December 1, 2020

Taubman saga exposes longstanding questions about the Astros’ culture under Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow (The Athletic)


HOUSTON — When Jim Crane hired Jeff Luhnow to be his general manager, he famously handed Luhnow a blank piece of paper. A billionaire in logistics, Crane didn’t issue Luhnow a set of directives, but a canvas to reimagine the franchise.

They set out to build a business as they believed one should look. The Astros were at the forefront of the rush to analytics and new technologies. They moved quickly and aggressively, reorganizing and dismissing a large amount of staff, changing methodologies. The choice to lose for a few years made it easier to acquire young talent, and cheaper while they did so.

Everything was framed, obsessively, around two pillars: winning and efficiency. The product and making money, neatly summed up in one buzzword: sustainability. The Astros were corporate America’s modern-day takeover of America’s pastime, and they moved at breakneck speed.

From the outset, the Astros were easy for media and fans to romanticize because…

Read “Taubman saga exposes longstanding questions about the Astros’ culture under Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow” at The Athletic