By Marc Campos

Don’t Diss Drayton

Let me lay out the disclosures right out in the open. Commentary and Pam-In-Charge are close. Commentary did some work a few years ago for Drayton McLane, Jr. and the Houston Astros. Drayton is a major supporter of James Rodriguez, candidate for Houston City Council, District I.

That being said, in yesterday’s Chron, sports columnist John Lopez was way out of line when he took the cheapest of shots at Astros’ owner Drayton McLane. Lopez wrote a column about a possible H-town downtown soccer stadium deal and the need for Latino input during the negotiations. In the article, Lopez says of Drayton – “McLane, whose reputation among minority groups has been less than stellar…” That’s ridiculous.

If minority groups have a problem with Drayton McLane, that’s news to me. It’s also news to minority leaders in H-Town. I don’t know which minority groups Lopez was referring to, I would certainly like to know.

It is kind of BS for Lopez to take this shot at Drayton. Lopez forgets that Drayton worked with the minority community to make sure minorities participated in a major way in the construction of the ballpark. Minorities and women also make up 30% of the food service investment at Minute Maid thanks to a deal Drayton and minority leaders struck in 1999.

Drayton’s charitable front, the Astros in Action Foundation, is a supporter of a number of non profit organizations that serve Houston’s minority community. Just east of the ballpark, a couple of little leagues in the Latino community have been the recipients of the Astros’ assistance.

It is interesting that on the day Lopez’ column came out, the late Yolanda King, daughter of Marin Luther King, Jr., was supposed to throw out the first pitch. In fact, the former local NAACP honcho and other prominent African Americans were sitting in Drayton’s seats yesterday at the game. It is not unusual to see on a regular basis minority leaders sitting with Drayton at the games.

On the political front, I’d venture to guess correctly that of all the members of the Houston City Council, Drayton has the closest relationship with Council Member Carol Alvarado. Alvarado’s council district includes the ballpark. Drayton and Carol visit regularly. Last Friday, there was a meeting in Drayton’s offices to discuss the status of the soccer stadium deal, Alvarado was there.

Lopez’ shot at Drayton is irresponsible and downright mean. I know a lot more about minority groups than Lopez. I know whose reputations are “less than stellar” among minority groups. Drayton McLane is nowhere near that list. Drayton McLane is respected by many minority leaders in H-Town and Drayton McLane respects H-Town's minority community. Lopez would be better off writing about why the Chron doesn’t have any Latino news columnists. Drayton doesn’t deserve to be dissed on this. Shame on John Lopez.

Speaking of the yard, Commentary ran into my old buddy Ed Martin yesterday after the game. Ed, who is huge Astros fan, sat through the 14 to 1 massacre yesterday. So did I – yikes!

Commentary got dinged Friday night by a Hunter Pence looping foul liner. I still got a bruise on my wrist. I missed the catch but at least I didn’t duck. I’m getting too old for this. I tried for another Saturday night and this time I used my lid. The ball took my lid out of my hand, but I ended up with the foul ball – numero dos for the year.

Happy Birthday today to My Mom – she’s 81. Happy Birthday today to Veronica Juarez – she’s 25 – she was with Commentary at the game Saturday night and got the foul ball as a birthday present.

May 21, 2007 9:00AM

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