Astros-Rangers series officially moved to Florida

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Major League Baseball just announced that the Astros’ home series vs. the Texas Rangers has been relocated to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida due to the widespread devastation in Houston from Hurricane Harvey. 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.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the reason the series was not relocated to Arlington, Texas, where both teams are currently located due to flight diversions, is because it would create logistical problems. Specifically, swapping the series with the one scheduled for Texas in late September would result in the Rangers playing four straight series on the road.

No determination has been made regarding the Astros’ scheduled weekend series in Houston vs. the New York Mets. It could be in Florida again or moved to Citi Field in New York. It’s possible that Houston could be ready for the game by this weekend, but baseball officials are doubtful.

11:27 AM: As we mentioned last night, the Astros are scheduled to begin a homestand in Houston on Tuesday evening. Given the historic flooding brought on by Hurricane/Tropical storm Harvey, however, it seems highly unlikely that baseball will be feasible in Houston for several days at least. Sports are obviously of little importance compared to the humanitarian efforts, but a decision does have to be made about it all.

Ken Rosenthal is hearing that at least one possibility involves moving the Rangers-Astros series set for this week to be moved to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, as the Rays are on the road. Then, this weekend’s series against the Mets, also scheduled for Houston, could be moved to Citi Field in New York.

That’s obviously not ideal, as it would keep the Astros on the road for what would, in effect, be a 19-game road trip, as their next regularly-scheduled homestand after this week and this weekend is not scheduled to begin until Friday, September 15. One wonders if it wouldn’t be possible for the Astros to simply move their series against the Rangers to the Rangers’ home park in Arlington — both clubs are currently in Dallas awaiting word on were to go — and then swap out the Rangers-Astros series scheduled for Arlington in late September to Houston, which will be in better shape by then. That would give the Astros and Major League Baseball another few days to figure out about this coming weekend as well.

Obviously, of course, there are a lot of logistical issues that go into any of these decisions, but hopefully there will be some clarity as soon as possible.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.