20 Modest Fan Suggestions for Jim Crane

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The word from on-high came earlier this week when the Houston Astros announced that Jim Crane had heard the voice of the fans and thus would not be changing the team's name. It's nice that Crane paid some attention to the people who buy tickets (though it does seem strange to see how many people complained, since it seems like everything I read said that people would no longer follow the team because it was being moved to the American League).

So since Crane's paying attention to the fans, here are a few more things he can do that should win over most of the baseball fans in the city.

20. Bulldoze Tal's Hill. And take that stupid choo-choo train with it.

19. You've said you're considering this, but just to reiterate, get rid of those ugly, boring, ugly uniforms the team's been wearing since 2000. The preferred option is to return to the classic late-1960s shooting star with dark blue caps and orange trim. Think of all of the cash you'll make with people buying the new merchandise.

18. Thanks for lowering the cost of domestic beers. And thanks for allowing fans to bring in some foods. But there's more you can do. Lower the costs of hot dogs and sodas, especially sodas since fans aren't allowed to bring them into the stadium.

17. It's time to put an end to Milo Hamilton as the team's radio play-by-play voice. Bill Brown's about the best in the business. But when a person's stuck in the car, listening to the TV broadcast is not an option, which leaves only Milo and his call on the radio. He often doesn't know what's happening in the game. He spends too much time discussing his lunch or kissing up to sponsors, and he makes it nearly impossible to figure out what's actually happening in the game.

16. I'm not much of a fan of mascots at baseball games. The Phillie Phanatic's a classic, but most mascots are just mere rip-offs. That said, I've never actually seen the Astros "rabbit" mascots do anything during a game except stand around the field before the game. If you're going to do the whole mascot thing, make the mascot somehow germane to the team, and have it actually do something during the game.

15. Get rid of that stupid party suite behind home plate and return the press box to that location.

14. Maybe it's just me, but when I go to MMP for a baseball game, I want to see stats and quizzes related to baseball and the Astros on that big-ass video board. Enough of the stupid movie and celebrity quizzes.

13. While we're at it, must the fans be bombarded with music every time there's a stoppage in play? Allow the fans some time to talk to their friends without having to shout.

12. But if the constant music bombardment is going to continue, would it be too much to ask for more Cake, Foo Fighters and The Beatles? There's way too much of that country music and teeny-bopper crap played.

11. Forget the idea of Jason Castro being the team's future at catcher, and enough with the Humberto Quintero experiment. Move Chris Wallace up to the majors this year and team him up with Chris Snyder. For the first time in MLB history, there would be two former UH Cougars catching for the same team at the same time. Make it happen.

10. While you're embracing the idea of the late-`60s uniforms, how about embracing the late-`70s concept of hot women in tight clothing as ball girls?

9. Please do not adopt the habit of Drayton McLane of popping into the radio booth and visiting with Milo for an inning or two every game. It's hard enough to follow the game when it's just Milo yakking about lunch, but when he's got a guest it usually takes about three innings to catch up on the action.

8. How about just one first pitch a game? On top of that, how about making that first pitch come from a fan that actually purchased a ticket to enter the stadium that day? Enough of the corporate CEO's, politicians and faux celebrities.

7. How about the occasional Old-Timer's game or Fantasy Camp? These used to be fairly common when John McMullen owned the team. I'm sure you could get a good crowd out there to see Craig Biggio hit off of Larry Dierker.

6. Speaking of Dierker, how about returning him to the broadcast booth?

5. Don't sign players to fat free agent contracts if one of their demands is a chance to miss time in spring training so they can come to Houston for the rodeo.

4. Can you speak to the programming geniuses at 740/790 AM and ask them to have an adult host the postgame show? If not, at least have them make sure that the host actually knows a little something about baseball, i.e., not Dylan Gwinn.

3. If any person from marketing barges into your office and suggests celebrating the visiting team, then make sure that person is fired.

2. Don't listen too much to the fans. Listening to fans whine about the offense is how the Astros got saddled with Carlos Lee.

1. Drayton McLane retired the number of seemingly every guy to ever play for the team. But he refused, for some reason, to retire the number of J.R. Richard, one of the best pitchers in baseball in the 1970s, and the guy who nearly lost his life because Tal Smith didn't believe he was injured. Do the right thing and retire his number.

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