Friday, January 13, 2012

An Astros Meet & Greet with the Powers that Be

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.

10 comments:

  1. This is all great information! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Very cool, thanks for the recap.

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  3. Thanks 4 sharing. I am set to go to the2nd of these next week

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  4. Thanks for all passing on this information. It does make me chuckle that you feel your season ticket holder experience is undervalued because non season ticket holder get cheap deals. Meanwhile, you are invited to this special event and get information directly from the horse's mouth that people who either choose not to or are unable to season ticket holders have no access to what so ever.

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  5. In response to farmstros, I was passing on the concerns of other season ticket holders who had not renewed, but I do feel that the criticism has validity. I've been reasonably happy with my experience and, as long as there is no more playing of "Sweet Caroline," I will undoubtedly continue to renew. Thanks for reading!

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  6. Had to go look at all the benefits season ticket holders are given. http://houston.astros.mlb.com/hou/ticketing/season_benefits.jsp I have about as much interest in buying season tickets as a I do in getting cable TV in my home. Still it is a pretty sweet package.

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  7. In response to Farmstros- I think it's worthy to note that I have been a partial season ticket holder for 8 years. I do NOT get those benefits listed for those who hold full season tickets. My purchase guarantees the club purchased seats for 27 odd games and in return, I get to sit in the same seat every game. Early on last season there were people sitting around me who didn't make the same commitment to the club that I made (in terms of tickets purchased) and yet their seats next to me cost half as much. I would call that devaluation of my season ticket experience.

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    1. In response to AGirlintheSouth, my comment was specifically about the FULL season ticket holders not partial season ticket holders like yourself. I don't deny that product prices being lowered after someone else buys it is a valid concern. At the same time, this is not uncommon in business.
      Mostly though, I just found it ironic that the complaint was being voiced at an event, which is a very attractive incentive for FULL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS, which as best I can tell a partial season ticket holder or a fan who just goes to a few games a year would NEVER be offered.

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  8. It is surprising that there are no incentives for partial season ticket holders. That is a big financial committment. At least $500? It will be interesting to see what adjustments the new leaderships makes to keep season tickets happy.

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  9. I am a season ticket holder and I was told that I would be sent an invitation to the meet and greet. Needless to say, I never received the invitation. I can only presume that they don't care. One more item of discussion. Since Crane is revamping the front office, why is Pam Gardner still around? I think the job that marketing has done with the 50th Annivesary celebrations is extremely weak. I still think that the 50th Anniversary logo looks like a tomstone...kind of ironic don't you think.

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