Cool Hand Luke Prevails Over Astros Future

"What we've got here is - failure to communicate." - Captain, Cool Hand Luke.

“What we’ve got here is – failure to communicate.”

The Captain’s immortal lines from 1967’s Paul Newman classic prison road gang film, Cool Hand Luke, live again through the conclusion of this 50th and most disastrous Astros season of 2010. You can read it in everything that’s going on – and not going on. And what’s primarily not going on is a clear understanding in Commissioner Bud Selig’s office (or mind) as to how destructive this mishandled delay in the final approval of new owner Jim Crane is to fan support that’s needed now on top of the worst year in team history.

Drayton McLane, Jr. can go on television daily, if he so chooses, to reassure the world that everything that’s not happening now is simply part of the due diligence process, but that’s not going to halt the suspicions of Crane that are growing among many fans from the few aspersions upon his character that have fallen upon him as a result of the news about his company’s alleged war-price-gouging and unfair racial hiring practices. It isn’t fair to put that kind of information out there into an environment that hungers for trust and gets nothing but gust. – Unless you are trying to bring someone down with slanderous or libelous talk, that’s the deadliest “failure to communicate” that someone in authority can make about a potential member of the corporate (MLB) family. – The longer this decision hangs in the air, unresolved, the more it dissolves into distrust and a failure to communicate anything positive about the group that is willing to pay $680 million dollars for this wonderful opportunity.

How fair is that? And now hard is it now going to be to build trust in the season ticket holders that are being asked to renew for 2011 in the cloud of all this uncertainty – and with the  Astros’ bullpen in the Cardinal series offering a likely preview of what they will be buying into for 2011?

Add to all this “failure to communicate” the growing worm-suspicion that Selig is really just using this extra time to pressure Jim Crane into moving the Astros to the American League West as a condition of his approval as the club’s new owner. – No matter how strongly many of us feel in opposition to an AL-move, Mr. Crane no longer has that option with any of us. If Crane were approved today as the new club owner – and even waited until next year to explain that he has approved the move of Houston to the AL – we would not believe him. We would blame Bud Selig.

Commissioner Selig, and all of those who thrive upon Draconian dances with their hidden agendae, seem to not get the most basic facts about communication: Failure to communicate always communicates distrust in the process of whatever is going on to the very person or people you are trying to reach. In this case, the Commissioner of Baseball risks further alienation from the fans of Houston as he also earns new distrust from a man who has been willing, up until now, to put up $680 million dollars for the opportunity of owning a big league team in Houston.

If I were Jim Crane, I would look at the assets and talent I’m getting for my dollar in October 2011, I would look at the damage that has been done to my clean slate with the fans by this sorry process of “accidental” (at best, clumsy) assault upon my reputation, and I would look at what I’m now facing as the challenge to building positive steam again. Under no circumstances would I agree to move the franchise to the AL as a condition of my approval – and I would very seriously ask myself, bottom line: Is this what I signed on for? Is all this worth $680 million dollars?

No failure to communicate with myself on these two questions. If I don’t get two powerful YES answers, I’m out of here.

Let the Commissioner take out his failure to understand the dynamics of communication on somebody else. He’s already toasted Houston for whomever follows in my wake, should I decide to go.

 

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2 Responses to “Cool Hand Luke Prevails Over Astros Future”

  1. JW Says:

    Months ago I wrote a piece about how Crane would be good for the Astros, and I was inundated by the Anti-Crane crowd. At first, I was surprised by that, but as time has gone on, and the digging on Crane has continued, I ‘m starting to understand the problems in Houston run deeper than ownership.

  2. MIke Says:

    Bill,

    At last night’s Astro game, as the crowd was giving a standing O to Drayton McLane in what could be his last game as owner, I was thinking how probable it is that he’ll be back next year. I don’t know what Bud Selig has against Houston, but from the “opening the roof mandate” in the playoffs (despite the Minnesota precendent), to the must play in Milwaukee the day after Hurricane Ike (with local players so concerned about families, homes and no electricity that the Astros were no-hit victims), to the now proposed move to the American league (supported by no one at last weeks SABR meeting) without regard to the opinion of the team’s fan base; one cannot doubt that he has some kind of undisclosed grudge to settle.

    On a lighter note, your picture of actor Strother Martin brings to mind another movie he co-starred in with Paul Newman, “Slap Shot!” The Hansen brothers, one of my all time favorite movie created cult characters; and the movie itself, one of the top sport themed movies of all time.

    Mike

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