Richard Justice is justice denied

one of the local sports hacks has a blog…yeah old media is so hip these days.  anyway, this old coot spends his time vacillating between fan boy and hater in regards to the Astros.  yesterday was his fan boy swing.

the main crux of his post was:

  1. The Astros are one of baseball’s five winningest teams since Drayton McLane bought them. Does that make them smart? Sure it does.
  2. The Astros have more than doubled revenues since McLane arrived. Does that make them smart? Absolutely.
  3. The Astros have one of the most beautiful and fan-friendly ballparks in all of baseball.

i responded as such:

  1. some might posit that Wal-Mart McLane’s success from 1994-2001 was a residual of the previous owner; Wal-Mart inherited the team and farm system, one that he has spent the last 10 years destroying.
  2. this is such a non-issue. the US economy grew almost exponentially during this same period. a monkey running the front office could have doubled revenue during the same time. i bet almost all teams did this; even more so for teams located in the heart of the oil/energy boom.
  3. and last time i checked, all Houstonians, regardless of their position on the Astros, paid for that stadium. Wal-Mart McLane’s legacy in regards to the park is his failure/ignorance in doing business with Enron.

his reply: Check out those six playoff teams and tell me what John McMullen had to do with them. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You’re crediting him for bringing Craig Biggio into the organization? OK, that’s fair. How about Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Kent, Brad Lidge? Go ahead and tell me what John McMullen contributed to the 2005 National League championship team? Your other two points are dumb, too, but there’s a Seinfeld rerun coming on. I’m OK with ripping Drayton. No one does it more than me. I even enjoy it. He’s about as annoying a person as God ever put on earth. Possibly the most insincere man I’ve ever met. But fair is fair. You’re trying to be like him, and that’s not a good thing.–Richard

i expected his run to the 2005 World Series team; anyone arguing against our current owner/management is going to encounter this.  unfortunately, many of those who throw up this argument have no clear idea of what an outlier is.  i am not going to spend my time drawing up a histogram for this crew of apologist, but suffice to say, one World Series berth since team inception in 1965 is not a history of exemplary team play. here’s the list of World Series playoff teams; even teams like the Marlins and Blue Jays have a better record of attendance.

this still doesn’t answer his assertion that Wal-Mart McLane is responsible for our new batch of talent.  all i can say is that of the five he listed, only two remain, and there is a lot of hubbub around that Roy is leaving (i.e. willing to wave his clause so he can seek out a winning team with a chance at making the playoffs.)  anyway, running out those names is not an indication that McLane has done much.  Beltran left after a season and Kent was a clubhouse pariah.  i guess Lidge is having a resurgence, like Luke Scott, once he got away from our poor coaching staff.  again, if you wanted to throw up players that McLane is responsible for, you are drawing thin.

you’ll also notice that Richard dismisses my other two assertions as “dumb”.  that’s old school – when you’ve got nothing to retort, sling mud.  standard.

nonetheless, i’ll standby them.  on the economics issue let’s take a peek at what i know to be true.

it is no coincidence that the Astros got a new stadium and were able to increase revenue during the 1990s and early 2000s.  the Houston economy, recovering from the oil/energy bust of the 1980s was on a tear.  here’s a little blub from Bill Gilmer, Houston Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas:

During five years of economic collapse between March 1982 and March 1987, Houston lost 212,000 jobs, or 13.4 percent of its total employment.

In early 1987, Houston began a rapid and decisive climb back from the oil bust. In the nearly 13 years since that turnaround, the city has added 680,000 jobs, a 49 percent expansion. Many of these new jobs were drawn from health care, aerospace and an array of companies outside the oil business. But, to the surprise of all, the often-battered oil industry played an important role in Houston’s economic recovery. It also helped shape the new Houston economy that emerged in the 1990s.

but hey, i am sure people were still spending lavishly on Astros tickets during the bust, and i am sure that an economic upturn had no effect on game attendance or getting the city of Houston to fund a park.  uh, what?

seriously, this is a non-starter.  Richard is obviously too ignorant to do the simplest Google search, which easily highlights my point: claiming growth in ticket revenue and a new stadium during a time of unprecedented economic growth is not an indicator that McLane did anything special.  monkeys throwing darts during this same period could have done just as much.  IIRC we got new football and basketball venues during that same time.  oh yeah, and a shitty football team (that still sells out games).

i don’t know much about Richard Justice.  he’s been around a while.  i think i remember reading his stuff about the Astros when i was in college in the early 1990s.  when i replied to his post, i ended with this poke:

Richard, quite honestly, your entire post reads like a fan boy. considering that the Astros are the area germane to how you make your living, i highly doubt your ability to be impartial.

it was true last night.  it’s still true today.  nice try, Richard.

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