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Report: the Astros will move to the AL in future realignment

Jul 13, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

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We’ve heard mixed things about this in the past, but Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona reports that the Diamondbacks have been told by Major League Baseball that they will not be asked to move to the AL as a part of any realignment scheme. That according to “two sources close to the situation.”  He goes on to report — again, citing anonymous sources — that Astros have agreed to be moved to the AL West as a precondition of the sale of the team to Jim Crane.

The part about the Astros sale precondition contradicts a report by Ken Rosenthal last month. For their part, Diamondbacks’ management is on record saying they don’t want to move.

Magruder’s report was denied by current Astros owner Drayton McLane right after it came out, but then again (a) McLane is going to be out of the picture if and when this all goes down, so it’s not exactly his story to deny; and (b) he has an incentive to not look like he sold the Astros to someone who is going to mess with them.

For what it’s all worth, yesterday Bud Selig said that radical realignment is not really on the table at the moment. Union head Mike Weiner later said that it seemed more likely that realignment would be a 2013 thing, not a 2012 thing, so there’s no sense at the moment that anything is imminent.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    “that Astros have agreed to be moved to the AL West as a precondition of the sale of the team to Jim Crane.”

    It’s basically extortion. Anyone want to disagree that Darth Selig’s fingerprints aren’t all over this one? Darth Selig to McLane and Crane: “If you want this sale to go through, you’ll do what your told to do.”


    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      And let me add that if Darth Selig didn’t move the Brewers to the National League years ago, they would not have this unbalanced team issue to begin with.

      • paperlions - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        Selig did not move the Brewers.

        First he asked the Royals if they would move. They said “no”.

        Then he asked the Brewers and they agreed to move, citing the cities history of being an NL team when the Braves were there and probably figuring that the change may create new interest in the team….change tends to do that.

        In any case, Selig did not move the Brewers.

    • adenzeno - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Why doesnt Bud just move Mil BACK to the AL…?

    • clydeserra - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Its gonna suck for the Astros having the yankees and Redsox play at least 3 games in their park every year. and hosting the Rangers 9 times a year.

      Bet they are going to hate counting all that money. Darth Selig is pretty bad at crime, don’t you think?

    • Richard In Big D - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      This goes back to the franchise question. If you own a McDonald’s, and the corporate office tells you to start selling oatmeal, you have to do it. Period. And by the way, the oatmeal is pretty good.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        Too bad it’s awful for you when ordered as is. Anything is good with enough sugar.

  2. adenzeno - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    IMHO, I think MLB should add 2 teams, do away wi the DH, create 4 leagues of 6 teams ea determined geographically. Take the top 2 teams in ea league for the playoffs-Play primarily within your league and then interleague wi ONE other league-rotate that yearly so that everyone plays ea other every 3 years, but YOUR league plays all the same people-You get the natural geographic rivalries, teams should save a TON on transportation costs.

    Play ea team in your league 16 times and the teams in the other league from that year 6 times-160 games-winner of one league plays the 2nd place team from the league they played that year-Will this at some point create a world series where the 1st and 2nd place teams from the same league play each other-surely, but we get that now for the league championships. Comments welcom

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM

      Too radical. This would never happen. We can’t destroy AL/NL tradition that has been storied for so many generations by mixing the leagues.

      • adenzeno - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:25 AM

        I think if the owners see how much $$ would be saved on transportation they might do it-and wi no DH you lose the high salaried guys that seemingly occupy that spot. But as you say, this will probably never happen…

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:29 AM

        I agree with you. Fiscally, it makes sense. But, like I said, it’s way too radical. You have to remember that baseball is a sport with a lot of tradition that is predicated on stability and the status quo. It may take another 30 years for something that you proposed to happen. Hell, who knows? In another 30 years, as technology advances (plane speeds increase, etc.), we may be playing teams from all over the world in a Major League Baseball World League.

