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Astros sold

With everything else that’s been going on I’ve only been peripherally aware of the ongoing sale of the Astros to a new owner, which is now official.

Jim Crane stood behind the microphone Monday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, in his first moments as the new owner-to-be of the Astros, and spoke from his heart about dreams coming true, of his love for baseball and of his determination to produce a winning product for Houston fans.

And then Crane headed to his seat, only to be hooked back to center stage, with evident glee, by outgoing owner Drayton McLane.

“Don’t leave,” McLane said. “You’re just getting started. You’re just beginning, but this is the fun part right here.”

If he didn’t know it, that was Crane’s first hint that life in Major League Baseball will be considerably more high-profile than his role over the past three decades as broker of supply chain services for business and industry.

Crane, 57, had few specific answers for Astros fans because he will not take the keys to the franchise until the $680 million acquisition is approved by MLB owners. But he indicated he will apply the lessons he learned as a pitcher at the University of Central Missouri in the 1970s and as the founder of two successful companies, most recently Houston-based Crane Worldwide Logistics.

“Baseball teaches you a lot of values, and I tried to use a lot of those values, especially in how we ran the business,” he said. “We try to operate as a team. We weren’t afraid to work harder, harder than the other guys, and we stay persistent. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Welcome aboard, Jim Crane, and best of luck getting the Astros’ ship pointed in the right direction again. My guess is that we’re looking at three to five years minimum, given the still-barren (though better than it was) nature of the farm system. Hope the honeymoon lasts long enough to tide him over till then.

As for outgoing owner Drayton McLane, I think Sean Pendergast summed up his tenure pretty well. Let’s just say that I hope Crane builds on the good things, of which there were quite a few, and leave it at that.

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