When the Houston Astros switch to the American League in 2013, they also might undergo a makeover that includes new uniforms (whatever) and a new name (gasp!). The franchise has a history of fiddling with both.
New owner Jim Crane, at a Monday event to announce several fan-inspired initiatives, said the team was "highly considering" altering its uniforms — which hopefully means a return to the polarizing rainbow jerseys once favored by presidential candidate Ron Paul. Hey, if they were good enough for him and J.R. Richard...
Crane seemed less certain that the Astros would be renamed, but he definitely was floating a trial balloon when reminiscing about the Colt .45s, the name of the franchise from its inaugural season in 1962 until 1965. The likes of Rusty Staub, Joe Morgan and Jim Wynn played for the franchise when it was called the Colts, so there's some history there. And the space program isn't what it once was so...
As quoted by the Associated Press:
"We had the Colt .45s and everybody liked that one," Crane said. "So you can imagine how upset they were when we switched that. What you get when you look at the fan base is the older we get and I'm old, you don't like to change. But the younger fans are very receptive to change and the older ones aren't, so that's what we saw with the American League."
I'm not sure how true any of what Crane said is, but if they're going to rename the franchise of Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Nolan Ryan and Jose Cruz, they won't do it without a few of our suggestions.
Here are 10 possible new names for the Houston Astros:
1. Bush: Before you say "Not gonna do it," hear me out. The team's most visible season ticket holders are former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush. They appear at a freakish number of games and seem to actually love baseball. George I played ball at Yale, just like Lou Gehrig did at Columbia. Well, not JUST like him. The logo could be Bar's hairdo. Or a thousand points of light.
2. Oilers: Probably the most popular pro franchise in the history of the city, thanks to coach Bum "O.A." Phillips and halfback Earl Campbell back in the 1970s, the Houston Oilers were one of the better NFL franchises to never "break down the door" and win a championship. Reflective of the baseball team, no? And if you want to be nostalgic for a bygone nickname, don't pick the clunky "Colt .45s." All the kids today know of Colt .45 is that it's a malt liquor. Will they make the new mascot a dude drinking out of a paper bag? Plus, the Oilers powder blue uniforms kicked butt. Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers, number one.
3. Strohs: If Colt .45s is in play, so is this. We call them the " 'Stros" anyway, so why not go the whole nine yards (or 12 ounces) and rename them after Strohs Beer, which still sort of exists.
4. Killer Bees: Berkman, Bell, Bagwell, Biggio ... Bruntlett. Combine the most noticeable trait of the franchise — that a plurality of its best players had last names that started with the letter "B" — and what graphically would make for a great logo. Possible downside: Association with "The Swarm," the Michael Caine disaster flick about killer bees that invade Houston and lead to its nuclear annihilation. Note that the Astrodome appears on the film's poster. So maybe it's not a bad association, after all!
5. Juicers: The stadium already is nicknamed "The Juice Box." You could at least double the stadium naming rights fee that Minute Maid pays. No? Probably not what Bagwell needs right now anyhow.
6. Craw Fish: Mmm, craw fish. What about exploiting the best-known part of the stadium — the left-field home run porch — and revamping the entire franchise around it? As with "Bees," it could be a big winner graphically.
7. Enron: The bad: Reminiscent of some scandal no one remembers anymore: The good: Sounds kind of like the Spanish word for home run — "jonron." Carlos Lee would dig it. It's also in keeping with franchise nostalgia. Did you know that Minute Maid Park, originally called Enron Field, was built in part by Halliburton? What a corporate legacy!
8. Cranes: It might seem conceited for Jim Crane to rename the Astros after himself, but birds make for great logos. Or they could use a silhouette of Daniel LaRusso doing the Miyagi crane from "Karate Kid." He won the All-Valley Tournament because of the crane kick.
9. LBJs: It seems the entire space program is on the verge of being marginalized, so this seems like a long shot. Really what I want is a Lyndon Johnson caricature to run around the park in a race with other Texas legends, like Jack Ruby. Bonus: Johnson's middle name was Baines, and there's nothing more baseball-y than Harold Baines.
10. Express: Make it awkward for Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan by co-opting his nickname. The ballpark already has a train in it. Just say it's because of that, if any lawyers ask.
Also receiving votes: Houston We Have A Problem; Planet Houston; Houston 500; Houston Whitney; Houston Bad News Bears in Breaking Training.
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