By DEEPI SIDHU, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Between gearing up for the Astros’ American League debut and trying to finalize a television deal with Comcast SportsNet Houston, Jim Crane has certainly been busy.  The media publicity surrounding the owner and former player/manager/broadcaster Larry Dierker, however, took center stage this week.

Crane told SportsRadio 610’s The Odd Couple why the organization did not hire Dierker for the broadcasting job he wanted, and his subsequent meeting with Dierker to clear the air after the media fallout.

“Larry’s been around a long time. He’s loved by the fans and loved by the team. We had some misunderstandings that were not handled well.”

Dierker was offered a contract to do in-studio pre-game and post-game broadcasts but turned it down, parting ways with the franchise after nearly 50 years.  Dierker told SportsRadio 610 that he did not understand why the Astros did not consider him for the game broadcasts based on his experience.

“We made a decision we weren’t going to put him back in the booth. We went with a young team.  Robert Ford, we think, has a lot of talent and Steve Sparks has a lot of experience,” Crane explained.

The Astros are a young team on the field and Crane wanted to create a broadcasting booth to mirror that change as well.

“We could have certainly gone with some seasoned veterans but we wanted to give Robert a chance. I like to give people chances.”

As for Dierker, Crane wants to continue to work with him and recognizes the former broadcaster’s experience.

“Larry’s good.  He’d been in the booth many years.  We talked about using him as a backup if somebody gets hurt,”  Crane said, referring to his meeting with Dierker.

“We are going to take a little break. We’ll sit down and go over what we’d like him to do.  He’s been a great asset to the team.”

Crane said he did give Dierker a final piece of advice on how to handle misunderstandings with the team in the future.

“I said listen Larry, ‘If you were managing a team and somebody went off on you in the paper, you would do those meetings behind closed doors.

From now on, if we have a problem, we’ll sit down, talk about it.  We will resolve it. ‘”


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