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Coming To The American League

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On Wednesday Peter Gammons lit a match and threw it on the pile of explosives labeled "Astros Realignment Plan." In case you missed it this is what Peter Gammons contributed to Twitter Wednesday:

Houston ownership change expected to go through in mid-November, w/ AL move.

Boom! My twitter feed blew up with some very angry tweets. Regardless of what Drayton McLane might think a majority of the Astros fan base are not happy with the prospect of switching leagues. I've heard numerous arguments for not switching to the junior circuit. I'd like to address the more reasonable arguments against a move to the American League.

The Astros would be throwing away 50 years of National League tradition. Not really considering those 50 years are still going to be there and you aren't erasing them from the history books by switching league. What will instead be happening is the Astros will be continuing their tradition in the American League, which to many fans is hard to swallow.

Another argument is the financial impact due to the later start times and not playing the Cubs and Cards. Both points are minimized by the Astros record. If the Astros are winning people will watch. Sure later starting times on away games don't help, but this is where Jim Crane works towards some type of compensation. Let's not forgot that the Astros spent 25 years in the NL West, people will adjust as long as good ball is being played. And weren't fans complaining about the visiting teams fans being louder than the home town crowd, this fixes that.

Rivalries are another talking point. The Cubs, Cardinals and Red rivalries would all be thrown away. Rivalries are built on playing teams over and over again, the Astros will build new Rivalries in the AL West.

The real reason then is that the fan base after 50 years of National League ball have a negative view on the AL "style" of ball and more specifically the Designated Hitter.

 

It seems to me that when you look past all the reasonable and unreasonable arguments it comes down to the way the game is played. A designated hitter destroys all semblance of true baseball being played. Gone are double switches, bunting and the occasional giggle we get from watching a pitcher get a hit. Instead we get boring, less strategic baseball. I don't real buy into it; at it's core it's still baseball. The pitcher's slot in the lineup is only one of nine and in the grand scheme of things has a small impact on the overall game. With men on base and less than two outs guess what the pitcher will be doing. If the pitcher is swinging away I'm sorry someone hitting around the .200 mark is not fun baseball to watch no matter how surprising it is when he every so often comes through. Sure the strategies aren't exactly the same but we're talking about a very small difference.

Speaking of the designate hitter, I find the argument that the Astros would have to spend money on a DH laughable. A DH can be anybody, Matt Downs could be a DH. If you think about it the Astros have several candidates for the DH role: Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace and J.D. Martinez with his bad knees. Have people not complained about playing time for Brett Wallace, this fixes that.  In that regard the Astros are a perfect candidate to make the move to the AL.

Still I can understand people not liking change. When I'm asked where I'm from I've got several choices I can choose from: my current location, where I was born, where I lived the longest or the Army. I grew up an Army brat and I typically stayed in a location for an average of two and half years. Which is probably why I'm not all that opposed to switching leagues. Moving sucks, leaving all your friends, having to make new ones it can be emotionally demanding. Once you get there though it things always seem to work out. Still for fans it's something different and that can be very scary.

I do sympathize with those opposed to a move and I encourage the discussion as long as it's level headed. I'll even say that if you're passionate about it write to Bud Selig, Drayton McLane and Jim Crane. Let them know and express you dissatisfaction with the situation, but after that remember that the world is not coming to end. Everything will work out.

However If you really are convinced that it will be the end of the world then I guess you'll be rooting for the Mayan calendar to be right.