Entering his second season as the owner of the Houston Astros, Jim Crane is much more comfortable with the state of the team and organization, as well as his role with the team.
“I think we’ll have everyone pulling the same direction (this year),” Crane said when asked about the upcoming season. “There was a lot of emotion with Drayton leaving and people get unsettled with change. Now all the change is made. We’ve got the manager, we’ve got the GM, the assistant GM. They’re all working closely, and I think you’re going to see a lot more unity this year and a lot more precision with the team than we saw recently.”
Crane is also coming to grips with his very public position as the owner of Houston’s baseball team, though the demands initially took him back some.
Of course, being the owner does have its perks. was able to get his alma mater, Central Missouri, to come to the Astros in Action Division II Invitational and throw out the first pitch before the Mules’ game with Texas A&M Kingsville Friday afternoon.
“I had a lot of fun playing baseball, got me though school,” Crane said. “Learned a lot doing that and to give a little back is great.”
The former college pitcher looked comfortable out on the mound, and he’s just as comfortable with the path the Astros are taking heading into spring training.
“I think our baseball operation is much better (this year),” Crane said. “I think we’ve been making good selections with the players, we’re rebuilding the minor league system. From last to about 10th, and we’ll draft first again this year. We’re going to keep stocking that talent and as soon as we see some progress and a nucleus on the field that we can go big league with, we’ll spend some money.”
“That’s been reinforced by a lot of big baseball people, the way we’re rebuilding it will stick and will stay. We’re doing it the right way.”