Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dunce Cap Award: Jim Crane

Mr. Crane is the owner of the Houston Astros, the worst team in Major League Baseball. If there was any evidence that Crane was guilty of having foot-in-mouth disease, it was on display recently when he told reporters that there was a possibility of Roger Clemens returning to the Astros later this month.

According to Yahoo!, Clemens, who has pitched 8 total innings in 2 starts for the minor league Sugar Land Skeeters, has said he'd only pitch for Houston if he were placed against a contending team, such as St. Louis or Pittsburgh, not a team that is out of contention, as the Astros are. Crane is looking to boost attendance at Minute Maid Park any way he can, but an out-of-shape Clemens, who by his own admission isn't major league ready, isn't an answer by any stretch.

Look, I get that Crane is desperate, having acquired the Astros last year. Next season, the team will shift to the AL West, where they already have an in-state rival in the Texas Rangers. Instead of playing the Rangers 6 times a year, as they did in interleague play for the last 16 seasons, the Astros would see that number triple to 18, with three series at home. What Crane should be doing is finding a formula that will improve the team's on-field product. They have a fantastic group of young players, many of whom cut their teeth in my district with the Tri-City Valleycats, but it is the leadership in the dugout that hasn't worked out. All Crane needs do is see what an old war horse like Davey Johnson has done in Washington, turning the Nationals from an also-ran to a prospective division winner in less than 2 years. Buck Showalter has done the same in slightly more time across the Potomac in Baltimore. Crane is looking for a new manager for 2013, but rather than have Clemens, 50, defy Father Time and pitch, let him, well, manage the team. Another pitcher, John Farrell, had Toronto in contention for a good part of the first half, but they collapsed, wilting under the summer heat because of injury.

A reunion between Clemens and the Astros will only work if "The Rocket" isn't on the playing roster, but rather is a coach or manager. If Crane can't figure that out, well, I'm sure we're all embarassed for him. He's got a Dunce Cap for his harebrained idea of bringing Clemens in for maybe a week, but this might be the start of a trend........

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