Our beloved hometown team was held hostage for several years before a tuxedoed Jim Crane crashed through the glass window, rescued the fan base from the evil Dr. McLane and declared that he liked his martinis “shaken, not stirred.”
…and after a boatload of money was exchanged and ink dried, Astros fans felt a sense of relief.
Whew! The worst is over!
Better days are ahead.
Of course, then there was the widely unpopular announcement that the Astros were “being forced” to the American League. Then there was the overnight erection (that’s right, I said “overnight erection”) of the Community Partners billboard that blocked the gorgeous view of downtown. Then we all took front row seats to “Reign of Terror” type covert firings and mass defections of anyone and everyone from the radio guys to the bullpen catcher.
And, now, Jim Deshaies has interviewed with the Cubs to join their broadcast team.
I’m not entirely shocked. Sadly, it just seems like business as usual for the Houston Astros.
I can sum up Jim Crane’s Astros in one minute. The scene in Step Brothers where Brennan and Dale are looking for jobs and they interview with Seth Rogen for a janitorial position while wearing tuxedos. Rogen’s character says that the brothers “seem like cool guys.” He notes the irony of the tuxedos, finds the brothers endearing and prepares to offer them a job. “You guys are hired unless you’re the weirdest guys ever, and I don’t see it.” Then Dale cuts a long, drawn-out fart. Rogen’s character then realizes that Dale and Brennan aren’t who they seem. He tastes the fart. “Now the tuxedos seem kinda f—ked up.”
This is your Houston Astros.
They are the weirdest guys ever, and we just don’t see it.
Root. Root. Root.
Let’s be clear, Jim Deshaies wanted to interview with the Cubs. He made the choice. No one held a gun to his head. As a matter of fact, there are several Astros fans willing to point out that perhaps Jim Deshaies is just not that into you. And they might be right… but it seems like Jim Crane’s Astros have pretty much botched each and every opportunity they’ve had since taking over the organization that I’m not so sure I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt anymore.
And, if this is an organization that Jim Deshaies no longer wants to be a part of, shouldn’t the Astros have some level of culpability in creating that environment?
I have never believed Jim Crane when he said he was forced to realign the organization to the American League – not once, and I still don’t. I never believed Crane when he tried to convince fans that the Community Partners billboard was some kind of happy accident.
Until convinced otherwise, I will continue to believe that Jim Crane has been peddling bullshit since he took over.
And I won’t believe Jim Crane or the Astros when they eventually say that their hands were tied where Deshaies was concerned.
The benefit of the doubt ship has sailed – it is time for accountability. Jim Crane needs to understand that the Astros are rooted in Houston and these fly-by-night business operations will eventually expose him as a fraud and criminalize himself in the eyes of the people who want him to succeed the most.
Time and time again, the only thing Jim Crane has shown Houston is that he is committed to consistently shooting himself in the foot.
Make no mistake about it - if Jim Deshaies leaves for Chicago, the Astros have no one to blame but themselves.
The Astros should have never let it get this far. They should have locked Jim Deshaies up a long time ago. They should have made Jim Deshaies so comfortable in Houston that he would have never considered another job. It has been up to the Astros to ensure that Jim Deshaies continues to be a part of the Astros family – thus far, the Astros have failed to do their job. This was an obligation, and they’ve failed miserably.
Perhaps the broadcasts have little effect on ratings, however, Deshaies is regarded as one of the best in the business and the Astros have very little “best in the business” in their organization. I have often questioned whether Jim Deshaies would ever consider a national TV job with Fox or ESPN… I never imagined the Astros would let Deshaies slip away to WGN.
The Astros have the opportunity to do something special. They can make Jim Deshaies synonymous with Astros baseball. He can be the organizational stalwart that transcends and endures multiple generations of fans, but the Astros have been too blind or ignorant to make the necessary gestures to ensure a long-term commitment.
As of right now, you could make an argument that Jim Deshaies is the most beloved of all current Astros’ employees. The Astros might even agree as they gave away Bill Brown/Jim Deshaies bobbleheads less than 18 months ago. Consequently, fans have taken to Twitter and blogs to voice their outrage over the prospect that Deshaies will not be in the booth for 2013. The folks at the Crawfish Boxes, Climbing Tal’s Hill and What The Heck, Bobby have already chimed in. Jayne from WTHB also posts where you can send fan mail. Sensible Lee Street has threatened to become not so sensible. Anna-Megan Raley is not impressed.
There are a lot of Astros fans who have changed their profile pictures to pictures of Jim Deshaies. I did. I recommend you do the same.
There is a recognizable and substantial base that still supports Jim Crane and the Astros despite their unpopular moves. I’m in that group… still. There is still a chance to win over fans that haven’t defected to Ryan’s Rangers just yet. …it’s not too late. While there is an argument to be made about winning curing all ailments, if Jim Crane continues to encourage and nurture a culture of indifference and isolation – he’ll find himself without fans when the gates are supposed to pick up. If he doesn’t believe this will happen, look no further than the 2013 Baltimore Orioles.
I’m very passionate, and I’m very critical of the Houston Astros because I care. I still care. Despite everything – I still care. Once guys like me quit caring, the Astros are going to be in a world of trouble because I’ve been accused of exercising blind loyalty and unconditional love – but I’m not so sure I’m so blind and I’m not so sure my love is unconditional. I’m not too invested in the Houston Astros that I’d stand by quietly and spend my hard-earned money while some two-bit drugstore cowboy takes advantage of me. I’m strongly opposed to being taken for granted; I hold grudges, and I spend my money wisely.
I’ll spend money on a loser, but I will not spend money on someone who treats me like I am ignorant.
Jim Crane is poking at the beehive that belongs to his most loyal bees – and, if he keeps poking, he’s shouldn’t be surprised when his ass gets stung.
Will Jim Crane invite me to one of his focus groups? I’d like to tell him that I think his “aw, screw ‘em, they’ll keep buying tickets” marketing strategy will eventually come back to hurt him in the end. Houstonians are loyal – but we’re also smart, and we can tell when we’re getting the run around.
We’re getting the run around.
Jim Crane looks great in a tuxedo, he seems like a cool guy and he might be fun to work with. But I’m starting to smell a pretty rancid fart… now the tuxedo seems kinda f—ked up.