Whenever I get the investigative itch, my father (a supreme genius in the field of economics) always reminds me to “find the money.” And, of course, he’s always right. The truth of any matter traditionally lies in the money-making or revenue-generating perspective.
So when I heard that new Houston Astros owner, Jim Crane, announced his evil plot to change the name of our beloved baseball team, I nearly threw a baby dolphin at a nearby cactus. The fury that swelled within me was similar to when AT&T cut my iPhone data speed by 75% (I could hear AT&T’s profit margin getting stretch marks).
Before I reveal Mr. Crane’s evil agenda, let us examine some of his other changes to the Astros’ fan experience. Jim Crane has decided to undo many of the wrongs instituted by that price-gouging Bible-beater, Drayton McLane; including slashing ticket prices. Cheers to you, Jim. Furthermore, Crane has decided to destroy the longstanding ban on fans bringing in their own water and food to the ballpark (Minute Maid Park was the only major league baseball stadium to have such a capitalistic rule— meaning that 29 other owners of major league baseball teams are less of a scumfuck than McLane). Now, you may bring in food contained in a clear plastic bag and up to one liter of water in a sealed water bottle. I specify “water bottle” because I’m confident you still cannot bring in water trapped in a sealed bottle labeled “Smirnoff.” Additionally, Crane will be serving $5 domestic beer.
To the naive (or the optimistic of the human race), these changes may seem like a godsend. And well… they are. But not for fans. Here’s why: by slashing ticket prices and food & beverage prices, Crane loses a fair amount of money. So where does he make up all this lost revenue? WHERE, I ask (*thunderously*)? He’s not Jesus, Santa Claus, Oprah or Tim Tebow. There’s just no possible way he would EVER allow that money to just… go away.
Which brings us back to Crane’s threat of changing the Astros’ team name. Now if Mr. Crane decides to follow through and actually change the team’s name then most of you will have to go out AND PURCHASE NEW HOUSTON BASEBALL MERCHANDISE. Yeah. That’s how he makes his money back because merchandise (t-shirts, hats, jerseys, etc.) makes far more money than slashed ticket prices loses. And needless to say, the Houston Astros fan base is large to quite hefty.
Personally, I’m not opposed to a change in uniforms and pricing… but a name change is a complete change in identity. What is an actual “Astro”? I assume it’s an astronaut, which is cool. Our team name is basically “People That Have Been To Space Before And You Have Not.” Is there any other team name that comes close to encapsulating a truly unique characteristic of its host city? I think not.
Right now, Astros fans are in a particular limbo since Crane said a name change if any would not occur until the 2013 season when the team switches to the American League. (I don’t do emoticons but I will type out the idiom: sad face.) So while Crane quietly takes his time to make this decision, I expect the Occupy Minute Maid Park movement to be on deck and warming up. Cheers.