Crane: Astros won’t change name

The Astros recently changed owners, will switch to the American League next year and could have new uniforms by 2013.

One thing that won’t change is the team’s name.

In an video emailed to season-ticket holders on Monday, Astros owner Jim Crane informed fans that Houston’s baseball team will continue to be known as the Astros. Crane hinted at a press conference last week to announce new fan-friendly initiatives that team management was considering changing the name of the franchise.

The thought of a possible name change caused a ruckus with fans on internet message boards and local sports talk radio stations. The majority fans made it clear they wanted the club to continue to be called the Astros, a name the team has had since it moved to the Astrodome in 1965.

“You asked for change and we addressed our fan-friendly initiatives last week and we hope you liked them,” Crane told fans in a videotaped interview. “We will continue to listen and look for additional ways to improve on and off the field. One thing we’re not going to change is the name. We received strong feedback and consensus among season-ticket holders and many fans, and we will not be changing name, Astros. Astros are here to stay. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark soon.”

This season marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise, which began play in 1962 as the Colt .45’s.

In the last several weeks, hundreds of season-ticket holders took part in sessions with Crane and members of Astros management at Minute Maid Park to discuss ways to improve their experience while attending Astros games. The Astros also received hundreds of responses to a season-ticket holder survey and on the club’s Facebook page.

Last week, the team announced ticket prices for more than 5,000 seats at Minute Maid Park have been lowered and said more affordable beer prices were going to be offered throughout the ballpark. And for the first time since Minute Maid Park opened, fans will be permitted to bring in their own food and beverages.”

“We feel this is the right thing to do,” Crane said during last week’s press conference. “It is a way for us to let our fans know how vital they are to our success, and to let them know we’ve been listening to them.”

Crane indicated that a uniform change was something management has been exploring for a while and if they do want to make a change prior to the ’13 season, they’ll have to notify Major League Baseball sometime around the start of the ’12 season.

If there are indeed new uniforms, the name across the front will stay. The Astros will remain.

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