As one that has been covering the sale of the Houston Astros since Day One, folks, I’m a bit baffled.
The Astros have an incredible history in the National League. As one of the expansion teams in the ‘60s, they had ties prior. History is an important part of brand building, and the move to the American League is likely to ding that.
I get that.
It's not right. But....
I don’t live in Houston, but that aside, I do know geography and last I checked, Dallas/Ft. Worth is in Texas and in the same timezone as Houston.
If one looks at ratings, and fan interest, the Rangers have shown that having your home in Texas, yet playing the AL West is not a death sentence.
I’m upset that the fans were caught in MLB and the MLBPA’s power-play as part of the sale (folks, don’t burn Jim Crane at the stake, no matter who was going to purchase the club, the move to the AL was going to be in the mix). The time shift and loss of NL history are valid reasons to be upset, but one seems to be overblown more than the other. As mentioned, the latter is something to be concerned about. The former gets back to the Rangers and the fact is, their fans seem to have gotten along just fine with the later starts.
Fans that are upset are going to quibble with me on this next part, but there are some advantages to the AL jump, albeit with caveats.
Getting beat up by the Yankees and Red Sox isn’t something to get excited about in terms of the standings, but I’m going to bet my hat that when they come to town, Minute Maid Park will be packed out far more than when the Cardinals or Cubs come to town.
And while the idea of facing the Rangers at the moment could spell doom in the win column, it does create a rivalry in the State. Beyond the Rangers and Angels, are the Astros that much worse the Mariners or Athletics at this point? I'd say they have a better chance of climbing in the AL West standings than in the NL Central in 2012.
In other words, while the wounds are there for fans of the Astros in the National League, you have to consider that in all things, there is some good with the bad. Back to games starting later, and thus, the loss of fans.... Are fans in Houston really saying that Rangers fans are better; more willing to support their team? Somehow, I doubt Astros fans are going to take what I said sitting down.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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