Let me be frank, I am against change in baseball. In fact, I am of the old school notion that if it isn’t broken, you shouldn’t try to fix it. Over the last several years, Major League Baseball has made slow changes to the game and in my opinion, none of them were needed.
In 1997 baseball instituted interleague play. Before interleague play started, teams only played cross-league games in spring training and the World Series. I liked it that way. There was an element of surprise between teams when the postseason arrived. When the Fall Classic came around, teams and fans were seeing something new.
One year later in 1998, baseball’s acting commissioner Bud Selig (who also owned the Milwaukee Brewers at the time) realigned both leagues to coincide with the additions of the Arizona Diamondbacks to the National League (NL) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the American League (AL).
Detroit moved from the AL East to the AL Central, Tampa Bay joined the AL East, and Milwaukee left the AL Central for the NL Central. Arizona then joined the NL West and the divisions in each league were set as they are today.
It didn’t matter to Selig that the Brewers had been an AL team since their inception in 1969 (as the Seattle Pilots). Selig threw 29 years of Brewers history out the window like yesterday’s trash.
Now he is doing it again, but this time with the Houston Astros.
The Astros were originally established in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s. In 1965 the team was renamed the Houston Astros and they moved into the Astrodome, the first domed stadium in baseball.
But next year, with the 2013 baseball season, the Astros are being moved to the American League West. The Astros will be the second team to be forced into switching leagues. That is 50 years of history being tossed out the window.
Moving the Astros to the AL also involves another big change to baseball. Because there will now be 15 teams in each league, interleague play will be mandated for every day of the season.
No longer will the World Series have any chance of secrecy between teams. Starting next season, every team will play every team over the course of the regular season.
It is my opinion that if baseball badly so desires to have daily interleague play and wants to move an NL team to the AL, there should be only one team considered – the Milwaukee Brewers.
After 29 years in the American League the Brewers joined the National League. Why make a team that has as rich a history as the Astros do in the National League switch leagues when there is a team like the Brewers that has none of that. The Brewers are not a traditional NL team, they do not have an established history in the NL, and they have only been in the NL for 16 years.
Why not move the Brewers back to the American League? In the Brewers 29 years in the AL they won two AL East titles (1981 and 1982) and one AL championship (1981). They had four AL home run champions, three MVPs, two Cy Young winners, one Rookie of the Year (ROY), one no-hitter, and four Hall of Famers (Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers and Hank Aaron) suited up for the Brewers. All four players have also had their numbers retired by the Brewers.
That is a lot of history to toss aside.
Since the Brewers have been in the NL, they have had one NL home run leader, one MVP, one ROY, one NL Central title, a wild card appearance, and a 100 loss season.
Looking at the National League history Houston will lose, is even worse than that of Milwaukee.
Over the course of 50 years, the Astros have had five NL strikeout champions, seven NL ERA champions, two NL Cy Young award winners, one NL ROY, thrown 10 no-hitters, and retired the numbers on nine players – one of which is on the Hall of Fame and two of which (Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio) are eligible.
Biggio played his entire career with the Astros and is one of just 28 players in the history of baseball to finish with over 3,000 career hits. Of all 28 players who reached 3,000 hits, Biggio is one of just 10 players to record all his hits with the same team. Biggio’s 3,060 hits currently rank him 21st all time.
As a team, the Astros have had a 100 win season (1998), three NL West titles (1980, 1981, and 1986), four NL Central titles (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001), two NL Wild Cards (2004, 2005), and one NL Championship (2005).
I love baseball. It is the greatest sport out there, but Selig and his cronies need to stop messing with the game and trying to get every last dollar they can out of the fans. They can start by leaving things alone. After all, why would you try to fix something that isn’t broken?
Jason Farmer column: Moving Houston to AL doesn’t make sense