HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros will play their series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, this week, the biggest change yet forced by Hurricane Harvey and widespread flooding that spread more misery across Texas on Monday.
Both the Astros and Rangers flew to Dallas after games in California on Sunday to await news of where the series would be held. After an off day Monday, they will now head to St. Petersburg, where the Astros will have "home" games far away from home, just like they did in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008 when they played two scheduled home games in Milwaukee. The three-game set begins Tuesday.
The team also said a three-game series against the New York Mets that begins on Friday may also be played at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that the decision has already been made and shared with the players, though there was no word from the team or Major League Baseball. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move was not disclosed.
If the Astros play both series in Florida, they will end up playing 19 straight games away from Houston, where the AL Central leaders last played on Aug. 24. A 10-game road trip begins after the Mets series.
"The safety of our fans, players and staff remain our main priority," Astros President Reid Ryan said. "We are extremely grateful to the Tampa Bay Rays organization for allowing us to use their facility."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team was open to hosting the series in Arlington this week, but had no interest in swapping a series against the Astros later in the season to accommodate the change. He said the Rangers declined partially because of thoughts for the fans, but also because that change would have left the Rangers with a 12-game road trip late in the season.
"Just the competitive challenge of having our guys' last road trip of the year, (a) four-city trip was not something that we wanted to do," he said. "We were prepared, we offered to host the series, but the decision was made to go to Tampa instead."