Correspondence matters. Not enough people tell other people how awesome they are these days in writing, mostly because it takes time and effort, and quite frankly, a lot of you are really lazy.
Jim Crane is a lot of things, but lazy isn't one of them.
And after a 2013 season in which the last win occurred the night before the Alabama-A&M game (which feels like it was like a year ago, right?), Crane realized that the most awesome people on earth are the ones who would spend their hard-earned dollar to watch a 111-loss team bumble their way through the season.
So on Thursday, he wrote them to tell them that.
Not a handwritten letter, mind you (those are the best!), although judging by crowds during the month of September at Minute Maid, it would not have been impractical. Banging out a few dozen letters in an evening while polishing off a sixpack of beer or nice bottle of wine? Very doable.
But Crane's a busy guy, so he took to the "blast e-mail" route to let season ticket holders all know they were so very special, so very incredibly patient and that his, nay THEIR team is on the cusp of doing some big things!
Here's the letter with my observations on the parts I've put in BOLD afterwards:
Dear Astros Season Ticket Holder,
On behalf of the entire Astros organization, I would, once again, like to thank each and every one of you for your outstanding support. We realize that this season had its share of disappointment, but you have stuck with us during this rebuilding process and we cannot begin to tell you how much you are appreciated. Your dedication will be rewarded. Better days are soon to come for the Astros. We are very confident about that.
As most of you know, when we purchased the ball club, we had a very clear plan for rebuilding this franchise and providing you with a consistent playoff caliber team. The most important and fundamental part of that plan was to build one of the top minor league systems in baseball. Now, after just two years, we have transformed what had been the worst farm system into one of the best. Six of our minor league clubs made the playoffs this season, with two of them winning championships. Our combined won-lost record for our minor league clubs was second-best in baseball.
None of us are happy with our Major League club's won-lost record. Believe me, we feel your frustration. We will make significant improvement in 2014. With the minor league system on track, our plan for rebuilding will now focus on an increasing payroll at the Major League club level. A significant aspect of team payroll is television revenue.
Regarding CSN, I'm sure you're aware that Comcast affiliates recently filed a petition requesting that the network be placed into bankruptcy. This was an improper filing by Comcast and, we believe, an attempt to force us to accept a deal that will have extremely negative consequences on the Astros for the next 20 years. This is a battle we must fight. You, as our fans, deserve to watch the games on television and you deserve to watch a playoff caliber team. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure to provide both of those things to you.
Thank you again for your loyalty and support.
Jim Crane Owner and Chairman Houston Astros
1. "We realize that this season had its share of disappointment." No, this season had its share of disappointment, along with 2014's, 2015's and 2016's share of disappointment, along with the shares of disappointment of five million victims of clinical depression during a six-month flash flood. Let's not understate things, Craney.
2. "Six of our minor league clubs made the playoffs this season, with two of them winning championships. Our combined won-lost record for our minor league clubs was second-best in baseball." Smoke and mirrors. While I suppose you'd rather have winning minor league teams than losing ones, history shows very little correlation, if any, between the winning percentage of a club's minor league affiliates and eventual major league success. Virtually every championship-level team has needed outside help, significant outside help, to eventually win at a high level. Some people will buy into this hypnotic trick, though.
3. "We will make significant improvement in 2014." 4. "...our plan for rebuilding will now focus on an increasing payroll at the Major League club level." Two statements that are almost mathematically impossible not to fulfill. In Major League history, the list of teams worse than the 51-111 crew the Astros trotted out this year is a short one. As for the payroll, short of sending a band of trained chimps and homeless people out on Opening Day, I think it's also mathematically impossible not to increase the payroll in 2014, as compared to the roster that finished up 2013. Hell, Jose Altuve's $3 million bump may as well be A-Rod's deal.
"5. This is a battle we must fight." This is in reference to the Comcast fiasco, where the battle lines are clearly drawn between the Astros and the other ownership interests. I don't know that waging a war of public perception with the Rockets is a really good strategy right now. But that's me.
THIS WEEKEND'S BEST BETS A little bit of a bounce back this past week, and by bounce back I mean that for the first time all season, I finished .500 for the week! Some may say it's a long, slow climb back to .500 overall on the season, and to that I say, "Yeah...or it's just two 6-0 weeks back to .500!" And you know the old saying -- you can't have two 6-0 weeks until you have ONE 6-0 week!
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So here are the picks for this week, in rapid-fire format:
Illinois/NEBRASKA OVER 59 1/2 West Virginia/BAYLOR OVER 70 Cincinnati -12 over SOUTH FLORIDA BEARS Pk over Saints Chiefs -2 1/2 over TITANS Patriots/BENGALS OVER 45
Last week: 3-3 Season record: 9-21
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.