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Why Jim Crane Might Not Get Approved as Astros Owner For Some Time, If At All PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 29 August 2011 08:46

Jim CraneWhen MLB delayed the vote to approve Jim Crane as the new owner of the Houston Astros, current owner Drayton McLane said it would be just a short time before Crane would be approved.

"The Jim Crane group is a large group, and the commissioner called today and said for a number of reasons, they have not been able to complete all of the work, both with the financial and the investigation, and it should take no more than 10 days to two weeks to get that completed," current McLane said on the day of the vote delay. "The financing is good. I think the investigation of the individuals, they are some of the most outstanding people in Houston. I see no issue, whatsoever."

That was two weeks ago today, and there’s no sign that he will be approved soon, if ever.

Baseball winced when McLane held a press conference mid-May announcing the sale to Crane. The league’s approval process was still in play, and while McLane wants the sale to happen as fast as possible, they have other pressing matters.

McLane mentioned two weeks ago that the league had to do an “investigation of the individuals”, but Crane is the one that is also continues to be under the microscope.

See Is Jim Crane the Astros Savior, or the Next Frank McCourt? and Why Jim Crane Could Become Baseball's Most Controversial Owner

This past weekend, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune wrote in his “MLB Whispers” capsules, “Jim Crane's bid to buy the team is in danger of falling apart as MLB explores his history of workplace complaints. There's no alternative group, but some say the Crane group could remain viable without Crane, inserting someone like Kenny Friedman (Andrew Friedman's father) as managing partner.”

Speaking with MLB sources, they said they have heard nothing of such a shift. On Kenny Friedman, the notion seems a long shot, at best. Crane is a large investor in his group, and Friedman isn’t worth nearly as much as Crane. The only way such a scenario would fly is if the investor group stepped up and filled the hole.

But, even if Crane’s background were not at issue, the vote isn’t likely to happen until the November. Yes, the league can hold the vote via conference call, but they have more pressing matters to deal with right now.

Those close to baseball say that the Dodgers bankruptcy, the Mets legal battles surrounding the Madoff ponzi scheme, and the labor negotiations around the new CBA are pushing the Astros sale into the backseat as resources are spread thin.

But, back to Crane, everyone close to the matter agrees that Crane’s background continues to be the wild card in getting the deal done. Rogers’ idea of Kenny Friedman may be a reach, but the idea that some other individual that would become the managing partner is something worth considering as the process continues to drag on.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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