Crane meets with Selig about Astros sale

Crane meets with Selig about Astros sale

Crane meets with Selig about Astros sale
HOUSTON -- Houston businessman Jim Crane, whose attempt to purchase the Astros awaits approval of ownership, met one-on-one last week with Commissioner Bud Selig in an effort to help move along the process.

Crane released a brief statement on Monday afternoon in which he explained the meeting, which was held in Milwaukee: "Late last week, I had a constructive, one-on-one meeting with the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig. It was a very constructive meeting, positive in all respects, and our transaction continues to move forward."

Crane's group signed a sales purchase agreement in May to buy the team from Drayton McLane for $680 million, an agreement that comes with a Nov. 30 deadline. MLB reportedly has asked Crane to agree to move the Astros to the American League if he is approved.

Crane has declined requests for comment.

Selig agreed that the meeting was constructive during a press conference at Miller Park before Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

"I thought the meeting was constructive," Selig said. "And other than that, I don't have anything to say about it. It was the first time [Crane] and I really spent any time together, and I thought the meeting was constructive. But nothing more than that."

In August, Major League Baseball postponed a planned vote on the transaction during the owners' meetings, saying it needed more time to examine the deal. Baseball's owners are scheduled to meet again from Nov. 15-16 in Milwaukee and could be asked to vote on the deal at that time.

McLane remains confident a deal will get done.

"I sure think it will," McLane said. "It's gotten complicated for a number of reasons, but I think it should come to the forefront in the next week to 10 days."

The Astros have played in the National League for all 50 years of their existence, but a move would give each league 15 teams and pave the way for a second Wild Card team from each league. A move to the AL could add financial wrinkles for Crane, including increased travel costs and the addition of a designated hitter.

McLane previously said that he was against a move to the AL West because it would result in an increase in the number of late start times. The Astros played in the NL West from 1969 to 1993, a division that at the time included the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.

Crane has been kept in the loop about the Astros' moves this year, including the July trades of outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn and June's First-Year Player Draft.

Crane's group also would take ownership of the Astros' stake in a regional sports network, through which the team has partnered with the NBA's Houston Rockets and Comcast. The network will begin airing Astros games in 2013 and Rockets games beginning with the 2012 preseason.

Crane is the chairman and founder of Houston-based Crane Worldwide Logistics and the former chairman, CEO and majority shareholder in Eagle Global Logistics, which provides heavyweight freight transportation and related logistics services.

A native of St. Louis, Crane received a bachelor of science degree in industrial safety from the University of Central Missouri, and he was a standout baseball pitcher for the Division II school from 1973 to 1976.

McLane bought the team in 1992 for $117 million. During his tenure, the Astros made the playoffs six times in a nine-year span, including their first World Series berth, in 2005.

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.