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Hey Drayton, What's the Rush in the Search for a General Manager?

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While the Astros have yet to decide upon their new General Manager, according to the Chron, Drayton McLane sure seems intent upon ramping up the speed of this process and getting it done.

And I ask why?

The story says that the Astros have interviewed 11 candidates, and that Drayton spent about a two-and-a-half hours with each one. And on the basis of these interviews, Drayton thinks that he and the team are ready to make a decision. I keep hearing about how Drayton’s this smart businessman, but would a smart businessman pick his Chief Executive Officer on the basis of one two-and-a-half hour interview? Especially if he had a major business for this CEO to operate?

Drayton tells the Chron that “It’s difficult because we’re making an extremely important decision for the future of the Houston Astros. This is getting the Chief Executive Officer that is responsible not only for the major league team but for player development and then the scouting, which is the lifeblood of the team going forward. We want to get someone that has the experience, who has the skills and the abilities.”

Yet Drayton’s picking the next guy to run his franchise on the basis of one short interview. And he seems to be okay with this. Shouldn’t his brain trust be telling him that maybe he should put as much thought into this as he did into what color the MMP seats should be?

And, somehow I suspect that, come another couple of years, when the newbie’s been fired and Drayton’s casting about for a new general manager, he’s going to be a humming a little tune from Juliana Hatfield (okay, maybe Drayton won’t, but I will):

“And I know I'm a fair-weather fuck I only want you when you're on top I'm afraid when I feel your love I turned away But I'm not better off It should've been you.”

And if that doesn’t make any sense to anything that I’m writing, then also know that I was looking for an opportunity to link to Juliana Hatfield.

I also want to know why Bob McLaren and Pam Gardner are in on this decision making process. McLaren bailed on Drayton several years ago, and Gardner’s the current president of business operations. Neither of them have anything to do with the baseball side of the organization. They’re probably the ones who told Drayton it was a great idea to put a choo-choo train in left field, and they went along with the idea to cover every spare inch of MMP with advertising. I’m sure they’re the ones who told him that no, those orange balls in the back of the train don’t look like giant pumpkins, they look like oranges.

Really, shouldn’t a decision affecting the baseball team be one that’s made people involved with the baseball team? Drayton’s baseball brain trust isn’t the best in the world, but I don’t see where McLaren and Gardner make it any better. Are they in there telling Drayton that, yeah, sure, Ricky Bennett thought that Chris Burke was a no-miss major league shortstop, but he was also wrong about Jason Lane. And Tim Redding. He’s due to get something right. Or so what if Dan Evans couldn’t get along with a miserly owner in Los Angeles, he’s going to do just fine here. And sure Ed Wade gave large contracts to underperforming players, but this is Houston. And Muzzy Jackson, sure he’s worked with the Royals, but now he’s been pre-disastered. And Jim Beattie, why that’s easy to explain, Peter Angelos is an even bigger jerk than you. Hey, don’t worry about Bob Watson trading Luis Gonzalez for Rick Wilkins, because at least he didn’t trade Kenny Lofton for Eddie Taubensee.

Is that the advice they’re giving?

And I just know that, the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Devil Rays aside, the Astros are in the process of becoming the laughingstock of Major League Baseball.

But at least there’s going to be a GM by the weekend.

McLane says he’s rushing this because there’s a lot of evaluating he wants to do before the season ends. He wants to evaluate Cecil Cooper. He wants to evaluate the players on the roster. And he wants to start preparing for next season.

Drayton, I’m going to let you in on a secret: this can be done in the off-season. Don’t rush. If you hire you’re new GM after the World Series, it’s the first of November. If he doesn’t want Cooper, there are going to be plenty of options. There are always plenty of managerial options out there. There’s even talk that Tony La Russa will be out of work come this season. And Walt Jockety. So don’t rush into one solution when there are still plenty of other options out there, especially when there might be plenty of other options out there.

(Here’s a hint: make a phone call to 612-375-1366 and ask to speak to Terry Ryan.)

Take your time. This is a big investment. After all, you don’t want to make another mistake like this do you? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or this?

But enough of that...

Guess what, the Astros won a game last night. And in extra innings. But here’s how baseball stats lie. You see, Brad Lidge is credited with the win. So you might think he pitched a good game. But he got the win because he surrendered a two-run home run in the 9th inning that allowed the Brewers to tie the game. And the win did screw things up a bit for the Astros. The team’s now tied for last-place, and it’s lost the right to be the title holder of the worst record in the National League.

Come on, guys. If you’re going to suck, then suck. Let’s give the city something to be proud of.

That’s it. I’ve got nothing else.

The Astros are off on their last road trip of the year with four games in St. Louis and three in Cincinnati before returning for the final three games of Craig Biggio’s career (in case you didn’t know, he’s retiring. And, hey, Craig, do us a favor. Take MMP with you, then maybe Drayton will have to replace it with a major league baseball stadium instead of that kid’s amusement park the team currently plays in).

With ten games left, the Astros stand at 66-86 for the season. I win a free lunch if this team wins less than 75 games for the season. I don’t know about you, but unless the Astros find someway to finish up this season 9-1, I think I’m collecting. -- John Royal

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