With Houston under water in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the Houston Astros scheduled to return home for a six-game homestand that begins Tuesday, Major League Baseball has found a home for the Astros: Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay
This week, the first-place Astros would have been hosting the Texas Rangers for three games and the New York Mets for another three under normal conditions, but the flooding in Houston is anything but normal, and the hurricane could bring even more rain before things get better.
So MLB elected to move the Astros-Rangers series to a neutral site. The Rays are on a roadtrip that will have them gone until Sept. 4, enough time for the Astros to play up to six games inside the Tampa Bay dome. For now, MLB has just announced that the Astros-Rangers series is being moved to Tampa Bay, but the next three games against the Mets could move too, if Houston is still engulfed.
MLB and the MLB Players Association also announced a $1 million donation to relief efforts. Here’s the full announcement from MLB:
Major League Baseball announced today that the upcoming Houston Astros’ home series vs. the Texas Rangers has been relocated to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Astros will be considered the home team and will bat last. The games will have first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday and 1:10 p.m. (ET) on Thursday. No determination has been made regarding the Astros’ scheduled weekend series in Houston vs. the New York Mets.
MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced today that the parties will jointly donate $1 million to various relief efforts for the damage throughout the state of Texas created by Hurricane Harvey, including to the American Red Cross.
In the bigger-picture, figuring out where to play a few baseball games isn’t the top priority, but it’s still something the Astros and the league needed to figure out. After finishing a series in Anaheim, the Astros were routed to Dallas, where they awaited word of where their next games would be played.
Another scenario that was speculated about involved the Rangers hosting the series against the Astros, then the Astros playing against the Mets in New York City. Going to Tampa Bay at least allows the Astros to set up a stable base should they need to stay there for the week.
If the Astros don’t return to Houston this week, it will be a much-longer-than-expected road trip. Their quick three-game jaunt to Anaheim, but their schedule has them on the road from Sept. 4-14, so if they don’t get home before the end of this week, they’re potentially looking at a 19-game road trip spanning 21 days.
This could have been more troublesome on the baseball front if not for the Astros’ early-season success. They’re 79-51 with a 13.5 lead in the AL West, so that seems pretty safe. The bigger question, coincidentally, is whether playing all those road games could affect Houston’s grip on home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They currently have a 5.5 game lead over the Cleveland Indians for the best record in the AL.
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