Hurricane Harvey: The Astros vs Rangers Misguided Controversy
Rangers vs Astros Home Series Swap
FEMA director Brock Long called this the worst disaster in Texas history. Hurricane Harvey, hitting the southern United States in the last week of August, decimated coastal towns, and inundated Houston with flood waters. It dropped upwards of 40 inches of rain, and over 50 inches at its peak. As of September 5, the death toll in America is at 65, and damages are estimated to be as high as $190 billion. Believe it or not though, baseball is garnering a lot of critics because of how this is being handled... But who's in the wrong here? And what's the controversy?
You've probably heard about the controversy between the Astros and Rangers by now regarding the Houston Astros' home games. If not, here's a quick summary.
With a home series coming up and because Houston was underwater, the Astros asked the Rangers if they wanted to switch home games with the Rangers. So they'd have played last weekend's series in Arlington, and then the Rangers' home games would be played at Minute Maid Park later in the season. Seems fair. The games would have still been played in Texas, and could have been a moment of state solidarity... but the Texas Rangers refused, suggesting they play the series in Arlington, but also keep their future home series at Globe Life Park.
Not able to come to an agreement, the games ended up being played at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays, with the Astros effectively losing those games as home games.
Who's To Blame?
There's three camps when it comes to this issue. There are Houston fans, and even players, who have taken to Twitter to show their contempt for the Rangers' decision. There are those who defend the Rangers and counter against the Astros, and then there's some who go straight to blaming the MLB. Houston fans were livid when they heard of the Rangers' refusal to host their team in the midst of this disaster. An already heated rivalry came to a boiling point, especially behind Lance McCullers' tweet which ripped into their in-state and division rivals.
While the Rangers had every right to refuse, it's moments like this that can turn into an empathetic human moment, or turn cold and calculating. Conversely, Rangers fans are asking why the Astros are so concerned with where the games are being played. They've criticized Astros management for feeling too entitled, and that they should be using their efforts on helping their city instead of crying about losing a few home games. Rangers management has also stated that a switch would have interfered with their ticket sales.
Lots of people are blaming the MLB themselves though. Neither Texas team has criticized them directly, but the MLB had the power to postpone the games until later on in the season. With such a heavy schedule and only a month left in the season, it could have been tough to do, but it's very attainable, especially with a couple of double-headers sprinkled around. Whether Houston baseball should be postponed while the city rebuilds OR whether it should have been played in Texas as a welcome distraction from the devastation is a question not easily answered.
Ok, we lied. There's one other angle to look at this from. Instead of blaming the Astros, Rangers, or MLB, we can take a step back and see that Houston was hit hard and is still reeling. Baseball is a non-issue in the face of a catastrophe and no one should be blamed. If this was Game 7 of the World Series, maybe it would be more understandable, but not a mid-week series like this.
An almost meaningless weekend series too. The Astros are guaranteed to make the playoffs and the Rangers have a mere 8.8% chance. They could have scrapped the series completely and not have it make much impact. Not only that, but the home games being lost are even less consequential. Houston's got an amazing road record of 43-22.
Home field has less of an impact for certain teams. Looking back, they did lose 2 of 3 of this series in St. Petersburg, but it didn't shake the postseason picture up at all. Sure, the Astros had the right to ask for a swap, the Rangers also had the right to refuse, and the MLB was under no obligation to postpone the games. The real thing to takeaway is that no matter what happened, it wouldn't have affected the game that much, nor the fans' respect for the team or league in the long run.
Did you like this article? Don't forget to share and comment on what you think should have been done, and if there's some mental aspects from Harvey we didn't touch on. If you think the A's are going to bounce back with a strong end of season, be sure to pound them on Sports Interaction!
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