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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Your Opening Series Opponent (Yes Houston still has a baseball team and I'm pretty sure they're still called the Astros, but who knows haha)


This time next week we'll be gearing up for the home opener against the Halos and will have had our first series under our belts! Lest we forget the MLB season itself kicks off on Sunday night on national TV with your Texas Rangers and...the Houston Astros? I mean, I've seen/heard/read many national sports personalities scratching their heads at the Astros' inclusion. Rightfully so, I guess? The Rangers are a big draw over the past 3 years (as I've previously described) so no real surprise there, I'd say.



So I suppose it has a lot to do with the Astros switching leagues in an effort to realign divisions and create some semblance of symmetry throughout as we'll now have 3 divisions of 5 teams in each league. It also creates a rivalry of sorts (its already a natural rivalry they say) which I believe has ALWAYS felt forced. These teams won't be strangers to each other as we've played the Astros annually since 2001 thanks to interleague play (which Jenn hates). It was dubbed the "Lone Star Series" complete with a goofy trophy...the silver boot.




Side note #1
Interleague play: The Rangers actually played in the first ever interleague game on June 12, 1997 at the Ballpark against the San Francisco Giants. Semi-impress your friends with that nugget if you like. Haha...we lost 4-3 too by the way...


First Pitch. Interleague play. Nolan. Of course

I digress. Back to the Lone Star Series. The Rangers have actually enjoyed great success against the Astros in those 12 years (that long really?). They would play an even number of games (6), which I always found goofy, with the tiebreaker going to the team which scored more runs (usually the Rangers, big surprise). Anyway, the Rangers were an overall 42-30 and collected 9 of 12 Silver Boots for what it's worth. Since 2009, the Rangers are actually a fairly dominant 19-5 against the Astros.


Now I don't need to tell you this encompasses a ton of different players/teams/managers, but who are THESE Astros? Well they're pretty much the worst team in baseball. That's not hyperbole, those are just facts. Lets examine: they lost 107 games in 2012 and 106 in 2011 (that means 108 losses in 2013, no? haha..). Any Astros player you could pretend to name from the mid-to-late 2010's are all but gone.
Put a gun to my head and ask me to name an Astros player and I'll come up with this clown.

Some say they are taking a "moneyball" approach and building from within (i.e. Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland As obviously), shedding big/bad contracts, and shunning high profile free agents. You've no doubt already heard that Alex Rodriguez's salary eclipses that of the entire Astros roster combined. So on the surface it seems they pose no real threat. I mean...they're the Astros, right?...but to hear the many, many Houston fans I've encountered in my lifetime you wouldn't know it to hear them tell it...


Side note #2: We have to go back before baseball even existed in the state of Texas to examine this phenomenon. I've learned only recently that the state of Texas has always been inundated with St. Louis Cardinals fans before actual Texas teams were a part of the MLB. Now if you know anything about that fan base you know it's a very hardcore baseball culture. Now for some reason, once the Astros (formerly the Colt .45s) came into existence their fans got it in their heads that Houston is some kind of baseball town. National League ball is superior to American League ball etc. The truth is that the Astros DO have a great fanbase much like the Rangers. In my experience, however, they've always had some kind of notion of superiority towards us, but why? What have they accomplished that we haven't?


I really only bring this up because I am admittedly a huge sportstalk radio fanatic and while there are many outlets to fulfill this vice in the great city of Dallas, there is but one meager option in Bryan/College Station: Sportsradio 1150 "The Zone".  They focus primarily on Houston area sports due to the area's close proximity to the city of Houston (I'm guessing). In keeping with this focus they broadcast all Houston Astros baseball games on the station. The recent rise in popularity for the Texas Rangers led long silent (I assume) Ranger fans or perhaps new Aggies who happen to be Ranger fans to complain a bit about said broadcasts. They expressed their frustration with e-mails, texts, and calls about not being able to hear Ranger broadcasts in the area. So, years ago this prompted a local radio personality to utter the following words which I will now paraphrase as my memory of the exact words escapes me, "Alright, Ranger Fan. You can have your moment in the sun. Have a laugh at Astro Fan's expense but, overall the Houston Astros have FAR OUTSHINED the Texas Rangers in the state of Texas".


Is this really the case? The Astros have had a bumpy existence, winning only one NL pennant and making the playoffs just eight times in their 50 years. They have never won a World Series game despite making it in 2005 – a four-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox.


Side note #3: Lets look at the numbers just for fun...

 

Rangers

18 Winning seasons

2  Pennants
 

5  Division titles

 

Astros

21 Winning seasons

1 Pennant

6 Division titles



The Rangers are 19-25 in postseason play to the Astros' 21-35 record.
The numbers looks pretty similar, wouldn't you say?


So, in conclusion, get over yourself Houston fan and I am respectfully welcoming you to the American League. Yall are lucky I even dedicated an entire post to you. Haha. Either way, you have your work cut out for you...


By the way, here are your pitching matchups, Ranger fans...


3/31
Harrison (0-0) Norris (0-0)



 4/2
Darvish (0-0) Harrell (0-0)

4/3
Ogando (0-0) Humber (0-0)


ONE DAY!!!!







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