Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – “I had a tear in my eye,” Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said after watching the team clinch the division, something that hasn’t been done in his ownership tenure. “It’s been a long time coming, it was our goal from the get-go to work hard at it, build the team and we got a really good ball club.”
Crane suffered through some lean years including three straight 100 loss seasons, but now after making the playoffs in two out of the last three years, it seems like the Astros have finally arrived.
“For a while there it took some stamina to stick with it, we stood behind him, he’s executed very well on building and developing this team,” Crane said of seeing general manager Jeff Luhnow’s vision come true. “It’s hard to get every move right, but he makes a lot of the right moves.”
One of those right moves, Justin Verlander was on the mound Sunday afternoon, and his pitching, along with the Astros bats sealed the win, and division.
With the addition of key veterans pairing with great young talent, what the Astros are seeing this year is the cumulation of a plan that’s been in the works for a very long time.
“Our goal was by 2017 to be in a position where we are in the playoffs every year and we have a chance to win a championship,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said when asked what he envisioned back in 2011 when he joined the team.
In 2014 Sports Illustrated predicted that 2017 would be the year for the Astros and now with the A.L. West under their belts, it’s hard not to think that maybe they could have been right.
Maybe the Astros could win the championship in 2017.
“When you look at every position you see a guy that could be a superstar in the league,” Carlos Beltran, a Luhnow offseason addition said. “Third basemen (Alex) Bregman, Shortstop (Carlos) Correa, Second base (Jose) Altuve, Frist bast (Yuli) Gurriel, (Josh) Reddick’ doing an excellent job, (George) Springer, every position, we have great talent, great players.”
With the playoffs on the near horizon, thanks to Luhnow’s plan along with Cranes backing, the Astros seem primed to be a major contender in baseball for many years to come.
“I think one of the main attractions for me here was how good these guys are,” Justin Verlander said. “Over the next couple of years through the rest of my contract, we got a chance to do this multiple times and hopefully win a championship, and that’s the main goal.”