It is not that change is new for the Houston Astros, for before they played at Minute Maid Park, their home was called Enron in honor of the bankrupt company headed by that bastion of integrity, Ken Lay. And before that they played in the Astrodome, something those prideful Texans liked to refer to as "the eighth wonder of the world."
Too bad the design of the Dome forced a nasty mildew smell upon the yard that was apotheosized as such, but, then remember that before they were the Astros, the Houston team was the Colt .45's, in keeping with the shoot 'em up Texas philosophy.
But, with the fallout of assassinations and gunplay rampant, that identifier--much like that of the Washington Bullets in the NBA--was deemed less than appropriate, and the Astros, with Houston's solid link to the space program, stuck.
So now it seems the Houston franchise will move to the American League, and thus return balance to the universe. Or at least baseball.
This solution is so elegant and simple--it makes so much sense--that it is kind of scary. But, with the likes of Rick Perry parading around suggesting he "wants America to do 'good' again," well, maybe Houston's move to the Junior Circuit evens out the cosmic smarts of the state to a reasonable level.
The thing is it was stupid when the Brewers moved to the NL in the first place, but, well, that is another story, and at least now all six divisions of both leagues will be on equal footing when shooting for the postseason.
Former Astro and Houston resident Lance Berkman, who might be as smart as Perry, was quick to dismiss the relocation, noting "It's a National League franchise. I think if they were going to do something like that, Milwaukee's the choice to go back to the American League; they're historically an American League franchise."
Oh yeah? You mean like the Braves? Who moved from Boston, and then to Atlanta?
Not to mention with only one World Series appearance in their nearly 50 years in the league, and no Series titles, Houston does not exactly lean on a storied history.
Though it is not that the 'Stros have not had some fine players and moments. Mike Scott. Craig Biggio. Jimmy Wynn. And of course J.R. Richard, the dominant pitcher in the National League from 1976-1980, when suddenly his arm felt tired. And, instead of actually pursuing a source of the hurler's complaint, Richard was essentially accused of gold bricking by the team and locals. That is until a stroke felled the big right-hander.
The thing is these kinds of changes do ruffle feathers here and there, but overall people forget them. I mean do people really remember the Rangers were in Washington before Arlington? At this point does anyone care anymore?
At least do they care as much as the Milwaukee fans miss the Braves? Or the Seattle fans miss the Pilots, who became the Brewers?
Aside from the fact that well, with the Red Sox and the Yankees and the Angels, not to mention the Rangers and the Tigers, it is not like the American League is a step down.
Like interleague play, there will always be those against it, but for the most part things will move along and be forgotten. And the fans in Houston will adjust.
The truth is Berkman's comments remind me a bit of what football great and anti-intellectual John Unitas said about the new Baltimore team, when the Ravens moniker was announced. Johnny U noted he did not like the name because "it did not have anything to do with football."
Yeah, right. I forgot the word "Colts" really makes all of us think instantly of the gridiron.
In the meantime, Houston should be thankful, for now starting in 2013 they will only have to beat 14 teams to make it to the postseason as opposed to 15.
If Berkman is capable of doing the math (or using both hands and one foot to count) he might realize this is to the team's advantage.