Zach Levine's article today explains that the Astros are starting to look around for another Triple-A franchise, once Nolan Ryan aligns his teams.
“All I can say is that we'll do what we do any time our contract's up. We evaluate the situation and what's best for our club and our fans. We've had great relationships with everyone working with (the Astros) and everyone who worked with them in the past.”
We'd love to be with them forever because of (the proximity to Houston). We're prepared to look at other alternatives in the event that we don't continue that relationship.”
Oklahoma City has often been named as the likeliest alternative, but one thing is for sure: it ain't going to be in Sugar Land.
There's an interesting report from the Chronicle saying that the city/suburb/village of Sugar Land has entered an exclusive 90-day negotiating window to bring a team in time for Opening Day 2012, playing in a stadium that would be of Triple-A size.
But there's a hitch. The Astros don't want anything to do with it. Sugar Land mayor James Thompson:
“They informed me that they did not want to be a part of it."
And since it's so close to Minute Maid Park, the Astros can also block other teams from putting an affiliate there. Opening Day Partners chairman Peter Kirk says the likeliest affiliation will be in the Atlantic League or the American Association. Both have their benefits, but Kirk says there's only one goal:
“We want to develop baseball fans. We want people to go see the Sugar Land team and then go see the Astros and vice versa.”
What Drayton and Pam Gardner don't want is a cheaper option for your baseball viewing pleasure.