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Astros almost to the AL

It’s happening.

Prospective Astros owner Jim Crane and his group of investors have reached an agreement with Major League Baseball that would shift the franchise to the American League, two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday.

One person familiar with the situation said the transfer of the team from Drayton McLane to Crane is on the agenda at next week’s owners meetings in Milwaukee, but negotiations over the final details likely will continue until then. The Associated Press, citing two people who spoke on condition of anonymity, also reports the sale is on the owners’ agenda and that part of the sale agreement would involve the Astros moving to the AL effective in 2013.

The AL agreement would appear to be the final hurdle for Crane to close a deal he and McLane announced May 16. The Chronicle reported Nov. 4 that the $680 million purchase appeared to be headed for approval Thursday, with the AL negotiations being one of the final sticking points. The Astros have been in the National League since 1962 and the Central Division since 1994.

Spokespersons for Crane and MLB declined comment.

“If it’s on the agenda, then the deal is done,” one person with knowledge of the situation said.

“They usually don’t get this far unless it’s something that’s going to be acted on,” another person with knowledge of the situation said.

Assuming no further delays, it ought to be made official this week. I still don’t understand why anyone wants to have an odd number of teams in each league, and I don’t understand why I haven’t seen more about how this will drastically affect scheduling. I guess we’ll know more soon.

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4 Comments

  1. Richard says:

    The Astros are going to have more games on the West Coast than I would like, but the league schedules should balance for the first time in forever. 72 games against 4 division opponents, 60 against the other 10 teams in the same league, 30 against one division from the other league.

  2. Ross says:

    I would be much happier if Milwaukee went back to the AL, but with Selig making the rules, that won’t happen. I just wish Crane had the guts to walk away and tell MLB no to the AL. It’s not like anyone else is willing to pay $680 million for the team.

    Anyone who thinks moving the Astros is a good thing isn’t a real fan.

  3. Brad says:

    The Designated Hitter in Houston full-time…ugh.

    To hell with the MLB.

  4. Mike says:

    I would be happier with this if they would get rid of the DH altogether. Or less happy, but still happier than status quo, if they made the DH universal.

    The main thing I do not like is having half of the MLB on one set of rules, and half on another set of rules. Maybe it made sense to have different rules at one point when the leagues were truly separate and only played each other in the World Series, but now there will be interleague games all the time.

    I am a NL fan, and think the DH makes baseball less interesting – not as much strategy.

    If somehow making up rules depending on the park that the game is being played on is “better” for baseball, then I vote for a 24 second pitcher’s clock to be installed at Minute Maid. If you don’t pitch or make a move to a base within that time frame, it is a ball! Brilliant!