When Crane-y Owns the Team

I write the Texas Monthly Bum Steers. No, I don't draw the covers and I'm not responsible for the fact that the cover artist for the 2014 Bum Steer issue included the wrong Astros uniform and the wrong players (like Michael Bourn).

I lobbied hard for the Astros to be the sole winner of the Bum Steer of the Year, because I wanted them to win SOMETHING. But, no, they had to share it with the Texans and David Dewhurst.

Anyway, one of the sidebars I wrote for the piece was cut. The editor asked me to write an Astros version of Casey at the Bat. It wound up being "When Crane-y Owns the Team." Once you see the title and read the poem, you'll understand why it got cut, but still, I wanted to share with the CFB community.

With apologies, of course, to Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

Crane-y Owns the Team

It was a bad era for baseball in prideful old H-town,

The local nine, now dreadful, seemed headed only down.

Their partisans were fewer, and a body duly needed strive,

To find one who remembered the pennant of '05.

Things had gotten rocky under owner D. McLane,

Who grew ever more tired with the rigors of the game.

But a ray on the horizon some claimed to see a-gleam,

"Winning will make a comeback when Crane-y owns the team."

Alas, ‘twouldn't be so simple for fans to flee that hell,

The grand game’s overseers told McLane he couldn’t sell,

Unless his ragged team, already showing some fatigue,

Joined the junior circuit as doormat of the American League.

"Agreed," said Crane, and deep relief spread throughout the town,

At last things were looking up for the franchise spiraling down.

"At last," we cried, "momentum! We’re finally gathering steam,

For surely we’ll be a-winnin’ when Crane-y owns the team."

But smoothly and a-calming one can’t say things did start,

And CEO George Postolos most surely played a part.

Fear not, said owner Crane-y, for Georgie is my friend.

But some wondered to themselves, didn’t he think up CSN?

Ah yes, the TV network, that was largely Georgie’s dream,

‘Twas a big part of the package, when Crane-y bought the team.

Yet few strong fans in Houston, wagging fingers made of foam,

Could find the Astros playing on the TVs in their homes.

For cable execs aren’t stupid in their quest to make a buck,

"Why should we pay," they asked, "to carry teams that suck?"

Between Crane and Comcast, there emerged a mighty rift,

But some fans saw it as a blessing, while some saw it as a gift.

For on the field things went south, with all deliberate speed,

Hitting, pitching, defense and smarts were all sorely in need.

"Wait," Crane cried. "You must have faith in GM Jeff Luhnow,

And new field general Porter, though you can call him Bo."

Yet with the stars of yore all long gone, now arrayed upon the field,

Was ought but rooks and castoffs, for example, Rick Ankiel.

The gaffe-prone squad that couldn’t see the forest for the trees,

Made fans from long gone seasons pine for the Killer Bs.

With team payroll a-plummet, morale followed likewise,

We looked upon the diamond and said, "Just who are these guys?"

And when Forbes claimed full coffers ought be making Jimmy beam,

Aghast fans feared the future now that Crane-y owned the team.

Five score eleven losses there would in total mount,

But after a seven and nineteen April, who bothered still to count?

Up in the Crawford boxes, arose an anguished scream;

"To think that we held out hope for when Crane-y owned the team."

‘Twas a dwindling throng who witnessed the long, drawn out malaise,

Records, they came a’plenty, like most all-time team Ks.

Though Bo tried in vain to teach the lads when not to steal a base,

Fewest wins ever in a season speaks plainly on its face.

Somewhere, say Arlington, fans can yet still have hopes,

A competent front office, a squad not full of mopes,

But in old H-Town now, there’s scant hope in the scheme,

For it’s Crane-y, wealthy Crane-y, is the man now owns the team.

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