I’m going to give a short answer for those who are pressed for time: No. No, they should not be playing in Houston this weekend. It’s a bad idea and it makes the people in charge of the game and also in Houston look extremely short-sighted. It will likely leave a bad taste in the mouths of everyone who is involved.
There. You can also get the gist of my feelings from the above photo.
They are going to play though. This isn’t the worst decision in sports – that honor befalls those who thought that playing football so soon after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a good idea. That will forever be the hallmark of poor judgment, though there may be a team that presses to play during a hurricane. “Can you imagine how far the balls will fly? C’mon… just run into the clubhouse if you’re not playing or have an at-bat.” Don’t scoff… it wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen. I mean, we live in a world where the powers-that-be in soccer awarded a World Cup to Qatar, a place where the temperatures are equal to the surface of Mercury sometimes.
The decision to play in Houston instead of a neutral site like Tampa Bay so soon after the massive flooding caused by the relentless Hurricane Harvey is one that made me scratch my head as soon as I heard about it. How could the people in charge of the Houston Astros organization survey all of this – people displaced from their homes, some of them depending on the incredible kindness of strangers like “Mattress Mack”, a furniture store owner who turned his entire store into a makeshift shelter – and think that they would want to trek to a ballpark so soon after this?
What makes this all feel so stupid is that the Mets have to travel to Houston and stay in a hotel – one that people who could use shelter from the storm will be denied. It feels like the Mets could have pushed harder for other options. Then again, perhaps they saw the argument between the Astros and the Rangers about their playing situation and decided that they wanted no truck with that and went along with it.
I’m not saying that they should have stopped completely. There were options on the table. This was not a complete nationwide tragedy, like Kennedy’s assassination or 9/11, but there had to be some compartmentalization going on. This was the worst decision out of all of them.
I hope that this turns out to bite the Astros in their rear. I hope that there are a lot of empty seats at these games. It would underscore how difficult getting around in Houston still is and that a baseball game is the last thing on a lot of these people’s minds. There are some players on the Mets who think that this is a ridiculous idea. They are right. Still, they are employees and they need to go to where they are told – though they do hold a lot more power than many other employees of other companies. Well, they would if the Mets hadn’t shipped off a lot of their veteran leadership earlier when they realized that they had no shot at contention.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all turns out. If there is a good turnout, then it might encourage other teams to do such things in the face of disaster. I’m hoping the opposite happens, that there’s such a poor turnout that it will make other team owners and other sports owners reconsider even thinking of doing such a thing.
The Deafinitive View: This Mets-Astros series should not be played in Houston. Period.