The Astros Move To The AL West
Sunday October 30, 2011
MLB reports – Sam Evans: As an amazing 2011 MLB postseason has come to a close, it’s time to look ahead to next year. The Houston Astros have been,” looking forward to the next year,” since the last time they made the playoffs in 2006. It’s time for a change in Houston and Bud Selig and Jim Crane are currently working on a plan to make a big-time change for baseball’s future in Houston.
Times have been hard recently for Astros fans. Widely considered the worst team in baseball, the Astros home attendance has steadily decreased every year since 2006. They haven’t had a winning season since 2008 and their minor league system shows only small glimmers of hope on the way.
In the middle of June, rumors began floating around that the Astros would move to the American League, as early as the 2013 season. This would provide each league with an even fifteen teams and six five team divisions. Also, you have to think that Major League Baseball wants to start a rivalry between the Astros and the Rangers. Well now in October, these rumors have become more serious and now it appears inevitable that the Astros will be realigned to the American League West.
Although we don’t know when exactly this move will take place,we have figured out that it will happen. It will be interesting to see if the Astros shop for a DH this or next offseason because if they do move by 2013, having nine Major League quality hitters in their lineup would be a big asset. It would make sense for them to bring back Carlos Lee if they were indeed moving to the AL, because he would be a much more productive DH than an outfielder.
I actually think that this would be a good move both for MLB and for the Astros. For MLB, they finally fix the glaring trivia answer which is, why there is an uneven number of teams in each league. Balanced divisions, until increased to 32 Major League teams by way of expansion, will lead to an unbalanced schedule. 15 teams per league means that there will need to be an interleague game scheduled every week. Some love the concept of interleague play, while other detest it. But for whatever people think of it, interleague is here to stay in the world of Major League Baseball. Having weekly interleague match-ups will actually help solve the unbalanced interleague issue. In current play, some fans have complained that the same interleague match-ups are in place every year- with not all teams from each of the different leagues matching up. Having weekly interleague games means that all AL and NL teams will face-off during the season at some point. Greater exposure for each of the teams in each MLB city should lead to greater enthusiasm for the fans and a more balanced approach to scheduling interleague games. It is not a perfect system- far from it. But until Major League Baseball brings in 2 more teams and creates a 16/16 league split, having the 15/15 split will at least allow for balanced divisions and equal chances to make the playoffs.
For the Astros, I seriously believe they could start one of the best rivalries in baseball with the Rangers. This would be beneficial not only for the Astros as an organization, but their fans and attendance as well. Let’s make one thing clear though in the interim: the current “rivalry” between the Astros and Rangers is a joke. The ony time they face off is in interleague games, and neither team has any more incentives in those games as compared to any other games. However, I think if they actually played each other as division rivals frequently, and the fans became passionate about those games, then they could actually start a strong rivalry for years to come.
Astros fans have been against this move for two main reasons. The first is that they would lose their history with the National League (and specifically, NL Central teams). The main reason however, is that they would play West Coast teams more, which would mean that games against Seattle, Oakland, and Anaheim would start at a later time. I can fully understand and appreciate the Astros fans feelings on the subject. The only counterexample I can offer is what Rangers fans already go through with this same dilemma and they same to have done just fine.
At the end of the day, I think the Astros should move to the American League West. It makes sense for the current MLB system. Furthermore, this franchise looks in need of a fresh start and maybe a new division could help provide that.
Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter.
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Posted on October 30, 2011, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged al, American league, astros, baseball, Carlos lee, crane, Houston, lee, mlb, realignment, relignment, selig. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.