Tell me I should take Jim Crane's mention of evaluating the Astros nickname with a grain of salt. Tell me it was one bad note in an otherwise very positive press conference on the upcoming fan-friendly changes.
Tell me that I shouldn't be upset at the very notion of possibly changing the name.
I'm really not. But, I am.
See, the whole reason I suggested a uniform change last summer when Crane was hired was that I wanted them to get back to traditional Astros colors and away from the more corporate, marketing-friendly but surprisingly sanitized color scheme they currently feature.
Changing the name flies in the face of all that and would prove fairly unprecedented. I mean, the franchise has already done it once, but that was because of a pending lawsuit. The only other case I can think of where a professional team drastically changed its nickname is the Washington Bullets switching to the Washington Wizards.
Every other change has accompanied a move to another city. I don't think Crane, a Houston businessman, is thinking of moving the Astros to Las Vegas or Portland, so let's rule that out. What else could be the impetus?
If the Astros name has such a negative connotation that it rivals the Washington Generals or St. Louis Browns for futility. That just doesn't seem to be the case. Houston's Astros are uniquely situated as a name that reflects the region they come from.
I guess the question is: Do you still think of Houston as Space City?
That'd be the only reason to change from the Astros. Otherwise, the move just looks like an attempt to sell new merchandise to a fan base that's not exactly thrilled with the state of the franchise to begin with. And, couldn't they accomplish the same thing with just changing the uniform in the first place?
I like that Crane is evaluating everything and shaking up a system that had grown stale under Drayton McLane. However, I'm sure they will find in the end that the damage a nickname switch will do is not nearly enough to justify the few new fans they might scare up or make excited by a new nickname.
I hope. I don't have it in me to root for the Bayou Gators or whatever nonsense they may come up with...