The Astros: Out of Their League?

The Houston Astros take on a new season in a tough division with things all-new — uniforms, owner, manager, team and rules — not to mention a new/old mascot. And road trips to Dallas.

Scared yet, rest of the American League?

6. Stock the fridge with Red Bull; there are gonna be a lot of 9p.m. start times.

Before it all came to pass, one of the common pre-emptive complaints from fans about the move to the American League was the fact that the Astros would be moving from a division composed entirely of Central and Eastern time zone opponents to a division with three opponents located in the Pacific Time Zone, and the schedule would therefore be littered with late starts.

Teams with the highest three-season loss totals in baseball history. Click to enlarge chart.
Teams with the highest three-season loss totals in baseball history. Click to enlarge chart.
BRETT WALLACE
1B
Age: 26
MLB Exp: Three years
Strength: Lively bat, potential “plus” hitter
Weakness: Glove made of concrete
Random Fact: Baseball pants double as a circus tent
Courtesy of the Houston Astros
BRETT WALLACE 1B Age: 26 MLB Exp: Three years Strength: Lively bat, potential “plus” hitter Weakness: Glove made of concrete Random Fact: Baseball pants double as a circus tent

Here is how the 2013 schedule shakes out from that standpoint:

• 28 total games in the Pacific time zone

• 21 games with 9:05 p.m. or 9:10 p.m. Houston start time

• 15 games with 9:05 p.m. or 9:10 p.m. Houston start time on weeknights

Keep in mind this doesn't equate to 15 ­additional weeknight games with seemingly inconvenient West Coast start times, compared to previous seasons. In the National League, the Astros still had to travel at least once a year to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona, all Pacific Time Zone spots, not to mention Colorado, where weeknight games typically start at 8:40 p.m. Houston time.

So are there potentially more sleep-­reduced nights in the American League? Yes, without a doubt. The good news is that, unless Norris or Harrell is pitching, the Astros should be down by five or six runs before 10 p.m., and you can just go to bed.

Strangely enough, like characters whose actors take a hiatus from a soap opera, the players who will affect your future enjoyment of the Astros the most will probably not even see Minute Maid Park this season. As the drama (or lack thereof) unfolds with the big club in Houston, the baseball that really matters long-term will be played in places like Oklahoma City, Corpus Christi and Quad ­Cities.

When the time comes for you to once again proclaim, as the marketing slogan did a couple of years ago, "These are my Astros!" only a handful of the faces you see on opening night, March 31, will be here.

In a short amount of time, through shrewd trades and savvy drafting, Luhnow has taken the Astros' farm system from one of the worst in recent history to one of the top ten in the game, with five of the top 100 prospects in all of minor league baseball scattered throughout the organization.

Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, Lance McCullers, Delino DeShields Jr., Jarred Cosart, whomever they take with the first overall pick in this June's draft (and likely next June's draft). Those are the names to remember. Those are the absentee characters in the Astros' 2013 script.

They may not be "your Astros" now, but by 2015, they will be.

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11 comments
adam545
adam545

Hate the AL.  Goodbye and good riddance.

kejo66
kejo66

So far this owner gets an F, I'm happy he's building up the farm/future, but that's like saying I pay my child support.

In the meantime he has completely screwed his most important customers, the season ticket holders.  

When the Rockets realized in 2011-2012 they weren't getting Superman or another "superstar" (Pre-Harden), they sent huge incentives to their season ticket holders, including rocket cash, big discounts on gear, and dozens of extra tickets to games, among other perks. 

Now we have the perks and a superstar, but that's another story...

This Jackhole among other screwups  has raised prices for premium games, as if there was any demand at all or such a thing as a premium game right now, and basically ran us Seasoners off after 18 years by telling us that if we don't have $10 mil then we don't matter.

(Yes I'll be back because it's MY TEAM you ungracious jerk Mr Crane, not your's, but in the meantime I'll be stubhubbing $5 seats if I decide to go at all-- and I'll keep my gear and beer purchases down just to spite you)

PS Seany

 If you like the DH then not only does that ruin every ounce of cred you had but we should advocate changing the rules to have 9 fielders and 9 DH hitters, Why not? I hate seeing slappys hit....also we should change the rules of chess where the horsey gets to move like a queen. 


H Newcomb
H Newcomb

There is no such team anymore. Houston is a National League town.

NewsDog
NewsDog

You like the DH?

You are entitled to your opinion… no matter how wrong it is.

The pitcher is not an automatic out, some hit rather well, Carlos Zambrano comes to mind. And, since MLB is trying to get away from roidball the DH is proving less needed and thus the AL has been playing more small ball lately, long an NL strategy. 

When I become commissioner of Baseball (a serious hallucination, not a fantasy) the first thing I’m going to do is get rid of the DH, followed by the balk as a close second.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Again who cares when >60% of Houston can't even watch the games, thanks to Conca$h and the hometown team's greed (Astros, Rockets and sadly even the Dynamo)..

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@NewsDog And for the record Milwaukee belongs in the AL not Houston, thanks Selig. Hate AL baseball..

sean.pendergast
sean.pendergast

@NewsDog "no matter how wrong it is" Awesome. I don't like the DH. I LOVE THE DH! TAKE 'AT!!!

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

I like that you didn't even mention attending a game in the park our tax dollars built. I haven't been to a game since Randy Johnson pitched at the Dome. I refuse to spend that kind of money, especially now that we're in the stat-ball era, where success means, (series? fans? pshaw!) more TV/merchandising revenue. The ultimate success is flipping the team for a fat payday. Failure? Failure just means Houston has no MLB team and ANOTHER stadium we don't know what to do with.

sean.pendergast
sean.pendergast

@MadMac Thanks Mac, to be fair, the main purpose of the piece was to address the move to the AL, not dissect the politics of stadums and tax dollars, etc. So I didn't mention that because it wasn't germane to the theme of the piece. Sorry. I'm happy to discuss that if you want to, call my radio show 713-43-1560 any time after 3pm weekdays

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Bad writing on my part. I was referring to gossamersixteen's comment about the cable dispute vis a vis the cost of attending a game. I thoroughly enjoy your articles you make the issue accessable to a layman. I apologize for my wording.

 
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