added 9/25/2003 by Todd Brody
“Astros encourage fans to ‘see red.’” Have you seen this? Go to the Astros official website. It’s part of a new promotion. They want everyone to wear Astros clothing (hats, t-shirts, preferably jerseys – the most expensive) or to simply wear “red clothing” to games. And they are going to give away a prize to randomly selected people at the games who are wearing Astros stuff or “red clothing.” Cool idea, right? Does anyone else see the problem here? Yeah, I thought you would.
Besides the fact that the Astros color is not red – it’s “brick” (or at least that’s what they told us when the team chose this color for its uniform), there happens to be another team in our division whose fans wear red. That team would be the Cardinals, the Astros chief rival in the division, the team that also goes by the nickname the “REDbirds.” If you have been to a Cardinals home game or watched one on TV, you know what I’m talking about. The entire stadium is wearing red. And presumably red has been the Cardinals’ color since the team became the Cardinals back in 1900. Prior to that time, they were the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. They probably wore brown during that period of time.
Look, I have no problem with the Astros trying to get their fans to wear Astros “stuff” at games. Every time I’ve been to Minute Maid Park, I’m actually amazed at the lack of fans who wear Astros hats or shirts. It seems to me that most men are wearing button down shirts or “polo shirts” and look like their just enjoying an evening out that happens to be at a baseball game instead of going to an Astros game in order to root the team on. I’ve been to games at MMP against the Cubs and the Braves when it felt like there were more people wearing those teams’ colors than Astros’ colors.
Nor do I have any problem with the team picking a color. It's certainly more economical for people to be able to wear that color than to have to buy an Astros shirt. But red simply is not the Astros color. And you can’t have two teams in a division with the same color. Can you imagine what would happen if the Bloods and the Crips wore the same color? Pandemonium.
The Astros have an identity problem. And the root of this problem is with ownership and not the fans. Fans in Houston don’t associate the team with a color anymore because the team keeps changing colors. The Astros' original colors were orange and blue. And we had a cool shooting star. Then we had a rainbow of colors because it was the 70s. Then the team changed their colors to blue and gold. I have a blue jersey. I even have the Sunday blue cap with the gold brim. And then they changed their colors once again to mud and brick. How can you keep it straight?
We all know that teams change uniforms because they want to sell more stuff. Everyone has a blue jersey? Great. Now the jersey is brick. Not red. Brick. Hey, let’s put out a special jersey and hat just for Saturday night games in the month of August. People will buy that stuff up. And have you been to the “Shed” recently? You can buy Astros clothing in every color. My daughter has a pink Astros cheerleading outfit. My wife thought it was cute. You can’t have it both ways. Either the team has a color or it doesn’t. If it has a color, sell that color.
The Astros now are a team without much in the way of "official" tradition. We are playing in a relatively new stadium that was initially named after a railroad station that no one knew existed, that was changed to the name of a company that no one wants to be associated with, and that was changed to the name of an orange juice company – and not even the best orange juice company. That field is in Tampa Bay. We have pinstripe uniforms to make us look like the Yankees (fat chance of that happening) and uniforms with colors out of a J. Crew catalog – mud and brick my butt. They're probably going to tear down the Astrodome. The contents of the Astros museum have already been sold on Ebay. We can’t even get J.R. Richard’s number retired. Sometimes it seems like the Astros have no interest in the team’s history prior to Craig Biggio joining the team.
If the Astros want us to wear a color, bring back orange. That’s the Astros’ color as far as I'm concerned. You don’t have to bring back the “rainbow guts” uniform. Make it tasteful. But bring back orange. I’m sure that Minute Maid would eat it up. Hell, they’d probably pay Drayton to do it. And bring back blue. And while you’re at it, bring back Chester Charge. Contrary to common belief, people in Houston have memories. If you want the team to have a character don’t keep changing that team’s character. If you want people to associate the team with a color, don’t keep changing the team’s color.
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