      • adenzeno - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        Baseball started wi 8 team leagues, then 10, then 2 divisions, then 3, then interleague-Umps are no longer AL/NL, there are no league presidents any longer.

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        Yeah, it was originally 8 teams, all of them on the east coast. Of course, as the population of the US started to move westward, the natural progression was to add baseball teams for the people in the west to watch.

        But, at this point, I think the league is pretty stable. I’m a traditionalist, though, and like the status quo in baseball.

      • Old Gator - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        The DH should be eliminated simply because it sucks.

    • Tim's Neighbor - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      Atlanta seems a bit (WAY) out of place…

      • adenzeno - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        It ain’t perfect I will admit-A starting point only

  3. jamie54 - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    No, it makes too much sense. Six teams in the NL central vs. four in the AL west gives an inequal competative advantage for division championships. Only common sense you make them three divisions of five teams each, no brainer, and since the Rangers are so very close to Houston that will lead to dynamics when they play each other. Finally getting it right.

    • Richard In Big D - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:45 AM

      Excepth that adding the Astros to the AL west isn’t really going to affect the competitive makeup of the division. It’s just adding a team to the bottom of the standings.

      • APBA Guy - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        It would be a race to the bottom: have you seen the A’s and Seattle play lately?

    • uori - Jul 14, 2011 at 4:24 PM

      there would be no new rivalry as there hasn’t been for years. forced rivalries never work; whereas ones that naturally blossum like the st. louis/houston rivalry are the ones that grow.

  4. explodet - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    I’m torn. On one hand, more easy wins during the season beating up on the Astros. On the other hand, ugh, now I’ll have to endure games involving the Astros.

  5. yankeesgameday - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    This would be great for the Astros. The AL West is year in, year out, a division that can be won by any team. Players love Houston so spend some money and they could be a contender every year if the revamp their lineup. The DH in minute maid park will make a huge difference in their run production ad well.

    I can also see a true on state division rivalry with the Rangers that could be a Texan version of ny/boston. From a purely fun drama on the field perspective I would love to see this.

  6. SmackSaw - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Baseball goes back to 1972. All rules apply. That’ll solve everything.

  7. sgregthompson - Jul 13, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    What’s incredibly missing in the logic here is that Jim Crane and Drayton McLane don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do.

    So, they can make that a “condition” of approval of the sale, but if it’s refused, then where does that leave MLB?… of course, it leaves them without a team to move since Drayton’s been clear about his feelings about it all.

    “What if they say they aren’t going to allow ANY sale until/unless Drayton or a buyer permits it?”

    Here’s the rub with that:

    Drayton is under no deadline.

    MLB is.

    As far as I’m aware anyhow, these things have to be incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement.

    Therefore, MLB’s leverage in this is a misnomer among these columnists who are putting out this stuff.


    If somehow these reports hold water and Crane allows this to occur, it’s exclusively on Crane… there’s no way he can pretend MLB held the cards here, though I’m hard-pressed to find a single national columnist to whom that has occurred.

    And he and his investors will find the wrath of Houston fans is going to depreciate his asset immediately and substantially as he and his investors drive it off the proverbial lot… that is, fans who’ve been watching NL ball for 50 years, plus all of the years before when the Houston Buffs fed into the Cardinals roster, aren’t going to respond very kindly.

  8. sgregthompson - Jul 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Want a sensible solution that puts all 30 teams, not just 28 or 29, in a positive position… you’ve got to go to 3-team divisions. And if you go to 3-team divisions, here’s the plan that makes all of it not only reasonable, but even exciting…

  9. uori - Jul 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Name a forced rivalry that will ever worked out. The media have been forcing the Texas/Houston rivalry for years, yet it doesn’t happen. we play 6 games a year and nothing has happened. the only thing this move would do is kill already budding rivalries like the one that has been brewing with St. Louis and one that partially exists with the Cubs.

    It makes much more sense to move a team that’s not well rooted in the league such as the Diamondbacks. then realign the Astros back to the NL west where they started and can maintain the only real rivalries they have.

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