The Astros Name Change Seems Unlikely

On the other hand, nobody thought they'd really move to the American League either . . .
Fri January 27, 2012 10:43 pm
AP/Houston Chronicle | Mayra Beltran

The Rockets had a seven-game winning streak. The Texans are still on a high from their historic season. There’s a rumor that the Aggies might play one year at Reliant Stadium.

So what’s the biggest sports story in Houston at the moment?

How about what to call the baseball team that just went 56-106, hasn’t signed a single great new player (sorry, Jack Cust), and is about to make an unpopular move to the American League?

Astros fans, you’ve just been trolled.

We say that with all due respect to new owner Jim Crane (pictured), a forward-thinking, rule-nothing-out, no-sacred-cows businessman—the total opposite of his predecessor Drayton McLane.

At a press conference devoted to fan-friendly changes (lower ticket prices, new food policies) and uniform designs for the fiftieth anniversary, Crane responded to a question about the Astros changing their name, saying

We’re going to do a study on it. We’re going to study the information, both from our fans and from all sorts of marketing people. I’m not saying we’re going to change. We haven’t made a decision. If the change is going to come, it’s going to come next year.

His response gave fans and Houston media no choice but to take the idea seriously. After all, we’ve seen this movie before: the 2013 switch to the American League was dismissed as an unimaginable rumor by many when it first came up last summer.

Crane reminded fans that the team changed its name one time before without a lot of fuss. “We had the Colt .45s and everybody liked that one,” Crane said. “So you can imagine how upset they were when we switched that.”

Well … changing after three years isn’t quite the same as changing after 47 years. Plus, with no Internet or Twitter in 1964, how are we to know if people were irrationally mad about it?

But our guess is there won’t be anything to get irrationally mad about this time

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