The rumor mill is again hard at work, taking statements by Jim Crane that his marketing team is investigating the possibility of a name change and turning it into a fully-fledged panic attack. What could a name change mean to the Astros? In the negative, it would mean yet another departure from tradition, sure to alienate the hardened core of Astros fans aged twenty to ninety. In the positive, it would create a clean slate, a new era, and the opportunity to establish new traditions in a new league, shedding the stigma that has dogged the franchise for years.
Everybody is rightfully debating the pros and cons (though to be honest, I haven't heard very many people 'pro-ing' on the subject), but nobody is asking the important question:
What will the new name be?
Thankfully, the recently-fire-hardened Astros fanbase has The Crawfish Boxes to turn to for answers. Below are the options that the Astros' Marketing Department may or may not be definitely considering for absolutely possibly changing the Astros' name.
The Houston Traffic:
The Astros' new name must be something that is clearly affiliated with the city of Houston. It must be something that brings the paying customers together - makes them feel as if their ball team understands them, identifies with them, and feels their pain. Thus, one option is to re-name the Astros to the Traffic. This has the bonus that Jim Crane and company will be able to charge licensing fees to every T.V. and Radio Station who announces, "And now let's turn to Layne Boulevard for the Houston Traffic Report" every quarter-hour.
The Houston Rebels:
As much as it would disgust me to have my favorite ball club named after a rival SEC school, there are advantages to the name Rebels. It would help the fabricated rivalry between our friends in Arlington, as "Rebels and Rangers" has the same kind of ring as "Cowboys and Indians," or even "Cowboys and Aliens." Regardless, it would also add a bit of spice to match-ups with the Yankees.
The Houston _________________:
Here's a novel concept. During the off season, hold a contest for the fans. Allow them to submit suggestions and vote for the new name and logo of the team. The winner gets season tickets and free food (but not beer! Crane has to make his money somewhere!) and the fans have the extra spice of seeing a scenery change every season. The marketing possibilities are limitless.
The Houston Minute Maids:
Speaking of marketing possibilities, here's a name that will help the Astros pay down the debt sooner. Simply pimp the team's dignity out to the highest bidder, name the club after that company (or individual), and pay off the debt to make them competitive faster. Other clubs will be jealous, though the the players would have to put up with a bit more playground name-calling on game day. Other options along this line: The Houston Continental-Uniteds, the Houston Halliburtons, the Houston Mattress Macks, or the Houston Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems (though this would likely end their affiliation with the Methodist Hospital system, but hey - bring in the new, right?).
The Houston Honey Badgers:
Actually, this one wouldn't work because lately the Astros and their fans have been required to take @#%& from just about everybody. Scratch that idea.
The Houston National Leaguers:
As a form of ultimate protest against Bud Selig's Draconian rule, the Astros should change their name to the National Leaguers, refuse to utilize the DH rule by continuing to bat pitchers 9th once in the American League, and thus lead the revolution by making the other AL teams admire their pluckiness in the face of adversity. They'll say, "Those Houston National Leaguers came to the AL under duress, but they sure know how to fight! Maybe they've got something there. We will eliminate the DH for our club too!" And the other 14 teams will eventually fall in line, completely undoing the concept of the Designated Hitter, thus sending Selig packing to his retirement with his dreams crushed.
The Houston Crawfish:
This as a nod to the best Houston blog site on the internet. Call me a suck-up, but you know that'd be awesome.