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November 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm ET
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“Astros and Expos, Fellas!”

Kind of an interesting piece in the New York Times today about the Astros’ 2013 ad campaign. Apparently what the team needed was more Texas.

Even though the Astros were there first, the Rangers have totally out-Texas’ed the Astros. Everything about the Rangers looks like a Texas theme park. The Astros, after years of retro-space-age imagery, are claiming their Texas roots with their new ads.

Hoping to exercise the demons of the past few seasons as they join the American League next year, the Astros are losing their Roy Rogers-looking red uniforms and returning to the Jose Cruz-era blue and orange; the big H plopped on top of the star, rather than the weird, stylized star thingie they’ve donned for the last 15 years or so.

Houston’s got to be the toughest sell in baseball. Minute-Maid Park, nee Enron Field, is even darker, quieter and more remote than the Astrodome. The pennant of 2005 seems like 1905. Houston (or as Kinky Friedman pronounces it, “Eeew’tn”) is 50 years old and they still feel like an expansion team. They’re the same age as the Mets, but seem like the nouveau foreigners.

When I was 19, I had a construction job for about three months. When the foreman walked onto the job site, he’d yell “Assholes and elbows, fellas! That’s all I wanna see! Assholes and elbows!” After that, every time the Astros played the Expos, I couldn’t stop yelling “Astros and Expos, fellas! Astros and Expos!”

And what about “Astros?” They were named for a ballpark that’s not even there anymore. The new owner reportedly gave some thought to changing the team name so that it no longer reflected a bygone behemoth and a shuttered space program.

But they’re sticking with Astros. “The star is big and bright and back for good.” Well, OK then. If you say so. Too bad about the Expos, though.

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