The Astros are set to announce that Drayton McLane and Jim Crane have reached an agreement on the transfer of the team at a 2 PM CT press conference. But while there has been a lot made of Drayton’s legacy, there hasn’t been quite so much PR about the new overlord of the Houston Astros.
Zachary Levine has a huge piece up about Crane at The Chronicle. It goes heavy on the history and the quotes of Crane’s journey. I want to focus on some of the less flattering things said about Crane, not to muckrake, but because I don’t think a whole lot has been made of them yet:
The EEOC in 2000 accused EGL of attempting to avoid hiring blacks and women of child-bearing age, creating a hostile working environment for women, paying women and minority employees less than white males who did similar work, failing to investigate employees’ complaints of sexual harassment and destroying evidence that it was instructed to retain as part of the EEOC investigation. The agency sought $20 million from EGL to settle the case.
That’s uh, certainly not something to be glossed over here. David Coleman wrote about this issue possibly being a stumbling block. I don’t think it will be, if only because I don’t think MLB would’ve let the sale get this far if it was going to be an issue, but it should at least give some pause to rabid backers of the sale. Astros County has heard some similarly bad things:
This is what I fear with Jim Crane. We got a couple of emails over the weekend about Jim Crane that, if they’re true – and we’re working on it – are terrifying. We’ve been hearing the Right Things about Crane (as you would expect): he’s into data analysis, which presumably means that he wouldn’t sign off on trading five players for Miguel Tejada, he’s local(-ish), he’s a Baseball Man. And he just might fire Tal Smith. But what in the hell do you expect to hear in the first days of knowledge of the transfer of ownership?
It will be impossible to tell how good or how bad Crane will be as a baseball owner just yet. We can pull quotes from people who are with him, and we can look at his business record. Those things don’t have much bearing on how he’ll actually run the Astros. It’s clear that he has a great PR team in place already. I’m withholding judgement right now, as we just haven’t seen enough of him yet.