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Astros owner Jim Crane mulling name, uniform changes

New owner said team will conduct study to make decision for 2013 season about a new name and uniform for the American League-bound Astros, the MLB affiliate of the RedHawks.
By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer Published: January 23, 2012

HOUSTON — New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is considering changing the name of the franchise as well as its uniforms.

Crane said Monday the team will conduct a study to decide whether or not to switch the name.

“We're going to study the information both from the fans and from all sorts of marketing people,” Crane said. “I'm not saying we're going to change. We haven't made the decision yet whether we're going to change.”

The team was established in 1962 as the Colt .45s and has been called the Astros since 1965 when it was changed to coincide with the move to the Astrodome.

Crane said switching uniforms is something they are “highly considering.” Any changes wouldn't happen until 2013 when Houston makes the move from the National League to the American League.

“We had the Colt .45s and everybody liked that one,” Crane said. “So you can imagine how upset they were when we switched that. What you get when you look at the fan base is the older we get and I'm old, you don't like to change. But the younger fans are very receptive to change and the older ones aren't, so that's what we saw with the American League.”

Crane and his staff met with many fans before deciding on these initiatives. He has been looking into ways to improve the team, which finished a franchise-worst 56-106 last season, and the fan experience since the sale from Drayton McLane was completed in late November.

“We felt that with the new ownership and the way the team performed in the last couple of years that we needed to step forward and try to get the interest back with the fans,” he said.

“We're making some very positive moves to put a better product on the field, and we wanted to get people in the ballpark to experience that.”

The Astros name is a nod to Houston's role in the space program as the site of NASA's Mission Control. Aerospace is a major industry in the metropolitan area, but now that the space shuttle program has ended, the city may be less likely to base its identity on the space program.

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