People are talking about Bud Selig here (and rightfully so) Just going to add, when Crane bought the team in 2011, the Astros were lousy and really had no line-of-sight to anything resembling today. Crane was a successful logisitics CEO, but he was not a billionaire, and he needed to borrow a lot of money to buy the team (total purchase price was $680MM, of which $300MM was borrowed). He also took on a lot of minority equity partners. To put this in context, Drayton McClane (the guy selling to Crane) bought the team in 1993 for $115MM from John McMullen. Nice 6x return there. So the league made an offer that Crane couldn't really refuse: $70 million cash for the Astros to switch leagues (that is, cash prior to the transaction close), essentially financing a big chunk of the purchase In retrospect, I miss some aspects of the NL, but it would be absurd for me to complain about the course of history as it played out. Would be like marrying Kate Upton and having regret that your high school girlfriend broke up with you.


With universal DH and the move to playing every team every season, it doesn't even matter anymore. It's really more like one big league instead of two separate ones. When I was a kid, there wasn't even interleague play. The AL was like some exotic foreign league.


Exactly, the AL might as well have played in Europe back then. Now I don't even notice an NL game. What's funny is: Crane actually lost a couple of his partners when the league change was agreed to. Jeff Hines (as in the huge real estate company, Hines) was in a long-established NL-only fantasy league and dropped out. Not a joke.


That’s fucking hilarious


At this point the only complaint I have is being in the western division. Most of our road games are played in a time zone that is 2 hours behind us. But the plus side is everyone else in our division sucks so we haven't had to worry about missing the playoffs for the last half a decade.


That's a legit complaint, and if you complained about the vuvuzuelas in Oakland, I'd agree with that too. Hopefully next year w/ schedule balancing, there will be fewer 9pm starts where you have to read about who won the next morning.


This is the best answer. Crane also hired a GM that was pragmatic to the point of being seen as cruel. There was no room in the organization for being nostalgic about what league or division we played in. And the money was good.


I still can’t believe no one got Luhnow. Has to be collusion. There is no way you can convince me his PR would be worse than some guys teams go after. He still did the majority of the Astros organization today. May no be a good person, but did such an amazing job as GM


It's been said the environment in the front office was very cut throat


Toxic, perhaps.


I think he got a fat check in the settlement. He didn't want the drama of coming back into the light of baseball for his family. He is making more money as a team owner of at least a couple soccer teams across the world. If I was an owner, he would be the first GM I call. I don't care, the guy makes his owner money. End of story. Crane has made out great while owning the team and winning heals all


He has a bad rep in the league now…, He is blackballed now.


I don’t necessarily know if he’s a bad person. But NOTHING comes before business in that man’s eyes.


Well, to be fair…MLB threatened not to approve the sale unless Crane agreed to the move. The league has rights to veto a sale on certain grounds, and it used that as leverage to achieve a goal it had always wanted: 15 teams in each league. There had been imbalance before, with 4 teams in the AL west and 6 in the NL central. This was the perfect opportunity. The league raised a bunch of issues about Crane’s past as a pretext to block the sale unless he agreed to move to AL west. He demanded a $70 million discount on the sale price to agree to the move, and the league agreed to throw in half (with McClane eating the other half). So not exactly that the league made him an offer he couldn’t refuse…unless you meant that to be read in a Don Corleone voice.


Yes, this. It wasn't Crane being cheap or the MLB helping anything. They wanted to balance the divisions and they had leverage to force the switch. They were massive dicks about the whole thing.


All true. And yes, I meant it in the Don Corleone context. Godfather was randomly on HBO last weekend, and I watched the whole thing.


This is exactly the way I remember it going down as well.


Didn’t the Milwaukee Brewers move to the NL to make room for the ‘Stros to go to the AL? At least this was my recollection.


Pretty good value for when we were terrible too, because more Red Sox + Yankees games is a lot of money when nobody wants to watch your team. Crane was more than happy to move to the AL


Also the interstate rivalry with the rangers is super fun now!




Wasn't so fun until about 2016 lol


No, 2016 still sucked, 2017 is when we reversed roles


I still miss the late 90s-mid 00s rivalries we had with Atlanta/St.Louis. But trading that in for owning the Yankees makes up for it.


Agreed, Chicago was great too. Their fans always brought it, even to MMP.


This is the answer


Fuck Bud Selig, Milwaukee was an AL team and his meddling to get a Cubs/Brewers divisional rivalry caused the imbalance Also McLane not McClane


And lots of Texans wanted a Rangers/Astros rivalry, so it seemed like a good move


Again the imbalance was created by Selig in '98 as commissioner. Don't shift blame away from that snake Selig


Fair enough. But, I for one, was excited to have a Rangers/Astros rivalry. Better than playing the Reds all the time. And before that it was the Braves.


The Astros rivals were the Cubs and Cardinals during the NL Central years . And when they were in the NL West, primarily the Dodgers


Correct. Not very exciting rivalries. The Reds and the Braves were the competition to the Astros in the 90’s. Though Reds were always just a step behind the Astros, but the Braves eliminated the Astros too many times in the playoffs for me to care to remember. The Cardinals were the competition for the Astros in the early 2000’s. The Dodgers were definitely more the rivalry in the 80’s for the Astros.


