With Jim Crane flying fans in, an entire section at Nationals Park in right field become a loud, proud Astros land. (@GlennFuller22)
Jim Crane (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Astros owner Jim Crane and Gerrit Cole shared a moment after another dominant gem from the free agent to be. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
WASHINGTON D.C. — Jim Crane knows a little something about logistics and moving things around. After all, he built a shipping empire out of one $10,000 loan from his sister. But that does not mean the Houston Astros owner forgets the people side.
For Games 3 and 4 of the World Series in Washington, Crane moved a lot of people into the nation’s capital. The entire Astros front office to be precise. We’re talking about ticket sales account executives, IT people, payroll people, merchandising folks — the entire gamut, including lower level employees. This wasn’t the Senior VP types who get to travel all the time.
In all, it added up to around 200 people. Crane charted two planes for two separate roundtrip trips (one for Friday’s Game 3, one for Saturday’s Game 4). And every Astros employee was allowed to pick one of those two World Series road games to attend — with Crane providing the tickets as well as the transport. The flights arrived in time to grab some dinner and maybe catch a few quick D.C. sights before hitting the ballpark — and then the big groups headed back to Houston on late night flights after the games.
“It’s pretty cool,” says Hunter Schiro, whose mom Brenda works as an Astros executive assistant.
Hunter Schiro, a devoted Astros fan who lives in New York and went to all three games the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium, would have made the trip to Nationals Park regardless. But his mom getting flown in from Houston allowed for a little family reunion as well.
For Crane, it’s a way to show some love to people who work hard for him all year, many in roles where they never get any public attention. These aren’t people who are involved with the Brandon Taubman debacle. They’re not at that level of the organization.
The move created an entire mini section of Astros fans in the right field upper deck near the foul pole. With Astros colors and jerseys everywhere, Hunter Schiro found it to be a much different environment than what he experienced at Yankee Stadium or in Los Angeles for the 2017 World Series.
“It’s like we have our own little Astros land here with a few Nats fans sprinkled in,” says Schiro, who wore a white Carlos Correa jersey. “So that’s something new.”
Not that Astros fans likely would have had much trouble with the D.C. fans anyway. Several Astros fans described Nationals fans as very chill to me — with many noting they were nothing like the venom-spewing Yankees devotees.
“They’re almost too nice,” Astros season ticket holder Keith Durrett says in the center field concourse. “You almost want them to get into it a little more with you.”
Durrett shrugs. He loves the Nationals Stadium — “and all it’s different little areas” and it’s hard to complain when the team you’re rooting for has taken two straight World Series road games, including an 8-1 domination in Game 4, and now gets to miss injured Nationals ace Max Scherzer in Game 5.
It’s a safe bet that those Astros charters paid and arranged for by Crane were happy jaunts home.