Nov. 30th deadline
As the wait to see whether Jim Crane will be approved as the Houston Astros' new owner drags on and on and on, Drayton McLane swears he is resolute.
When asked point blank Thursday afternoon how much time he's spent on coming up with a Plan B, in case McLane's $680 million deal to sell the team to Crane is blocked by Major League Baseball, the Astros' current owner didn't hesitate.
"Zero," McLane said as reporters crowded around him at Minute Maid Park. "This is going to work. Jim Crane and his group are going to be the owners of the Houston Astros."
MLB's commissioner Bud Selig does not seem so sure of that and his decision is the one that will ultimately count. McLane acknowledged that.
"The commissioner talks to you, listens to you," McLane said. "But he makes his own decisions."
Whether the sticking points are really character concerns Selig has regarding Crane (specifically discrimination complaints that were filed against a company Crane built from the ground up and war profiteering charges leveled against Crane's Eagle Global logistics in 2005) or Crane's reluctance to move the Astros to the American League (which was first reported by CultureMap), the approval process has become much more fraught with uncertainty than anyone expected.
So much so, that on a day when the Astros unveiled their plans for their 50th anniversary 2012 season in a elaborate luncheon, McLane found himself answering more questions on the sale that just won't go through.
"I don't see any obstacles that have come up that would prevent (the sale)," McLane said. "I'm extremely confident."
Crane and his group can opt out of the sale on Nov. 30, but McLane maintains that it will not come to that. "That's when our contract expires, but I feel (the sale) will be completed long before then."