You're absolutely clueless about Astros' divisonal rivalries. Braves have always been in a different division, catch up. Cincinnati had some stout teams in the early 90's but had faded post strike shortened season. After '94 and into the 2000's, Astros fought divisional races against the Cubs and Cardinals. You aware of the hurricane Ike games played against the Cubs in Milwaukee dictated by Bud Selig?


You are funny. How many playoff games in the 90’s did you attend watching the Braves eliminate the Astors? After the 3rd time, I think they were the team everyone in Houston wanted to beat. The Cubs were never a real rivalry for the Astros. The Reds were with the Astros in the West and during the 90’s in the Central division were mostly the number 2 team. The Cardinals were a big rivalry on the early 2000’s. Sorry, if your memory doesn’t serve you correctly. And, yes the Braves were in a different division, but the Astros still played them a lot. The West they were division rivals.


Playoffs? Playoffs? We're talking DIVISIONAL rivalries


Astros and Cubs were straight up a massive rivalry. Lima grooving pitches to Sosa in the HR chase season of '98? Hurricane Ike? Kerry Wood 20K game?


Upvote for the eloquent simile at the end.


On a serious note, you all know the Yankees were laughing at getting fresh meat to prey on in the AL when the Astros switched over. Me thinks they are not so happy about it now


Bud Selig moved the Brewers to the NL central because at the time it was an easy division. That threw off the balance of how many teams were in each division. When the Astros got bought he took that opportunity to rebalance the divisions. BTW, before he was commissioner he was the owner of the Brewers.


I find it funny bud moved the brewers to the "easy" NL Central in 1998, and then they didn't make the playoffs for a decade lmao


It wasn't just easy, it was the league that made much more money on average


that is very true


He moved the Brewers to the NL to get a divisional rivalry with the Cubs.


All hail Bud Selig. Lord and master of scrotums.


I think the plural is “scrota” from Latin. “Bud Selig: Lord and Master of Scrota”


When Jim Crane bought the Astros, the league offered him a $60 million discount if he agreed to the re-alignment. Basically, the NL Central had 6 teams, the AL west had 4 teams, and all the other divisions had 5. The league wanted realignment so that all divisions were equal in size.


We need a new alignment. I propose all divisions must be in the same time zone. Why cant we trade the 3 teams on the coast for Kansas City, St Louis and the Twin Cities?


Exactly. I don’t even watch the away games with the west coast teams. It’s past my bedtime.


F yes. And get off my lawn.


Trouble is, there are six teams in Pacific Time (Padres, Angels, Dodgers, Giants, A's, Mariners) and one more in Mountain Time in a state that does not observe DST (Diamondbacks) - so in essence, there are seven teams that play two hours behind Houston. Kind of tough to make a seven team division with 30 teams in MLB. Obvious solution is to contract and disband all these franchises, so there are no teams playing two hours behind Central Time. /s And I gripe even harder than all of you now, because I moved to Eastern Time this summer. It's really fun when the Astros are playing out on the west coast and the game doesn't even start until after 10 pm for me.


BS - Bud Selig


Mostly because a sentient turd lizard named Bud Selig decided that he didn't like the league formation. It is commonly believed that it is because he wanted to fuel a rivalry between Texas and Houston and balance the AL/NL with 15 teams each, but I believe it is because he's the grinch who stole baseball.


And robbed us of an all Texas World Series.


yeah but that’d require the Rangers to make the World Series


Yea but then we can sweep them! Wouldn’t that be sweet!


This used to be my dream World Series matchup.


His will be done.


It was self interest to ensure his Brewers' were kept in the NL Central .(they were only placed into the NL central in the 90s due to his meddling anyway)


I know the new schedule will make this a less of a big deal but I hate playing in the AL. Sure the rivalry with NY and Boston has been fun but all the 9:00 road games on the west coast suck. To me growing up playing the Cubs, Cardinals, and Dodgers was more appealing than Seattle, Anaheim, and Okland


Fuck Bud Selig


I still primarily hate NL Central teams. Mostly the Cards. Then I hate the Dodgers. Hard to care about AL West doormats.




It’s what paved the way for us to dominate the yankees year after year after year


I seem to recall back when the switch was made that another stated reason was that MLB wanted to kindle an in-state rivalry between the Rangers and the Astros. I think that was a secondary motivation to Selig's shenanigans to get the Brewers into the NL, but it was probably a rationalization that they came up with to justify the move. Turns out they got their wish after Hurricane Harvey, though.


I used to hate that we played west coast teams extremely late all the time but then I moved to the west coast and it’s super legit


well it sucks for the 90% of the fan base in the central time zone


I’m aware


Albert Pujols jk they switched over to the AL with another team going to the NL but I don’t remember which team


Not sure if it’s been said, but with the team switching to the AL West from the NL Central, it evened out the divisions with five teams in each division across both leagues. I remember thinking that I didn’t like the switch as an Astros fan, but I did like it as a baseball fan for this reason.


Bc crane got a discount on the purchase.