To say the Astros have gone through some major changes might be the biggest understatement in Texas. The Astros have gone from the highest of franchise highs, winning an NL Pennant in 2005, to the lowest of lows, losing 106 games in 2011. Crazy thing is, the sudden drop in victories on the field isn’t even close to the biggest shock or change the Astros have gone through the last 12 months.
The biggest change to the landscape of Texas’ first baseball team is the fact that this will be the last season the Astros are in the National League. Starting in 2013, the Astros will move to the American League, joining fellow Texas baseball team the Texas Rangers to the AL west. This move gives the NL and AL the same amount of teams, 15, and Major League baseball is hoping a Rangers vs Astros rivalry will develop.
For killing tradition and moving to the AL, the new owner of the Astros, Jim Crane, was given a 70 million dollar discount on his purchase of the stros. Crane bought the team in November of 2011, and from the start has discussed many changes within the Houston Astros. In addition to the move to the AL, Crane also flirted with the idea of changing the Astros name, which didn’t go well with Astros fans. The Astros will keep their name, but new uniforms might still be in the Astros future as they make the move in 2013. Crane’s changes were not all bad for stros fans, as Crane announced he will be lowering ticket prices to games, and will allow outside food and water inside the Minute Maid Park.
Aside from the new owner, new league, and almost new name, another big change for the Astros is the overhaul of its roster. Gone are the names Berkman, Oswalt, Biggio, Bagwell, Lidge, Pence, and Bourn. As a matter of fact, only hard core baseball/stros fans can even name more than 2 current Astros players, and 2 might be giving the casual fan too much credit. The Astros are trying to build through their farm system, something that the previous front office ignored. Don’t be surprised if the 2 Astros you might know, Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee, are traded prior to the end of the 2012 season.
The Astros aren’t new to change, after all they were once called the Colt 45.’s, and have had several uniform changes throughout their history. But the next few years brings the biggest changes in franchise history, and only time will tell if the Astros can get back to being one of the better teams in the majors. One thing is certain, these aren’t your daddy’s Astros, or even your big brother’s.