The Houston Astros have it pretty rough. They’re currently at the lowest ebb of a complete franchise overhaul, still mired in the “rebuild the minor leagues” stage. The fruits of their labor is yet to bubble up to the big league level, which is deeply unfortunate due to their switch to the American League ahead of the upcoming season.
The move to the AL guarantees Houston huge amounts of travel and heartache, as they must now fight against their intrastate rivals the Rangers and the free-spending Angels for a chance the post-season in very distant future.
But there is one small light in the distance – a national TV date with the highly successful Rangers on Opening Night, as the league announced the Rangers and Astros will play in the season’s lid-lifter on March 31st at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros, in their fancy new duds, will host the heated rivals in their decidedly less-fancy ballpark with their not-at-all fancy new designated hitter and unfancy new manager. Tough sledding ahead for the Astros but, as the robust farm system of the St. Louis Cardinals indicates, they have the right people in place to emerge safely on the other side of the 100-loss morass.
Noted: ESPN and MLB picked Astros vs Rangers over Yankees vs Red Sox for Sunday night opener.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) January 3, 2013
The above tweet raises an interesting point: why the Astros on Opening Night? To pat them on the back for falling on their sword in 2013? Either way, Lucas Harrell is ready for his close-up, baby! The rest of the squad, well…