September 17, 2021

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…

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