On The Astros' Move To The AL

3/25/13 in MLB   |   w_g_walters   |   222 respect

Mar 12, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (right) greets  third base coach Dave Trembley (left) after hitting a home run during a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsWhen I heard the Astros were jumping to the American League this year, I didn't know what to think. It took a while for me to grasp the idea, but I just couldn't get used to it. I wrote to the Astros, complaining about the move and the DH, siting an article here on FanIQ. I was answered with a form letter that gave a canned responce: "If there is anything we can do for you . . . "

But when I started to look up information about Jim Crane online, an odd picture began to develop. First, there were elements that reminded me of each of the owners of the various Houston teams. Some of the owners might sound normal, but this was all of them. Past and present. Including Bud Adams, the most hated man in Houston's history.

Now, I'm not comparing Crane to Adams, though that was my initial reaction on Twitter. Still, the elements that reminded me of Adams are disturbing, especially the recent statement where he said in responce to fans upset with the $25M roster:
It doesn't bother me that people want us to spend more money. But it's not their money. This is a private company, even though it's got a public flair to it. If they want to write a check for 10 million bucks, they can give me a call.

If they want to complain about it, they have a right to complain about it. But we're going to stick with the plan.

(http://www.examiner.com/article/astros-owner-suggests-fans-to-help-with-payroll)

In other words, Crane is doing things his way, and screw what the fans want--like forgetting about the American League.

That's right. The fans don't want the American League in Houston. How do I know this? Ironically, it's because I'm a Dynamo fan and went to the Vancouver game on March 23.

I arrived late and parked in the cheap lot south of MInute Maid, a ten minute walk from BBVA Compass. I met two guys there, and one was complaining about a number of things about the Astros, as well as Minute Maid. As we walked, he said, "I'm done with the Astros." This was after trashing the stadium (which I've also done), criticized the DH, and verbally assaulted some of Crane's decisions.

That night, I went online and found a number of posts and fan articles stating the same things. I also found that the Astros, with over twice the capacity of BBVA Compass, was outsold by the Dynamo in season tickets, and they only sold 12,000. Even the struggling Rockets sold more season tickets, and Compaq Center is the smallest professional arena in the city. Only the Aeros sold less, but they're a minor league team. (http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/08/hale-and-hearty-season-tickets-sales-thats-where-its-at/)

So, you can blame the Astros' woes on their record, struggling to be over .500 since 2007, doing for the first time last year for about two weeks before going on the Losing Skid From Hell. You can blame it on the decision to blow the budget on Carlos Beltran to make the World Series in 2005, destroying a minor league system that shows no signs of recovery until this month. You can blame it on a subpar roster. You can blame it on getting rid of the big names. You can blame it on Biggio retiring when he did. But the fact is this: Houston has never had an AL team, and long-time Houstonians don't want one.

No, I no longer consider myself an Astros fan. The owners screwed the city over, and Jim Crane wanted the team bad enough to go along with it. Further, Crane has demonstrated a lack of empathy for the fans. Jim Crane is the worst thing that could have happened to Houston's oldest existing sports team, and the fans need to make sure he understands it.

Sadly, I think he'll turn out to be too much like Bud Adams and take the team elsewhere.

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3/27/13   |   ML31   |   3671 respect

thomaswmarr wrote:
You do realize that who ever bought the Astros from McLane was going to be forced by Selig to the AL.  Crane has brought back Orbit which the kids love, he has brought our old color scheme back.  McLane went a long with an invisible slotting pay rate for draft picks that Selig would put out for years and so they would draft according to sign ability.  Heck one year they did not have a first and second because they had signed Clemens and Pettitte and then went out and did not sign the first two picks.

There is an article in the Chron that goes over this.  Houston is a transplant city and while there is a bunch of Astros fans there is more who are fans of other teams, so when they are good fans will come out.  Not when they are rebuilding but with that said Cleveland and Tamp Bay.  Heck Oakland only outdrew Houston by 70k .  At the height of the Biggio/Bagwell era they were drawing near or above.  Once the Astros start showing any improvement the fans will be back.

I know full well that a condition of the sale was the NL to AL move.  This was because there was no NL owner willing to make the move.  The silly part of all that is there was NO reason for the move to begin with. 

And yes, in the long run, no one will remember the Astros have an NL legacy.  In 10 years there will be a whole new crop of kids who have never known the Astros as an NL team and the issue will fade away.  That doesn't mean the move wasn't the wrong move to begin with.

3/27/13   |   thomaswmarr

You do realize that who ever bought the Astros from McLane was going to be forced by Selig to the AL.  Crane has brought back Orbit which the kids love, he has brought our old color scheme back.  McLane went a long with an invisible slotting pay rate for draft picks that Selig would put out for years and so they would draft according to sign ability.  Heck one year they did not have a first and second because they had signed Clemens and Pettitte and then went out and did not sign the first two picks.

There is an article in the Chron that goes over this.  Houston is a transplant city and while there is a bunch of Astros fans there is more who are fans of other teams, so when they are good fans will come out.  Not when they are rebuilding but with that said Cleveland and Tamp Bay.  Heck Oakland only outdrew Houston by 70k .  At the height of the Biggio/Bagwell era they were drawing near or above.  Once the Astros start showing any improvement the fans will be back.

3/26/13   |   ML31   |   3671 respect

I have heard from colleagues with family in Houston who have told me there has been quite a bit of negative reaction to the League swap.  I've been very vocal about the Astros move being a very BAD move for MLB.  First, there was no need to move a team to begin with.  It plays hell with the schedule.  But ever since IL play the schedule has been screwed anyway so it's just more of the same.

Next, if they HAD to move a team, the obvious move should have been the Brewers BACK to the AL.  They were the only NL team with any kind of connection to the AL. 

And of course, going back to 1998, the Snakes should have come into the League as an AL team to begin with.  But that is all water under the bridge.  These are all elements that have contributed to MLB's fall from grace in my eyes.  Still like baseball.   But not happy with the route MLB has taken since late 1993 on.

3/26/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

I'm sort of surprised that they responded to you at all, albeit in a form letter.

It is sad to see the Astros as bad as they are now. For so long they were such a fun team to watch. The good news is the farm system seems to be improving, so it might take a few years, but hopefully they improve.