I've not seen any writing on the Astros AL move that really captures what I think (read FEEL) about things. So here's an attempt. First of all, not that it matters one lick, but I strongly suggest as a part of your Astros healing process, you shout into the abyss by sending Bud Selig a piece of your mind:
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
Address: 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
City: New York, State: NY Zip Code: 10167
His 3:00 minute video press conference after the move was announced was enraging. He did not come close to even acknowledging how sickening the process was to Houston fans. Not one lick of apology. NOTHING.
"The greatest thing this sport has going for it is its history and tradition." ENRAGING.
No apology. No even basic recognition of how bad Astros fans got hosed in this. He goes on and on about how Drayton McLane left a great legacy and left the team better than he found it. Yeah, we got a stadium, but that was partly Bud Adams' doing. McLane sold a weak team and made it weaker by switching it to the AL. Just an infuriating video.
Overall here's my thoughts on the move:
The Purchase Price Reduction. I actually don't mind the purchase price reduction as much as some. Selig's demand that the Astros move to the AL certainly hurt the value of the franchise. Jim Crane has to try to create a winner out a terrible team with huge debt burden, an angry or indifferent fanbase, during a recession. Good luck with that, guy. I would contend even with the discount he overpaid.
There's Nothing the Astros Can Do to Make this Good Short Term. The move to the AL creates a huge sense of loss to me. (for reasons stated below). Price discounts at the ballpark doesn't make this better for me. Uni changes don't make this better to me. I can't fathom anything in the entire planet that Crane could do to make this good.
His press conference was a bunch of big fat, no hope, depressing real talk. Yeah, it was truthful, and likely all they can do, but it doesn't make me particularly enthusiastic about the near future of the team, or supporting a league that intentionally kicked the fourth most populous US city in the teeth. They say that winning will fix everything but good luck with that any time in the near future. Crane already had a difficult road without the AL move. Bud Selig handed him an anchor...encased in concrete.
I want some HCSA smiting. What could make me feel any better at all? If the Harris County Sports Authority enforced the terms of the lease against MLB saying that only an NL team can play in the stadium. Back in the day, I actually helped in the fan efforts to get people to vote for the stadium. Met Drayton McLane at the party for staff and volunteers. He had lost his voice talking so much.
Houston voted for a stadium to keep Astros baseball in Houston. Astros baseball is National League baseball. Don't think this will happen, but I'd like the Sports Authority to smite MLB with the language of the lease. I would like them to demand that MLB oblige by the terms of the contract, and keep National League baseball in Houston. If a judge would not enforce specific performance for that, I would like Harris County to receive huge money damages to compensate local fans for having to watch teams we don't give a * about play the history-gutted, turned into an expansion team Astros.
Why I Loathe the Move to the AL. Yeah, I knew this AL move was going to be forced on Astros fans. And even so, when it was made official, I was surprised how sad and angry it made me.
There is exactly nothing I like about it. Hate the move. Hate the process that led to the move. It's like MLB is doing everything they possibly can to try to get me to hate baseball. Or at least not care about it any more.
You name any number of NL teams, and I have Astros memories both good and bad about them. I am wildly indifferent to the AL. I really don't have strong feelings about the Yankees or Red Sox other than thinking that the MLB model of competition creates a big, fat, nearly unwatchable joke. The Astros don't have the Bagwell, Biggio, Berkmans on the team. They no longer play winning baseball, and I have no reasons to believe that they will be playing a winning form of baseball any time soon during our debt service, budget cutting rebuilding, switch to AL style of baseball .I don't have to tell you how HARD it's been being an Astros fan, much less paying to see this product.
All the Astros fans have in 2011 is their 50 years of history. And Bud Selig took that away too. If you were systematically trying to figure a way to cripple a franchise for a long time, you'd have a harder time figuring out a plan more effective than the caretaker Astros transitioned into the extortioned AL sale.
People will argue that eventually if you play in the AL long enough, and winning happens, you will care about new rivalries. Yes, perhaps some day I will loathe the Mariners as much as I loathe the Cardinals. But it took me a lifetime to grow my rooting interests. It would involve rooting for a better team that isn't a doormat. It would involve years of relevant baseball play. Sadly, I don't think I will live long enough to develop my AL hate.
Can't say I much like the late night west coast move or that I will have Rangers games shoved down my throat.(People pretending to be longtime Rangers fans bragging about their team. Oh joy).
There may be some folks who are fine with the AL move and the process that sacrificed the near term viability of the Astros for the "greater good." I can't be that person. And anyone who lectures me about how awesome this is going to be makes me want to punch them in the face.