Blog Entry

Report: Astros headed to American League

Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 1:15 pm
By Matt Snyder

The ownership change of the Astros has been hanging in the balance for months, as Jim Crane is awaiting approval to buy the franchise from Drayton McLane. Wednesday, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported that the change is expected to be made in November. OK, that's fine. Not overly newsworthy, really. But then, Gammons added something that very much does matter, for all of baseball. The Astros are expected to be moved to the American League.

This has been rumored for some time, but never really reported as something that will definitely happen. Numerically, the move makes sense. The National League has 16 teams; the American League 14. The NL Central has six; the AL West four. Moving the Astros to the AL West makes sense, and they would have a natural division rivalry with the Texas Rangers -- albeit very lopsided in the present.

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But look a bit deeper, and the move means the entire face of baseball is changing. With 15 teams in each league, that means there will be interleague play throughout the season. This also points to Bud Selig's plan of expanded playoffs coming to fruition as well, because there's no better time to do so than when there's already a big change. From there, I would hope that the league would look into making the designated hitter rule uniform -- meaning either both or neither league uses it. I've argued in the past this needs to happen.

Stay tuned, but if this report is accurate, baseball is about to undergo major logistical changes. Also, don't expect the move to be made quickly enough to have it in place for 2012. The most likely outcome is the Astros move and the playoffs expand before 2013.

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Since: Nov 15, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 8:05 am

Report: Astros headed to American League

People wanting more double headers during the season have obviously never played baseball before. Baseball is a tiring game, and the season is already longer then any other professional sport played in America, why would these athletes subject themselves to throwing more innings and taking more at bats on a daily basis. All you are asking for is more injury or a bigger roster which means a higher payroll for teams. Getting rid of the DH will take strategy out of baseball, sorry all of you AL fans, it may make the game more exciting but it will no longer be baseball. Moving the Astros to the same division as the Rangers is a terrible idea, what rivalry do we have with any team there? The Rangers are not a real rivalry. It's fun watching my Astros play them 2 series out of the year in interleague play, but playing them on a regular basis will only drop attendance for both clubs when they visit each other. West Coast games will drop tv revenue and fan interest also since games will be on later on a more regular basis.Just because the Astros have not been one of the better teams in the league the last 2 years all of a sudden everyone wants change. Where have the Pirates and Brewers been for the better half of the last decade? At the bottom of the division but no one wants to move them. 5 years ago the Astros were in the World Series, when was the last time the Brewers or Pirates went to a World Series? So the Astros are rebuilding, big deal! It happens to everyone when a team gets old or makes bad contract decisions (i.e. Carlos Lee). Please move Milwaukee back to the AL they spent most of their franchise history there already, and don't have a real rivalry with anyone in the division or league anyways. If it wasn't for Nyger Morgan and Prince Fielder they wouldn't even have much character. 

Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2011 5:44 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League

So move one of the older franchises instead of the Rockies or DBacks? Really? So all the history was for naught? OK so Houston wins a few West Division championships in the NL, then expansion hits and Houston moves to the NL Central. Then Houston dominates the division with the Cards in the 1990's. We should not mention that every time expansion hits Selig's Brewers come out smelling like roses.  Houston may be down but not out. No matter what happens here the Astros will eventually win another pennant and it will probably be with castoffs and shrewd luck ala Bagwell and Biggio and a homegrown talent like Berkman.  Too bad Kerry Wood, Roger, and the gang did not start and finish careers in Houston. Just think.

Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: October 15, 2011 3:37 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League


Since: Dec 23, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:03 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League

A move make sense because we need a balanced league. Equal number of teams would be nice because it will mean an equal amount of games played through out each league with simular schedules. Each didvision would play same amount of games against each other and inter league play would be every team playing someone from the other league.

As for expanded play-offs.... don't you think the season is long enough now? If this is to happen first thing needed done is get these games moving. No reason for 4-6 hour ball games. Plan more double headers might get these teams moving knowing theres another game to be played later.

Being a Yankees fan and American league fan in general I'm neutral on the DH. Growing up as a pitcher I always had to bat. If DH stays with American league atleast play more inter league games so American League pitchers have to bat. That way National League pitchers can get a rest when playing in an American League park.

We need somehow to shorten these games... first and foremost!!!

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:57 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League

Wow, I am not a baseball expert, however, how much strategy does it take to select who hits for who in the AL?  You never even have to factor in who is pitching on your end.....

In the NL, the decision to hit for a pitcher may impact your whole line-up.  Who is coming up the next inning, can the pinch hitter take a position spot?  Where is he in the batting order?  Who is available in the pen?  If you select a particular PH based on match up and the opponent counters with a new pitcher....then what?  Have you burned a hitter that could have played a specific position?  Do you have to now select a new hitter and change your bull pen order?

Anyone that thinks that it is harder to make moves in the AL was born on a mountain and raised in a cave only watching AL games.

Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:27 am

Report: Astros headed to American League

think about it.  how you would play a baseball game if there were only 9 players on each team?    i am not all angry like some people are, but just think about it.  obviously everybody has to bat.   if you are an AL fan fine, but just keep quiet about it and dont try to make an argument that the DH is better.  it is clearly a gimmick.  i think that the AL should be able to keep their DH.  just be humble about it.  concede that it is a gimmick.

Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:41 am

Report: Astros headed to American League

Conflicting thoughts on the DH:  1) AGAINST: This would be the perfect time to eliminate the DH altogether.  Most AL teams have a DH-by-committee approach, even the Yankees, with only a handful of teams employing a full-time DH.  The only full-time DHs that would be hard pressed to play in the field would be Travis Hafner (bum shoulder) and Jim Thome (back & knees).  David Ortiz, Vlad Guerrero and Hideki Matsui could play positions, 1B & OF respectively, if necessary (though it probably wouldn't be pretty).  Other than those 5 players, the DH on most teams, Adam Dunn, Billy Butler, Victor Martinez, could handle everyday field spots.  Thome, Guerrero and Matsui will probably be retired in the next couple of years too.
2) FOR: Pitchers are too expensive and valuable to risk hitting and running the bases.  I'm taking the tradition of pitchers hitting out of the equation, because with wild card teams and interleague play and money, traditions don't matter too much.  The All-Star shouldn't f'n count for anything.  Starting pitchers are hard to find and really good starting pitchers are even more rare.  Starters are very expensive and usually take a long time to develop, so why risk putting a bat in their hands anymore so that they can torque an oblique or pull a hamstring running the bases, or, heaven forbid, slide into a base.

Either way, the arguements are clear for and against the DH.  The DH brings more offense, and typically larger payrolls, and allows the pitchers to get hurt only while actually pitching.  Allowing the pitchers to hit, brings tradition and strategy back into the game, and helps teams not have to worry about overpaying the slow aging veteran who has only one skill left to give.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:17 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League

Good points, Mrbeaglesworth.  SkyHawk can't get around the fact that all the pinch hitting decisions AL games have--i.e., whether to hit for position players--also exist in the NL, in addition to the many determination as to what pinch hitting--if any--to do for the pitcher.

Clearly SkyHawk doesn't watch enough National League games to be aware that late-inning decisions about pinch-hitting for pitchers often do involve controversy.  E.g., sixth or seventh inning, score tied, do you hit for the pitcher?  How good is he?  How many runs has he given up?  How many pitches has he thrown?  Is it a bunting situation?  What bases are occupied?  How good is your bullpen? 

And if you do decide to hit for him, which pinch hitter do you use?  A guy with power who hits .240, or the .275 hitter with no power? 

And once you decide whom to send up, should the other team change pitchers?  What's the best matchup?   

All these things get discussed in game post-mortems, as well as during the game itself.  It's a shame SkyHawk and his blissfully-ignorant friends are missing the fun.

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 10:26 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League

If you were honest you would admit your point poorly reasoned and displays a lack of knowledge about the NL and baseball in general.  Pinch hitting for positions players is abou the same for both leagues.  Bringing in a left handed hitter against a right handed pitcher or vice versa is common in the NL.  Despite you claiming any idiot would know when to pinch hit for a pitcher it is often a difficult decision and generates a lot of discussion.  Perhaps you should watch some NL games and you would realize that.  Plus the NL makes 10 times the number of pinch hitting dedcisions as the AL so just based on volume it is bound to be much more strategic.  Finally, only the NL requires double switches which adds a whole layer of strategy about pinch hitting that obviously the AL wouldnt know anything about.   

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 9:55 pm

Report: Astros headed to American League

Don't know where you're getting that from, SkyHawk.  The only pinch hitting done in the American League is for position players.  But in case you haven't seen enough National League games to be aware, the NL as well as the AL sometimes uses pinch hitters for position players.  You really didn't know that?  So, again, where are you getting that knowing when to pinch hit is an American League skill rather than a National League one?
Because most of the time when you pinch hit in the National League, any idiot could figure out when to pinch-hit. When the pitcher comes up, there is no choice to make. You obviously pinch hit.

In the AL, every pinch hit decision is a strategic maneuver, precisely because the pitcher does not bat. Instead of one good option and one terrible option, now you're looking at two pretty equal options and you have to determine which guy is really the better option. It's a harder decision in the American League and far more strategic.

We in the AL know our league is more strategic because the pitcher doesn't bat, but we let you think you play strategy ball in the NL. We're just nice like that.
Perfect opportunity to kill the DH.  Pitchers should have to go to the plate and swing the bat like everyone else.

Unless you float garbage like this. Sorry, the DH isn't going away. Don't push for uniform rules...because you'll never get to see your precious pitchers bat again if MLB has to decide DH or no DH for both leagues.

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