Houston Astrodome preservationists debut the worst song in the history of music

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Just my opinion on the music part, but we’ll get to that in a second.

In the meantime: we’ve written a bit over the years about the fate of the Astrodome. It hasn’t been used since it housed Katrina refugees in 2005. It’s rusting and obsolete and requires over $200 million to renovate the place back into usability. It’ll cost way less to simply wreck the place, though even the price tag for demolition is high.  In short: there are no great options for a stadium that was once cool and state of the art but is now a giant mess.

My personal view: It’s a building that we will be sad, for nostalgic reasons, to see go, but which is not architecturally significant enough to save for its own sake and whose renovation represents a public cost far too great to justify.  Nostalgia alone is no good reason to spend a quarter of a billion tax dollars.

Enter a November 5th referendum in which voters will decide whether to authorize over $200 million in bonds to turn the stadium into a convention center and exhibition space. Like I said, I’m skeptical of such things, but at least democracy will sort it out.  Unfortunately, democratic ends often require a public campaign. And the public campaign to save the Astrodome has this working for it. And please: to fully appreciate it, watch it all in all of its hathos and glory:

Bruce Springsteen is turning over in his grave. And yes, he is dead. He heard this yesterday and immediately walked in front of a bus to stop the pain. True story.

Report: Mike Trout as recognizable to Americans as NBA’s Kenneth Faried

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On Monday, the Washington Post cited Q Scores, a firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, with regard to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. According to Q Scores, Trout is as recognized to Americans as NBA forward Kenneth Faried, who has spent seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets and is now a reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. Trout’s score was 22, which means just over one in five Americans know who he is.

We have talked here at various times about Trout’s lack of marketability. He has expressed zero interest in being marketed as the face of baseball. Additionally, based on the nature of the sport, it’s harder for baseball to aggressively market its stars since star players don’t impact teams the same way they do in other sports. LeBron James, for example, carries whatever team he’s on to the NBA Finals. James has appeared in the NBA Finals every year dating back to 2011. Trout, despite being far and away the best active player in baseball and one of the best players of all time, has only reached the postseason once, in 2014 when his Angels were swept in the ALDS by the Royals. Trout can’t carry his team to the playoffs and his team hasn’t helped him any in getting there on a regular basis.

Baseball is also more of a regional sport. Fans follow their local team, of course, and don’t really venture beyond that even though games are broadcast nationally throughout the week. The NFL schedule is much shorter and occurs once a week, so fans put aside time to watch not just their favorite team’s game, but other games of interest as well. A June game between the subpar White Sox and Tigers doesn’t have much appeal to it since it’s one of 162 games for both teams, and both teams will play again later in the season. Comparatively, a game between the Bears and Lions has more intrigue since they only play twice a year.

It’s kind of a shame for baseball that Trout isn’t bigger than he is because he is a once-in-a-generation talent, like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Trout is so good that he’s still underrated. He’s on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time, going by Wins Above Replacement. Despite that, he’s anything but a lock to win the MVP Award at season’s end because the narratives around other players, like Mookie Betts, are more compelling.

Trout’s marketability is an issue that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. Trout is who he is and forcing him to ham it up for the cameras would come off as forced and unnatural. Major League Baseball will simply have to hope its other stars, like Betts and Bryce Harper, can help broaden the appeal of the sport.