With Hurricane Harvey relief efforts taking place throughout southeast Texas and even more rain in the forecast, the Houston Astros are temporarily unable to host games, and their cross-state rivals, the Texas Rangers, are taking heat on social media for refusing to allow the Astros the chance to restore their lost home games at a later date.
The teams were scheduled to kick off a three-game series in Houston on Tuesday, but while Minute Maid Park was described Monday as being in relatively “good condition,” the city of Houston isn’t in any shape for baseball. But when the Astros’ president, Reid Ryan, approached the Rangers with the idea of trading home series – the two squads are scheduled to play another series starting on September 25 – he was rebuffed.
“We went to the Rangers and said: ‘Hey, let’s switch series. You guys have our home series – we’ll take your home series,'” Ryan said, according to Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram. “They rejected that and didn’t want to do that. The Rangers wanted us to play the next three days at their place, but they did not want to trade series with us. They wanted all six games at their park.”
In turn, the Astros refused to play an extra series in Arlington, opting for a neutral site instead. The latest edition of the Lone Star Series will commence at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
But while the two sides eventually came to a resolution, many observers were decidedly unhappy with the Rangers’ refusal to allow the September series to be played in Houston. Hundreds of Twitter users voiced their dissatisfaction, including Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, who suggested the Rangers were motivated by greed.
— Lance McCullers Jr. (@LMcCullers43) August 28, 2017
Look I get that fans will spin things, but the Rangers response to the Astros request was nothing more/less than "sucks to be you."
— Brent Archer (@brentcarcher) August 29, 2017
The Rays are more Texan than the Rangers.
— John Alexander ? (@big_john819) August 28, 2017
The Rangers are three games out of a playoffs spot, and moving their late-September series to Houston would haved forced them to play four straight road series down the stretch. In defending his team, however, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the possibility of gaining an extra home series did not influence his decision to hold on to the September showdown.
“We were prepared to make the event all about hurricane relief and helping our neighbors,” he said. “It had nothing to do with looking for a competitive advantage. That’s an inaccurate portrayal … We didn’t feel it was right to give our fans 24 hours’ notice that their tickets in late September were now good this week. We were willing to play this series anywhere the Astros and MLB wanted, including here in Arlington.”
The Rangers and the Astros will kick off their next series Tuesday in St. Petersburg. Houston’s home series against the Mets, set to begin on Friday, may also be played at Tropicana Field.