When your product on the field is really crappy, changes in a baseball organization are to be expected. But when they happen off the field, it makes you wonder just what the hell is going on. In the case of the Astros, the maneuvers at Minute Maid on Monday ran the gamut from some potential good news to some baffling unfortunate news for a local charity.
Team president George Postolos officially resigned on Monday, going back to his consulting business. He helped owner Jim Crane purchase the Astros and was responsible for many of the changes with the organization this year, some popular and some not so much. Everything from the uniform and logo changes to the increase in certain ticket prices fell under the purview of Postolos.
In addition, it is believed that the now former team president was at least partly responsible for the stalled negotiations with cable providers AT&T, DirecTV and Dish Network that have kept CSN Houston, home to the Astros and Rockets, off the air for approximately 60 percent of the Houston area. Some even privately wondered on Monday if Postolos's departure could pave the way for a deal between CSN and these providers.
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But there is much more to negotiations than just the Astros. Owners of the provider networks have clearly attempted to make Houston a test case for forcing down the cost of sports networks. It will likely take more than one of the parties resigning for that to change.
In addition to the resignation of Postolos, the Astros announced that they would officially disband the Astros Wives Organization, a charitable wing of the ball club that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Houston Area Women's Center. Last year's Black Ties and Baseball Caps gala raised $250,000 for the local charity. With the disbanding, the Astros also canceled this year's gala, putting the HAWC in a difficult financial position.
Reports are that because so many of the team wives who had participated in the organization are gone thanks to the wholesale changes to the roster, the team decided to go in another direction. The Astros' official charity provides funding to organizations that support troubled youths and inner-city baseball. It does seem odd, though, that they couldn't manage to put together at least one last gala for the HAWC rather than pull the rug out from under them.
I suppose if the Astros were planning on making these kinds of unpopular decisions, this would be the year to do it. If you are going to tank, tank hard. A lot would be forgiven -- at least by fans -- if the team did assist in getting a deal between CSN and cable providers, but that appears to be a long shot as well for the moment.