The Houston AstroNOTS?
Imagine your favorite professional baseball team is consistently, well, terrible. The kind of terrible where having a .500 season after years of numerous losses makes you feel like your team made the World Series. The kind of terrible where you hardly know (if at all) the players on the team’s roster because higher-ups have fed your good guys to other teams. The kind of terrible where even the team’s farm system looks like it’s made up of kids in little league (and I’m not talking about the ones you see in the Little League World Series).
Now, imagine a new owner — not to mention Major League Baseball — steps in and makes some changes, including moving to another league. Imagine he proposes your team change its name and its uniforms. Imagine he offers lower prices on tickets and more incentives for fans to actually come to games in a ballpark that’s just more than a decade old, yet looks almost brand new because few people have packed the house since your team’s (short) World Series run seven years ago.
Doesn’t that sound just awful? Who wants to cheer for a team like that?
Oh, that’s right. I do. And so do a few others.
Believe it or not, there are still dedicated ‘Stros fans out there. They watched Craig Biggio leave without a World Series title. On the other hand, they saw guys like Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence and Lance Berkman, who all went to the postseason (some won World Series titles) in the past couple of years. Fans have been through a postseason — and winning season — drought. Anything — at this point — could be better than the state the Houston Astros are in now, which is why new owner Jim Crane is considering a couple of changes to the organization. These include lowering ticket prices to allowing outside food in Minute Maid Park and — most notably — changing the uniforms and team name.
But are these all good changes? Will they really attract a bigger and better fan base like the Astros has in 2005? Let’s consider the top two:
1) Changing the Astros’ name
I don’t like this idea. Sure, a new name might signify and seal a new beginning with the ‘Stros moving to the American League, but the Astros have history (unlike a lot of downtown Houston), and die-hard fans would like to keep it that way. Besides, Houston is Space City, and what else can we call the team?
2) Changing the Astros’ uniforms/team colors
I don’t mind a change such as this one. A new look and a new logo is great for branding the team. It might drive retail sales and such, but it would also bring a new look and feel to an already-existing team that needs a huge boost.