Well, I was reading Jesus Ortiz yesterday – yeah, I know, I should know better – and I discovered he was actually confirming what many have suspected for many years. Drayton McLane makes all of the decisions involving the Astros.
Of course he does, you’re saying. He’s the owner.
But that’s not what I mean. Because I’m not talking about signing the checks, or hiring the manager, or approving a trade, or designing the ugliest ballpark in Major League history. No, I’m talking about the important things. You see, according to Jesus Ortiz, Drayton is the one who makes the trades. And makes the roster decisions. Tim Purpura’s just a figurehead. And Gerry Hunsicker was just a poser. Because it’s Drayton. All Drayton. All the time.
Don’t believe me? Hell, just read the words of Jesus Ortiz – yes, it’s painful, but it’s the only way that I can prove my point. Why, Jesus Ortiz even lists what he thinks Drayton’s five top moves have been for the Astros, like trading for Carlos Beltran. And trading for Randy Johnson.
Yeah, I can just see Drayton picking up the phone and calling Billy Beane in Oakland and ordering him to take Octavio Dotel off of his hands so that a deal could be completed with the Royals for Beltran. I’ve read Moneyball and I can’t help but think two things: if Drayton did make that call, Beane would’ve either hung up on him, or the A’s would’ve ended up with Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio, Oswalt, Clemens, and Pettitte and the Astros would’ve ended up with the rights to Jeremy Giambi, Jose Canseco, and the elephant.
So, I’m sure it’s going to come as a bit of surprise to Jesus Ortiz, but Drayton didn’t make the trade for Carlos Beltran. Or for Randy Johnson. Drayton McLane may have signed off on those deals, but he didn’t work the phones for days and weeks and months to make those deals. Gerry Hunsicker did that. Hunsicker was the one who dealt with the Royals and the Oakland A’s to pull off the complicated three team trade that resulted in the Astros getting Beltran.
But, if Jesus Ortiz is going to be stupid enough to give Drayton the credit for trading for Beltran and the Big Unit, then he needs to give Drayton the credit for trading Steve Finley, Ken Caminiti, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez, Willy Taveras, Mike Hampton and Billy Wagner. And Drayton needs to get the credit for trading for Woody Williams and Jason Jennings. Drayton needs to get the credit for drafting Chris Burke as a shortstop only to discover that he can’t play short, and Drayton needs to get the credit for trying to turn Burke into a centerfielder. And if Drayton’s going to get credit for keeping Biggio and Bagwell, and for locking up Oswalt and for signing Clemens and Pettitte, then he damn well better be getting the credit for giving up on Johan Santana and Bobby Abreu. And for letting Darryl Kile sign with the Rockies. And for signing Preston Wilson and Doug Drabek and Greg Swindell. And for letting Beltran and Clemens and Pettitte escape to New York.
My point is that Jesus Ortiz is a fool. And we all know he is a fool. But we can’t just sit here and let him keep getting away with this nonsense. If he wants to work for Drayton McLane, if he thinks working for Drayton McLane is the greatest thing in the world (and as one who did use to work for Drayton McLane, I’ll just say you felt that if he were to hug you, you better check your back for the knife), Jesus Ortiz should just go work for Drayton McLane.
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He’s supposed to be the beat writer. He’s supposed to have some objectivity. He’s supposed to actually write some facts. He’s not supposed to be Drayton’s stenographer.
How did the Chron get to this stage? Does anybody else out there remember some of the other beat writers the Chron once assigned to the Astros? Like Harry Shattuck? Or Ed Fowler? Or Terry Blount? Or Neil Hohlfeld? Do you think that any of these guys would constantly let Drayton makes fools of them like this?
Come on, Chron. You’re supposed to be Houston’s leading information source. Couldn’t you act like it and actually assign a real-life reporter to cover the Astros? You might be amazed at what you discover.
And it would do wonders for my mental health. – John Royal