This week’s series between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros will be played in Florida, despite the Rangers’ offer to host the series with the Astros as the home team.
The Rangers offered to host the series with the Astros receiving revenue from the game minus the Rangers’ expenses, the club told WFAA. The Astros were already in North Texas after flying there rather than Houston on Sunday.
The three-game set would have been presented in a “neutral” fashion, the Rangers said.
Astros president Reid Ryan said the Rangers refused to swap home series, drawing the ire of Astros fans on Twitter.
Mark Berman with Fox 26 in Houston posted a quote from Ryan in its entirety:
“You’ve got a major storm that’s disrupted everything. We went to the Rangers and said hey let’s switch series. You guys have our home series. We’ll take your home series. They rejected that and didn’t want to do that. The Rangers wanted us to play the next 3 days at their place, but they did not want to trade series with us. They wanted all 6 of our games at their park. The fact that the Rangers refused to go home and home with us, we had to look at all of the options that were out there. We had to look at our players’ best interest and we had to look at the integrity of the schedule.”
Jeff Wilson with the Star-Telegram said the Rangers passed on the home-and-home swap to avoid a 12-day, four-city road trip at the end of the season.
As the visiting team in the series, they had the least say in the matter.
“We talked about a variety of options with Major League Baseball and the Astros directly,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. “As the visiting club, we’re kind of the third party to the final decision. The home team, ultimately, it’s their call.”
The Astros may play their series with the Mets at Tropicana Field as well, if public safety remains a concern in Houston. If that happens, the Astros will play 19 consecutive games away from their home park.
The Rangers said hosting this week’s series was in line with a precedent set two years ago.
In 2015, a series between the Orioles and Rays was scheduled to be played in Baltimore but was moved to Florida due to riots in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The Orioles played three games in St. Petersburg as the home team.
This is believed to be only the fourth time in major league history that a weather event has required the relocation of games to a neutral site. It previously happened during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 (Expos @ Marlins in Chicago), due to snow in 2007 (Angels @ Indians in Milwaukee) and during Hurricane Ike in 2008 (Cubs @ Astros in Milwaukee).