During the final nine days of 2013, I’m going to revisit nine memorable baseball moments from the year. Some stand out for personal reasons, but I’m starting off with a game that is historically significant.
On Easter Sunday, the Houston Astros defeated the Texas Rangers 8-2 to open the 2013 Major League Baseball Season.
I remember a lot of baseball fans wondering why the Astros and Rangers would be picked for the first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year, but it was the first game the Astros played in the American League after spending their first 50 games in the National League.
I was excited to watch a real baseball game with 25-man rosters and no player with a uniform number higher than #64 — even if it was played using the DH rule. But I also wanted to see the New York Mets’ expansion partners make history.
Funny thing: I don’t recall many details of the game. My scorecard notes remind me that Bud Norris threw the first pitch of the season for a strike, that Jose Altuve was the first Astro to get a hit as an American League player, and that Rick Ankiel – who would later become a Met – hit the first Astro American League home run.
Everyone knew the Astros were going to be terrible – and they were, though they were not historically bad — a 51-111 finish did not even put them within striking distance of the 1962 New York Mets’ modern record for futility. But for one night, they had the best record in baseball.
Despite its milestone status, it never really sunk in the the Astros are now part of the “other” league. Blame interleague play and about 25 years of thinking of the Astros as a National League team for that, I guess.
I probably need to see the Astros play the Mets or another National League team and use the designated hitter rule before it really hits me.
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