Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/17/11

Astros owner Drayton McLane confirmed yesterday that the team will be moving to the American League West after the 2012 season. The move, for whatever reason, is part of the team’s sale (from McLane to Jim Crane, taking place today).

I know the Astros are awful right now, but this is a good thing for the Pirates.  The move will finally even out all the divisions in baseball — I’ve always been baffled by the fact that everyone was OK with one division having six teams while another has four. With four teams to beat instead of five, the Bucs will have a better chance in the NL Central (all other factors aside, of course). Houston is terrible right now, but they’ve started to rebuild and won’t be bad forever.

The move also will reduce travel distance for the Pirates, and means they won’t have to play in stupid Minute Maid Park anymore (aside from interleague play every few years). Finally, no more cheap homers into the Crawford Boxes, no more hill and flagpole in play, no more obnoxious train, no more fans that think every pop up is a 400 ft blast…I won’t miss Minute Maid.

15 teams in each league will also force MLB to schedule interleague games throughout the entire year, which will certainly be a little strange. Some are guessing that could mean the DH is on its way to the NL…I hope not, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Other news and notes:

  • If you haven’t voted for me (Brian McElhinny) here yet and told all your friends, your friends’ friends, etc etc…go do it now!
  • The Bucs will need to choose which prospects they’ll be protecting from the Rule 5 draft by Friday. Here’s a very nice rundown of the likely choices. Starling Marte, Justin Wilson, and Rudy Owens are the no-brainers. There are 5 open spots on the 40-man at the moment.
  • Start times for all the Pirates’ home games this year have been posted. The Bucs play a few times at 4:05 on Saturdays to avoid being blacked out by FOX, and also play twice at 7:15 –games that FOX is planning to televise. The opponents for those games? The Cubs and Royals (May 29 and June 6). Huh?
  • Clint Hurdle got two 3rd place manager of the year votes, putting him in a tie for 6th in the NL. Arizona’s Kirk Gibson won, unsurprisingly.
  • The full 2012 promotional schedule is now up on Pirates.com.

140 days until Opening Day.

©2011 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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