Jim Crane is flying to meet baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday, a source close to Major League Baseball tells CultureMap. An attorney is expected to accompany Crane on the trip.
"Materials have been prepared for the meeting," the source told CultureMap. "They're going to discuss specifics."
The meeting comes the day after baseball insider Peter Gammons broke the news on Twitter that the Houston Astros are expected to move to the American League as Crane is finally approved as the franchise's new owner.
It will be the second face-to-face between Crane and Selig in the last week. MLB's ultimate decision maker (Selig runs anything but a democracy) appears to be becoming more and more comfortable with Crane taking over the team from Drayton McLane.
As CultureMap was first to report back on June 11, Crane has been extremely resistant to the idea of the Astros switching leagues. Crane's confidants have told reporters that this reluctance is really what's held up the sale of the team from being approved rather than the old discrimination complaints or war profiteering charges against his companies. It's unclear whether today's meeting will include a discussion of the compensation Crane would request for an Astros' move to the AL.
A Crane spokesperson has said that there have been no meetings on an American League switch in the past and that Crane's ownership group has not agreed to any switch. There is some speculation from people who know Crane that MLB officials pushing for the AL move may be the ones who leaked that info to Gammons.
Under the terms of his contract to purchase the team from McLane for $680 million, Crane's group could still walk away from the deal if that major a change is put in. Selig could be betting the Crane (who has come close to owning a team several times before, only to see the deals not work out) is too emotionally invested to walk though.
Crane and Selig also met in person last week. "I had a constructive, one-on-one meeting with the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig," Crane said in a statement about that meeting that he released on Monday. "It was a very constructive meeting, positive in all respects, and our transaction continues to move forward."
This second meeting is expected to last a matter of hours, with Crane flying back afterwards.