In the face of a deadly weather event, the Texas Rangers have apparently chosen to focus on their playoff odds.
The Rangers were set to face the Houston Astros beginning Tuesday in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, but with that city experiencing historic flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey, the Astros asked their in-state rival if they could trade — play this week’s series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, near Dallas, and then play their September series in Houston.
The Rangers said no. And so the games will be played before a sparse crowd at Tropicana Field, the Rays’ stadium, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Texas, on the periphery of the AL wild-card race at 64-66, three games behind the second-seeded Minnesota Twins, did not want to harm their playoff chances. They’re scheduled for a nine-game road trip before closing the season with a six-game homestand. If the team had switched this week’s series with the Astros, the Rangers would be increasing that road trip to 12 games.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers did not agree with the Rangers’ thinking, suggesting on Twitter that the club should be ashamed of itself:
— Lance McCullers Jr. (@LMcCullers43) August 28, 2017
Even Rangers general manager Jon Daniels admitted he “cringes” at the reasoning behind the organization’s decision.
“There would have been a number of challenges,” Daniels told reporters Monday. “And I say ‘challenges’ while cringing because the challenges pale compared to what people are going through down there.”
The Rangers’ offer to help was more an offer to help their own chances. They proposed playing this week’s series in Arlington with the Astros as the alleged home team — letting the Astros keep the profits from that series. And the Rangers will be donating three days of their Texas Two Step 50/50 raffle, during their series with the Angels, to relief efforts.
“We were prepared to make the event all about hurricane relief and helping our neighbors,” Daniels told the Star Telegram. “It had nothing to do with looking for a competitive advantage. That’s an inaccurate portrayal. … We didn’t feel it was right to give our fans 24 hours’ notice that their tickets in late September were now good this week.”
It’s unclear how long the Astros will be displaced.
This report previously appeared at NYPost.com.