were pretty damn bad for most of the 1970s.
2. It wasn't all bad. Drayton McLane finally found a
sucker buyer for the team.
3. Of course, Drayton announced in May that the team was sold but the sale wasn't actually approved until November.
4. That long approval time had a bit to do with Jim Crane being a kind of rotten individual who paid out some large fines to the EEOC and to the Justice Department for items like discrimination, sexism and war profiteering.
5. With the final approval of the sale came a slight condition, the condition being the Astros move to the American League at the start of the 2013 season where they will compete in a division with the Texas Rangers, Oakland A's,
Los Angeles California Anaheim Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Seattle Mariners.
6. The positive news continued when, shortly after the sale was made official, new owner Crane fired team president Tal Smith and
Tal's GM Ed Wade. Somehow, Pam Gardner, who handles the business operations of the team, held onto her job. That's probably related to Crane's misogyny issues and his desire to keep the EEOC off his ass. binkie
7. Still, EEOC aside, it's kind of surprising Gardner kept her job considering that in July, Gardner allowed Minute Maid Park to turn into Fenway Park South for a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. The video boards featured Red Sox trivia and fans were encouraged to sing "Sweet Caroline," which, though a Neil Diamond song, has become a kind of Red Sox theme song and is played every night at Fenway.
8. Of course, Minute Maid Park did get a brand-new Big Ass Video Board, the better to distract the fans from the product on the field.
9. Jim Crane does appear to have the right idea when it comes to this team. That idea being it's going to take a long time for this team to get better. His first major hire as owner was the hiring of Josh Luhnow to be the general manager. The most shocking aspect of the hiring was the near universal acclaim from the baseball intelligentsia, who haven't said very many fond things about Astros moves over the past several seasons.
10. And as the Astros did in 2010 at the trading deadline, the Astros in 2011 made several deadline trades in an attempt to bring some talent into a depleted organization. So Ed Wade traded Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies and Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves. Of course, since Wade was still in charge, it appears that, once again, the Astros failed to get any of the top prospects from the Braves.
11. The final nail in Wade's coffin was probably the fact that Wade provided access to Business Week magazine during the Bourn trade. And, wow, did Wade come off looking like a fool.
12. It also didn't help Wade that the crown jewel of the Bourn trade to Atlanta, centerfielder Jordan Schafer, who had previously served a 50-game suspension for PED use, was arrested in Tampa after the season for possession of marijuana.