This morning I had the opportunity to speak with Jim Crane, George Postolos and Jeff Luhnow at a season ticket holders Meet & Greet at Minute Maid Park. I was very encouraged by the direction and tone of the meeting and wanted to share some of the high points.
Following some brief introductory remarks by Crane and Postolos, Jeff Luhnow took the microphone. His main points were that he intends to devote considerable resources to the front office for analytics, devote considerable resources to the June draft, emphasize effective player development and expand the Astros relationship with the Mexican Pacific League in particular. As he has stated before, he is intent on building a strong farm system so that the Astros will be able to compete year in and year out. This was emphasized by Postolos as well.
It was also announced that there will be some type of season ticket holder event in conjunction with the June draft. I am unclear on the details of this, but I am incredibly excited by the prospect.
There were several good questions/comments during the Q&A. I made a comment about how some feel that the season ticket experience has been devalued with the proliferation of cheap deals to the non-season ticket holder, and how upset people were when "Sweet Caroline" was played during a Red Sox game at Minute Maid Park (which led Astros fans to feel that they weren't as valued as the Red Sox fans). Jim Crane took the question and came extremely close to guaranteeing that season ticket holders would be getting a partial credit on their tickets, and did guarantee that a decision would be made by February 15th. And, although the "Sweet Caroline" incident wasn't specifically addressed by Crane, I think from the comments that were made, you could safely bet that incident will never be repeated.
Other questions involved the no outside food/drink policy (Postolos indicated that they will probably loosen that policy), the minor league affiliates (no changes anticipated at this time), and other such.
In response to one question, Jim Crane did explain more about how the American League move came down. He was told in no uncertain terms that, if he wanted to own the team, he had to agree to the move. No buyer was going to be approved without that condition being met; it was part and parcel of the new CBA and he was outnumbered.
Finally, I did talk to Jeff Luhnow briefly and I asked him about better avenues of communication with regard to minor league players, particularly as it pertains to the status of injured players (such as Vincent Velasquez) and the almost total lack of information on the DSL players. He told me that he would think about how to facilitate better communication in those areas.
Overall, I came away from that meeting feeling that the Astros franchise is in good hands and that, although the process will not be a quick one, we are headed in the right direction.