Boy, if I didn't know any better I might think this entire affaire de nom was just a put-on.
Just last week, Astros owner Jim Crane took over the franchise and immediately, if somewhat obliquely, suggested that a change of names might be in the offing after 57 seasons of the Astros.
Well, as it turns out, not so much. Zachary Levine:
New owner Jim Crane ended a week of speculation and rare attention on a national level and anticipated backlash among Houstonians, saying he would not change the name of the club – a possibility he floated last week.
"One thing that we are not going to change is the name. We received strong feedback and consensus among season ticket holders and many fans, and we will not change the name Astros. The Houston Astros are here to stay."
Still under consideration are changes to the uniforms and field (including Tal’s Hill). Those would not be for this season, rather the Astros’ first year in the American League in 2013.
Someone had to know this would happen, right? Sports fans are intensely conservative. If you asked the fans of any baseball team in the majors about changing the name, a huge majority would respond in the negative. And especially if the franchise is even moderately old; a huge majority of Astros fans have never known another name. And don't want to.
So what happened in the last week? Jim Crane took over and immediately said something that garnered a great deal of publicity, not only in Houston but around the country. Maybe in Canada even. Then, just a week later, he pronounces that the fans have spoken and of course the Astros will remain the Astros. Everybody's a winner, and the new owner is a hero.
Well played, sir. Well played, indeed. Now, about those guys you're going to put on the field this season...