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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) - Larry Dierker met with Astros owner Jim Crane this week to sit down and discuss the drama that has surrounded the organization and its former pitcher/manager/broadcaster/ambassador.
Dierker, who assumed he would be a part of the new Astros broadcast team on Comcast SportsNet Houston, ends his contract with the Astros on April 15th after nearly 50 years with the organization. He discussed the contract he turned down, his conversation with Crane, and his future on SportsRadio 610.
“At this point, the contract that I had was for almost nothing except for the studio work and making a million appearances everywhere and signing autographs and taking pictures. I think I can do that pretty well. I relate really well with the fans but I don’t want to only do that.”
Dierker’s frustration stems from his surprise at not being selected to be a part of the Astros game broadcasts. The organization offered a contract for in-studio work but the former manager turned it down.
“As the conversation progressed, I said, ‘The pre-game and post-game shows, for me, is like getting sent to the minor leagues,’” Dierker told SportsRadio 610, referring to his meeting with Crane.
As for why the organization might offer him that position, Dierker could only guess. He felt both parties understood that money would not be an issue. According to Dierker, he told President and CEO George Postolos that he did not expect the paycheck his predecessor Jim Deshaies was making.
“I said look, ‘I know what Deshaies was making and don’t let that hang you up because but money is not an issue. I just want to get back into the booth.’”
Dierker said that perhaps the organization felt it was giving him a better offer.
“For some reason or other, I think they just had it in their mind that I didn’t want to go on the road and that they would be doing me a favor by having me do pre- and post-game shows on Comcast and all I’d have to do is stay home and go into the studio. To me that’s the last thing I’d want to do in broadcasting.”
In his meeting with Crane, Dierker talked about why was unhappy with the offer and why he would be better suited for game broadcasts.
“I like to compete. I like the competition. I like the live action and I don’t really care for the studio work. It’s for a younger, better-looking guy than me to be on camera all the time.
“What I think I can do is come on the air and analyze the game and have some stories to tell about the Astros currently, during the time when I was managing, back before when I was playing, and all the way through, plus the knowledge of baseball history as whole.”
During this time of rebuilding and dismal 100-plus loss seasons, Dierker feels he can bring a reminiscent quality and optimism to the audience. It is more important now than ever for the fans to hear about the Astros legacy.
“It’s not going to be enough just to talk about the game that’s going on. If you are the Yankees and have a great team and you’re in contention all the time, you don’t have to tell a lot of stories and talk about the past. This is going to be a hard job.”
With opening day just a few days away, Dierker is relieved to have cleared the air and plans on being at the ballpark this season. He will greet fans and sign autographs but hopes that one day, he can return to the broadcasts.
“I won’t be under contract but I won’t be at war with them. I don’t think they liked that very much and I didn’t either. I think it leaves the door open for something later on.”
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