Houston Astros: Why New Owner Jim Crane Might as Well Change Team's Name

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IJuly 14, 2012

HOUSTON,TX- JULY 07: Jordan Schafer #1 of the Houston Astros holds up after thinking about a park home run in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 7, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

According to the Associated Press (via ESPN), this past winter, new Astros owner Jim Crane mulled a name change for the franchise for the 2013 season. Fans were appalled, and Crane backed off and opted to keep the Astros moniker for when the team shifts from the National to the American League.

But seeing how the Astros have operated over the last bunch of seasons, a name change might be in order.

The team will have an entirely new identity when it becomes an American League West team and has all new rivals. Why not mark the occasion of the big shift with a name change—one that embraces the team's Old West past?

Besides, they are moving from the Central to the West without changing location.

Remember, the Astros franchise was originally called the Colt .45s, tipping a stetson to the lawless cowboy days of Texas. Only after legal threats from the malt liquor company and the arrival of the space program did the team become the Astros.

For years, the Astros had the unique identity of the team of tomorrow. The team did not worry about nostalgia. They blazed a new trail.

They played in a futuristic stadium, the Astrodome, that looked like a UFO. They had synthetic grass and wore uniforms that were straight out of a science fiction film.

And they employed a distinct National League-type of play. They used great pitching, defense and gap-to-gap power mixed with speed. They had dominating pitchers like Ken Forsch, Nolan Ryan, J. R. Richard and Mike Scott.

But all of that changed when they moved into the park formerly known as Enron. They turned their back on their own identity and stole from other teams. Pinstripes, cursive writing and an old-time brick park took the place of bright orange stripes and the Dome.

That is not to say that the new look and feel of the team is bad. The Astros finally won a pennant wearing the traditional-looking uniforms. But they are no longer the Astros. That wonderful and distinct identity is long gone.

If they are going to move to the American League, have the makeover be complete.

Maybe the Colt .45s.