All Things Astros and a whole lot more
It will be a long time before baseball returns to normal in Houston. Even before Harvey unloaded on the nation’s fourth-largest city, it wasn’t clear that the Astros were the best team in the American League. The Indians and Red Sox have closed the gap and have been playing better baseball since the All Star break.
But, baseball has not only taken a back seat for the foreseeable future, it may be in the rear view mirror for some time.
After Ike turned the city — and many stomachs — upside down in 2008, then-owner Drayton McLane toyed with the idea of moving the team. Jim Crane and the Astros have donated $4 million to the relief effort and that’s cool. But with major weather affecting playoff runs twice in a decade, will Crane sit idly by? Of course, he’d have major obstacles to cross to move the team and MLB itself would come under great pressure if he tried to move the franchise after this tragedy.
No, Crane has a major opportunity here to step up and lead the rebuild. Much like Drew Brees did in New Orleans after Katrina. It’s more than saying the right things. It’s doing the right things. It’s more than just throwing money at the rebuild. It’s getting involved in unique ways with good organizations to restore confidence and community.
He can follow the rebuild or he can lead. Understand that both are important, and both are great avenues for the Astros. But few people — very few — can lead the charge. Like Brees in New Orleans, Jim Crane is one of those people in Houston.
I’ve lived through hurricanes and even the Great Flood of 2016 (in Baton Rouge), which didn’t get the same news coverage as this event (pictured above). According to estimates, Baton Rouge received three times as much rain as Katrina. Friends and relatives lost everything. With no insurance. With no safety net. They turned life savings into a new beginning. (Obviously, Harvey is a much different, bigger event of epic proportions!)
But it was the outpouring of friends and new friends who made the recovery and turnaround something different. Republicans helped Democrats. Blacks walked through the waters alongside whites. The young carried the old. Northerners helped southerners. Yes, the Red Cross was there and so was Samaritan’s Purse and others. But it was the personal story and multiple people living together in hotels or homes that were opened to others that stole the day.
Yes, we’ll have baseball again in Houston. But it will be days, if not weeks, and the drag on the team and its players will take its toll. An already-horrid injury toll will only grow with the fatigue of travel and uncertainty. And, it could push Jeff Luhnow a little closer to a deadline deal, time will tell.
Here are a few quick thoughts…