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New Foe and a Crisis Averted

October 12, 2011

Two big pieces of news in baseball today. First of the Chicago Cubs signed Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein to become their GM, which ends any risk of A’s GM Billy Beane skipping town for Chicago. Epstein, who shares Beane’s philosophy yet with a far greater checkbook backing it up, has another curse to rid of in joining Chicago. For the A’s this ends any rumors of Beane heading to Chicago  which at times seemed increasingly likely and imminent, while the Angels still have an opening it seems unlikely he’d head south to Anaheim, and the Red Sox plan to use internal options to replace Theo. That is one big piece of news that created big non-news for Oakland.

The other big piece of news is that the A’s appear to be set to have a new division rival – the Houston Astros or so says’s Peter Gammons who tweeted,

“Houston ownership change expected to go through in mid-November, w/ AL move.”

Now many will know I don’t put too much stock in what “Mr. What they play baseball outside of New York and Boston?” has to say but often if there is sufficient smoke there is indeed a fire so I have to think that the A’s will soon have a new colleague in the West in the form of the Astros. However two interesting articles may indicate that this is not nearly as done a deal as Peter Gammons makes it seem. First from FoxSportsHouston’s Greg Lucas yesterday,

“While they [the Astros] are in a vulnerable position with a team sale needing approval and the club hardly one of the strongest in baseball, MLB can not make them go anywhere.  Major League Baseball’s own constitution says so.

Maury Brown of the Business of Sports web site produced a recent copy of the document for a story regarding all the legal battles between the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership and MLB.  I was most interested in Article V, Sec 2 subsection 5.  That deals with realignment or movement of teams.

The MLB Constitution clearly states that MLB cannot move a team from one league or division to another without consent from the club AND a three-quarters vote from the owners.

In other words nothing is out of the hands of either Mr. Crane or Mr. McLane as has been implied earlier.”

Let’s assume that this article is incorrect, that Lucas is not an attorney, and he is missing some vital thing that says MLB can tell or coerce the Astros to join the American League East even if they wanted to, this article from Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle makes it seem like it is far from open and shut writing,

“A spokesman for Jim Crane’s prospective ownership group said on Wednesday morning that there have been no meetings about moving the Astros to the American League as the group seeks approval on its $680 million bid to buy the team.

Crane met one-on-one with commissioner Bud Selig last Thursday in Milwaukee in a session both sides deemed constructive.”

I still think ultimately this will happen. Crane will be bought off, the Astros will be moved (though in my mind it makes far more sense to move the Diamondbacks) and the A’s will no longer be residents of MLB’s only four team division.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dangerous Dean permalink
    October 17, 2011 12:24 pm

    I live much closer to Houston than to Arlington. So I would LOVE it if Texas would play Houston 18 times a year.

    Plus, the Lastros should still be a punching bag in 2013 when they move into the division, so that means more wins for the Rangers.

    Finally, most of my friends and relatives are diehard LAstros fans. I have been telling them for years that Houston would lose more games in the AL than in the NL. So this will be my chance to gloat when I am right

    I love it and hope it happens.

    • October 18, 2011 12:34 pm

      I just don’t get how any fan of any team in the National League thinks their team could benefit from a move to the American League. Our league is significantly stronger.

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