The scenes from Houston continue to be devastating. If you have a pulse or a soul, you can’t see the images or hear the accounts from family and friends in the Houston area and not be heartbroken and not want to do something to help.
In light of everything that’s happened, the Astros and Rangers will be playing each other in Tampa starting tonight. And the only thing more bizarre than two Texas teams playing a series in Florida is the fact that people are getting all worked up about it.
Houston president Reid Ryan said that the Astros suggested that they swap the home series that was scheduled for Houston this week with one scheduled for Arlington in September, but the Rangers declined.
Reacting to that, Astros pitcher Lance McCullers tweeted: Classy as always, should be absolutely ashamed. Greed never takes off days, apparently. Stay strong #Htown! We hope to be home soon.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said “We were willing to play this series anywhere the Astros and MLB wanted, including here in Arlington” and that they were willing to provide all revenue from an Arlington series this week to the Astros. He also said that the team didn’t reject the idea of the series swap for competitive or financial reasons, but because they didn’t want to inconvenience their fans who had tickets to the September series to tell them that they had to use them this week.
Okay. Fine. Whatever. I’m not sure that’s really the best reason ever. I mean, when you look at everything that’s happening in Houston right now, that’s a little more inconvenient than having to figure out a way for fans who had tickets for a baseball game next month to either get tickets to a game this week or maybe issue a refund.
And, swapping series with the Astros would’ve meant that the Rangers would’ve been on the road for 4 of the last 5 series of the season, which would have been rough. But again, not the end of the world.
Regardless, when the Astros and Rangers couldn’t come to an agreement, Major League Baseball stepped in and moved the series to Tampa.
I don’t care. I really don’t. Houston essentially wrapped up the division in June. The Rangers are 15 games out of first and would have to leapfrog four teams to get into the Wild Card. It’s definitely doable, but that’s not the point. None of this is the point. When people are dying and being evacuated in Houston, who cares where three baseball games are played? It’s really not that important at all.
I don’t care if the games were in Arlington with the Rangers as the home team or Arlington with the Astros as the home team or in Florida with no home teams. Or on the moon. It really doesn’t matter. And if you’re getting bogged down in the he-said, he-said part of this and debating about which team would benefit the most, either financially or competitively from moving or not moving the series, then you don’t get it either. Because this isn’t the thing. Sports are great. Sports are important. But at times like this, when people are losing their actual homes, it’s embarrassing to be arguing about where to play three baseball games.
Could the Rangers have handled it better? Maybe. Was their response a little off? Probably. Are they greedy bastards trying to work a hurricane to their advantage, I doubt it.
As Rangers outfielder Delino Deshields, who spent five years with the Astros, posted on Twitter: “I want people to understand that what is happening down there is way bigger than baseball. I know the fans and families and friends who live in Houston are upset that baseball probably won’t be played in Houston this week along with the other cities down there…. Everyone wants to point fingers at each other calling each other names, that [the Rangers] are classless and nobody has respect for anybody. That’s BS. I have teammates and coaches who either one live down there or have family down there that are being affected by this. … But we want to call each other names and disrespect each other because of what? We are rivals? That’s so irrelevant right now and at this second I’m pretty disappointed at how people are reacting to this.”
Truth. Couldn’t have said it better myself.