The Silver Boot Means so Much More Now
Aug 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Houston has been force-fed the idea of a rivalry with the Rangers for years. The “Silver Boot” (a trophy awarded to the season series winner each year) was supposed to be the catalyst for that rivalry years ago when interleague play began. The Rangers and Astros, as well as other teams, were lined up with their geographical rival from the other league. This matchup meant that every year, you had to play that “rival” despite which division you were playing that year. It was forced. It was insulting to the fans who cared much more about their inner-division rivals. It laughed off as an afterthought.
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Things change, though. In 2013, the Houston Astros were forced to join the American League West. It was an extremely unpopular move that probably had more to do with baseball politics than evening out the two leagues. Whatever the reason, the move occurred, and the Astros and Rangers were actually in the same league and same division for the first time. It didn’t matter too much right away. The Astros were mired in a historic rebuild that saw them lose 106 games in 2011, 107 games in 2012, and finally 111 games in 2013, their inaugural year as an American League team. Meanwhile, the Rangers were coming off three straight playoff appearances in which they went to the World Series twice.
Next: The Astros Process