Crane praises baseball's next Commissioner

Astros owner familiar with Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer

Crane praises baseball's next Commissioner

BOSTON -- Astros owner Jim Crane, whose shipping company has an office and clients in Boston, is at Fenway Park for the series against the Red Sox. Crane arrived in Boston on Thursday afternoon from Baltimore, where he and other Major League owners voted Rob Manfred as the next Commissioner at the quarterly Owners Meetings.

Crane is certainly no stranger to Manfred, having talked to him quite a bit in the last few months about the team's television stalemate with Comcast and its inability to sign No. 1 overall Draft pick Brady Aiken last month.

"He's very impressive, very knowledgeable," Crane said of Manfred. "One of the key things he's very good at is he worked on the labor agreement. He's got a lot of history working on that. I was on the other side when we were buying the team and they wanted us to move to the American League, so I've seen him on both fronts.

"He's a fair guy, a smart guy, and he's really good."

Among the things Crane said Manfred would like to address is speeding up the games and attracting younger fans.

"I think the new Commissioner has a very good platform with all of the relationships with the owners," Crane said. "The owners are pretty much on the same page. It was a very cohesive group."

Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer, will formally take over Jan. 25 to replace Bud Selig, who has presided over the game for 22 years.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.