The Astros are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, so they plan to honor their past by wearing a different throwback uniform at every Friday home game. The first “Flashback Friday” will feature the Colt .45s, which was the name of the franchise for the first three years of its existence.
Sweet. Those were some pretty awesome uniforms. The only problem is, MLB nixed including the gun in the logo.
According to Paul Lukas of the Uni Watch blog, Astros fan James Crabtree wrote a letter to commissioner Bud Selig about the issue and this is the response he got from Mike Acosta, the Astros’ authentication manager:
“During our discussion with Major League Baseball, it was expressed to us that we could wear the uniform as long as the pistol was removed. We realize this changes the original design, but we still want to honor the Colt .45s. We are also under an obligation to follow Major League Baseball’s requests.”
Oof. The weird thing about this is that when the Astros originally announced plans for “Flashback Friday” last September, they had the old Colt .45s uni featured front and center. Apparently something changed over the past few months.
There was some discussion about whether the Colt .45s was appropriate back when new Astros owner Jim Crane mentioned that they had considered changing the team’s name. The world is a very different place now than it was when the franchise debuted in 1962, so obviously the same name and logo wouldn’t work today, but completely altering the design for one game is a bit overboard.
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?