This week in response to the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, the Astros moved their home series against the Texas Rangers to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. With a view to potentially have their Mets home series at the Trop as well (Literally two minutes after posting, this plan has been cancelled. The Astros will be home for the Mets series). Some raised eyebrows at the fact the Rangers could switch the series to Arlington and give Houston a series at home later in the season. However, the Rangers refused and twitter exploded (Including our own John McGee). So this means the Rangers are heartless, soulless demons who only care about their fans and money, right?
When the move was made, Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said:
We started looking at whatever options were out there, St. Louis, Tampa, etc. The Rangers offered to host us this week, but not switch series with us. In essence, have all six of our remaining games (against the Rangers) at the ballpark in Arlington. We really looked at what is in the best interest of the integrity of the schedule. They didn’t want to end the season playing a 12-game road trip.
As Reid Ryan said, the Astros would play their remaining six games against the Rangers at Arlington instead of it being split 50/50.
So the Astros schedule which currently reads (All three games series):
Vs LAA, @TEX, @BOS,
and could read, if the Rangers accepted the swap:
Vs LAA, Vs TEX, @BOS.
Wouldn’t have a huge impact on the Astros, especially with everything that has happened.
Now let us look at the Rangers and their 12-game road trip they were looking to avoid. As the schedule currently stands, they finished the season with (Again, all three games series):
@LAA, @SEA, @OAK, Vs HOU, Vs OAK (Four Games).
If they had made the swap with the Astros it would read:
@LAA, @SEA, @OAK, @HOU, Vs OAK
Yes, that would be four series (12 games) on the road, which is pretty brutal in any normal circumstances. Especially if you’re going from West Coast to East Coast. The Rangers have conducted two road trips of 10 games this season, never more than 10. Their record?
4-6 and 5-5. So those long trips have been tough.
As for this current 10 game road trip they are on, they are 4-4, with two remaining against the Astros.
So yes, I can see why the Rangers were not interested in adding extra road games to an already disappointing year for the team. I will however caveat that, by saying Houston is a four hour drive from Arlington and I’d imagine you can fly direct from Oakland to Houston (You can, there are at least eight tickets available here). Not exactly on the road, this isn’t exactly flying from Seattle to Boston.
Anyway, what did Rangers general manager Jon Daniels have to say? He spoke to the Ben and Skin show on 105.3 The Fan on Monday to say:
It is accurate that we declined to swap series with them. That’s really the only scenario that we declined. We were open to just about everything else. We just didn’t want to change the rest of the schedule … (We wanted to be) as accommodating as we can this week and do everything there we can but we didn’t want to change the rest of the schedule. We didn’t think it was fair to our fans who had bought tickets, 30,000 or so tickets for the last week in September and to give them effectively 24 hours notice that those tickets are no longer good then, they’re good tomorrow.
I understand the fan perspective on this, I understand the schedule problems about being on the road, I also understand that the Rangers are three games out of the Wild Card race despite selling off some of their assets and they want the best run possible at this. I would like to take a wild guess that at least 5,000 of those 30,000 fans that purchased tickets could probably make the game. Plus maybe another 10,000 who could now make the game because of the rearranged date. All guess work, but 50% isn’t bad in the world of Pringle.
This couldn’t have been an easy decision to make in that front office, especially given that hurricane hit in the same state. A state where you’re fighting for fan loyalty with another Major League Baseball team just 4 hours down the road. That decision, was definitely not made lightly. There was a curious quote later in the interview, when talking about the problems raised earlier with a 12-game road trip.
…Listen, some of these things are unavoidable and we get it. We want to be as accommodating as possible. I think the challenge for our fans was as big as any. The weather this week, meaning our forecast isn’t great and so if we play here and potentially lose a game and now you’ve got to make it up on one of only two remaining days for both clubs and then the competitive piece just adding a challenge to our club down the stretch. We were willing to play the games whether it was stay on the west coast or play in Tampa, or I think St. Louis was floated at one point but ultimately that part wasn’t our call.
I’m not sure what Daniels is talking about here. Is he saying the fans would be challenged by the change of location? Or challenged by the weather and have travel problems anyway? I’m hoping it’s the latter, because if it’s the former, he has ballsed up here. You cannot say that the change of location for three games of baseball is a challenge when people are currently floating on airbeds outside their destroyed home or trapped in apartment blocks.
On MLB.com he dropped this:
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said moving this week’s series to Arlington would have been a challenge for the fans.
“I say that kind of cringing, honestly, because it pales in comparison to the true-life challenges a lot of people are facing right now with the weather down there,” he said. “I say that with being very much aware of the contrast of what’s really going on.”
You’re very much aware, yet you still said it? Why would you even say it? Retract it, go back on what you said immediately, ask the interviewer to repeat the question and use your second answer. I have done media training, I know this is possible. Don’t leave your answer as this, it’s bad!
The Rangers front office were trying to look out for their team, their fans and protect what chance they have of making the AL wild card game in the current crap shoot that it is. Some Rangers fans will be delighted by this, sticking one in the face of the Astros — their local rivals — must be fantastic. The timing however, is horrendous. There are people who have died, people who have lost homes, people who have lost everything. All in the very same state they play baseball in. Yet this baseball team is worried about their players being away from home for three extra games, some fans missing out on a series and their wild card chances being stilted.
I’m usually the one on the side of sports teams, especially when people crow about players earning so much and doctors earning so little in comparison. Doctors don’t entertain you on your TV screens every night, they don’t draw millions of dollars, they are not part of a business. However, this is a bad look for the Rangers. A very bad look. You cannot be talking about 30,000 people missing a baseball game because you had to switch venues after a hurricane flooded a city and some people have lost everything.
To put it simply, the Rangers fucked up.