Nolan Ryan in favor of realignment moving Astros to AL West

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Count Nolan Ryan among those in favor of MLB’s rumored realignment to matching 15-team leagues, as the Rangers team president said yesterday that he’d love to see the Astros join the Rangers in the American League West.

Ryan noted that having another Central Time Zone team in the division would be nice from a travel and television ratings point of view and opined that “having the Astros and the Rangers in the same pennant race would really stimulate interest in baseball in the state of Texas.”

Most speculation about potential realignment plans lists the Astros among the leading candidates to switch leagues and it makes sense to have a franchise from the six-team NL Central move to the four-team AL West if the shakeup does happen.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.