Before Hurricane Ike, the Houston Astros
were 2.5 games out of the Wild Card. They had won 30 out of the last 40 games and had the best record in the Majors after the All Star break.
With the impending impact of Ike apparent MLB
cancelled the scheduled series between the Astros
and Cubs and rescheduled them to be played in.....Milwaukee....90 minutes from Chicago. So what was supposed to be a home game for Houston became essentially a home game for the Cubs, and Houston players who had spent the two days prior dealing with a hurricane, no electrical power and having to leave their families behind still in this mess promptly got one hit in two games and proceeded to drop five games in row...essentially eliminating
them from the playoffs.
Why couldn't the games have been re-scheduled to the end of the season, much like was done after 9/11?
According to this story
It was pretty obvious that the Astros were not happy to be playing a home game against the Cubs in Milwaukee last night. They wore their road grays and looked rather listless in getting no-hit by Carlos Zambrano in front of a crowd of mostly Cubs' fans. Many have wondered why the games weren't rescheduled for closer to Houston. Owner Drayton McLane gave a bit of an explanation after the game:
"There was just no other choice," McLane said. "We wanted Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Arlington, Atlanta, you name it. There was nothing else."
He said the games couldn't be played after the season because there wasn't enough time to play all three and still start the playoffs in time to satisfy Fox television.
I have this theory that the root of all evil in baseball can be traced back to Fox. I understand the desire to make these games up as quickly as possible, but to make the Astros play two road games in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane while they're locked in a pennant race is pretty unfair.
One NLDS matchup starts on Wednesday, October 1st while the second starts on Thursday the second. The season ends on Sunday, September 28th. Three games could be played as necessary Monday and Tuesday and the Cubs could draw the series that starts on Thursday the second. It's certainly possible that all three games won't even be needed. The Cubs might not be happy, but they'd probably get over it.
TV and money that's of course what it is always about.
And of course count on some Chicago fans to keep it classy...
Maybe if they spent more time in the batting cage instead of whining about the venue situation they could have gotten a hit before the 16th inning of the series.
Yeah right, maybe if Cub fans and players had spent less time complaining about goats, Bartman
and all other assorted excuses for not succeeding they might have won something in under a hundred years. Heaven forbid someone might be distracted because their home is underwater or without power and you left your wife and kids there to go play baseball in Wisconsin
players have had something to say about this
They're upset with Bud Selig, but until now they've done a good job keeping mostly silent. Now, though, the Houston Chronicle has spotted players wearing protest t-shirts.
"We survived Ike," the back of the shirt read in red lettering atop a drawing of the radar impression of the eye of the storm.
On the front, it read: "Bud killed us," over a red drawing of the commissioner's bust.
It's impossible to know what would've happened if the Cubs/Astros series had been moved somewhere closer to Houston or postponed until later in the year, but it's certainly understandable for the 'Stros' players to be upset. The storm was vicious, there are still stories like this one coming out of the Houston area, and the league did very little to accommodate the Astros. I realize that there's not much the league can do, but it seems like they didn't even do that.
The Astros, on the other hand, are doing their best to help out even in the face of the collapse of their playoff hopes. FanHouser and Houstonian Stephanie Stradley just e-mailed me today to tell me that the Astros have donated $1 miillion to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund (a cause that could certainly use as much help as possible ... just sayin'). Because really, missing the playoffs isn't the end of the world and if anyone knows it, it's the Astros.
Labels: Houston Astros, MLB