Drellich: Taubman saga exposes longstanding questions about Astros’ culture

From SABR member Evan Drellich at The Athletic on October 25, 2019:

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 they were different. And because they seemed fearless, too. Pushback to how they operated was sometimes rebranded as validation — and sometimes rightly so. But Crane and Luhnow always posited that winning would fix everything.

Read the full article here (subscription required): https://theathletic.com/1317907/2019/10/25/taubman-saga-exposes-longstanding-questions-about-the-astros-culture-under-jim-crane-and-jeff-luhnow/

Originally published: October 25, 2019. Last Updated: October 25, 2019.