McLane explains Ike decision process
Astros owner on necessity of moving games to Milwaukee
HOUSTON -- Ten days have passed since Hurricane Ike arrived and cruelly disrupted life in southeast Texas, and as the Astros prepared for their first home game since the storm wreaked havoc on the region, Astros owner Drayton McLane still was hearing from fans upset that two games of the recent Cubs-Astros series were moved to Milwaukee.
And while a good number of people have complained that the move of two games from Minute Maid Park to Miller Park derailed Houston's playoff drive, McLane said the only certain enemy the ballclub had, like all citizens in the area, was the hurricane itself.
"It certainly distracted everyone," McLane said of the much-discussed rescheduled games. "But the real distraction was not going to Milwaukee; the real distraction was the hurricane that hit town. Every player, whether they lived here full time, which many of them did, their families and homes were here, and the impact was dramatic on everyone. I think just what occurred here was something unfortunate."
McLane, in an interview before Tuesday night's game against Cincinnati, knew the decision to play in Milwaukee would not be popular, but he saw no alternative.
"I knew we did not want to go to Milwaukee. That certainly was not our choice. We wanted to go to a neutral site," McLane said. "Our first reaction was we wanted to go to Phoenix; we couldn't because the Diamondbacks were playing there. We wanted go to Minneapolis and play in the Metrodome, but the University of Minnesota was playing a football game on Saturday and the Vikings had an NFL game on Sunday."
The weather forecast for some of the outdoor venues considered, including Dallas, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, were unfavorable. St. Petersburg, Fla., also was considered.
"We went through every possible combination," McLane said. "I wish there had been some other alternative -- there just was not. We met for three days trying to see what possibilities there were to go to another location. There was a road block everywhere."
Commissioner Bud Selig took out an ad in a Houston newspaper on Sunday detailing the reasons for the decision.
"I think that was the reason he took out the ad, was for our fans to see how hard everyone worked to find the solution," McLane said.
Even so, McLane knows some fans still are unhappy.
"These are fans. These are people that truly care about the Houston Astros. That's the good part," McLane said. "They wanted us to play here. We wanted to play here. I wanted to play here. So we asked the Commissioner to delay any kind of decision until after Ike had come through. The hope was it would miss us somehow, and the damage wouldn't be as severe as we thought it might be and we could play on Sunday and Monday here. The ballpark wasn't damaged at all, but the city was not ready for it. So we knew we had to move it somewhere."
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.