Who says Astros-Rangers can’t be a great rivalry? If they’re taking shots at one another already, it has a chance.

One of the things that made word of the Astros’ 2013 move to the American League so exciting is that they’d finally have an honest-to-goodness, day-in-and-day-out rival. The Astros have never really had that. They’ve had some great moments with the Cardinals, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, etc., but those rivalries would come and go depending on how important the games were. Let’s face it, as much as the Astros cared about the Cardinals, they were never going to replace the Cubs as the No. 1 rival in the hearts and minds of St. Louis fans.

That’s what the Rangers offered. The Astros are in a rebuilding mode, but it’s not a stretch of the imagination to look a couple of years down the road and see the two teams playing huge September games with a playoff berth on the line. Even better, because the two ballparks are a mere 250 miles apart, because they’re in the same state, because Houston and Dallas have always had an intense civic rivalry, the Rangers and Astros could become one of the real good ones.

They’ve been playing a home-and-home inter league games the last 11 years, but those never really created a stir because the two teams haven’t been good at the same time. The Rangers won the Silver Boot in eight of the 11 years and have won 14 of the last 18 games.

On an unrelated matter, I have certain information about what happened when the Silver Boot was shipped from the Astros to the Rangers. It showed up broken and had to be replaced. If you believe that the damage was done by the shipping company, well, friend, I’ve got some beach-front property in Topeka I’d like to see you.

Anyway, I thought of the Astros-Rangers rivalry the other day when new Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the Rangers spent like “drunken sailors” in the international market. He quickly apologized, saying he’d used a poor choice of words. I wish he hadn’t. I wish he’d crossed his arms, tapped his foot and said, “What do you think of that, Nolan Ryan?”

Since apologies don’t really count in things like this, maybe Luhnow will add a little hot sauce to a rivalry that would use some. Even if the players don’t think the series is a big deal, the front offices might. As for getting an entire state to buy in, that may take some time.

But that day is coming. One of these days soon, the Rangers and Astros are going to be playing huge September games, and they’re going to have an entire state talking baseball. And that’s a good thing.

7 Comments

You know, even with the prospect back to back 100 loss seasons for the Astros and back to back World Series appearances for the Strangers, there’s still only one Texas MLB team. And it ain’t the Washington Senators.

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Here’s the only reason this rivalry won’t be a rivalry from a fan’s (me) perspective.

We here in the greatest city in Texas still love, if not worship Nolan Ryan, one of the top two or three greatest Texans of all time.

Even Jim Crane would likely kneel before the Archbishop of Alvin. Uh, just trying to make a point, Cardinal Di Nardo, that ‘s all. Please, no lightning bolts.

And, even you will admit you can’t have a rivalry until both teams can compete against one another.

That will take awhile, my brother.

Maybe a long while.

Richard, you tried to sell this lame “rivalry” in the Chronicle for months and you know that 98% of Astros fans disagree with you. We called you out constantly and you ignored us. Why can’t you get it through your head that you’re all alone on this one?

Justice, you lied all last summer to the fans of the Astros, telling us a move to the other league was not on the table. You lost any journalistic credibility you had with what did go down, of which you were well aware, and the way you secured your new “job” right after the move was announced. You would have fit right in with the Watergate conspirators.

Bottom line: Houston doesn’t care about a “rivalry” with the Rangers. Only you and that traitor Ryan do. You won’t be able to whip up an imaginary one with the column you now have. But you will dig your hole deeper and deeper each time you write about it.

You sir, are one of three people in the world who think that a rivalry between the Astros and Rangers exists.

Richard, a REAL journalist would have proof read his article and corrected the mistakes before he mailed it in!

And I am really glad you aren’t in Houston any longer. You are one of the worst, if not THE worst, sportswriters I have ever seen.

RJ if this move is such a great thing for baseball why are you the only one from Houston hailing it? Why do the majority of Astros fans hate the move and Selig force forcing it on us? Why are the majority of comments on the various news sources negative on the move, the commish, and especially on Jim Crane? Of course we see where you ended up, after a summer of lying and mocking, so I guess you can sit back, look around, and see what treachery and selling out can get you.

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