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The Intangibles: Houston Astros 
Posted on December 29, 2011 at 06:39 PM.
So, I'm starting a new blog series. I love MLB the Show... so much so that I'm trying to think of ways to have fun while keeping the game fresh. Every year, people ask what team they should start out with in franchise, and a lot of it (besides being a contender/ cellar dweller or having money) has to do with how the team and its stadium looks. In this series, I will grade the "intangibles," or the little things that make a team fun to play with, or a nightmare to get through a season.

I grade my selections on these criteria...
  • Stadium Playability- This has to do with how well the stadium plays in the game
  • Stadium Aesthetics- Basically, how pretty the stadium is.
  • Team Logo- Is it unique or is it just another run of the mill baseball with circular text?
  • Uniforms- Are they classic, are they eye-poping, or do they induce depression?
  • Overall- Not an average, but a sumation of the experience that I have with the team.
I will play with thirty teams in their stadiums, and I hope to have this done by the next baseball season. Today we start with a random team, and that team is the Houston Astros. Founded along with the Mets as the first expansion teams in the National League, they were originally the Colt .45s playing at Colt Stadium. Today, they exist as the Astros playing in Minute Maid Park. In this game, I will play as the Astros against the San Francisco Giants with rosters as current as possible.

The uniforms for the Astros are quite colorful to say the least. The team has two home uniforms, both with and without pinstripes, along with its traditional greys and an orange road jersey. The caps come in both black and orange, and the entire set will not leave the user wanting. In addition to this, the Astros also have their old "rainbow gut" jerseys from the 80's along with their Colt .45s set. Overall, it's a great set to mix and match along with great sets from the past.

The logo is a modernization of their old late 90's shooting star, and works well with the astronaut motif. However, what doesn't work is the brick red and black color scheme. It would be great if they could switch back to the navy and gold days. However, this scheme would go great with the rest of the ballpark if they were called the Engineers.

Minute Maid Park itself is quite a neat stadium. I've been to five MLB ballparks (three of which are still in use), and this stadium is impressive in person and in game. Inside the stadium, everything flows together and forms nicely into each and every section. The roof is enormous, but in the game it doesn't really effect anything (I know, I wish we had retractable roofs in the game). The tracks for the train flow well with the track for the roof, and the train coming out after home runs is a nice touch. Tal's Hill, the flagpole in play in center, and the old fashioned scoreboard in left are great throwbacks to the past and really come into play. The only aesthetic problem that I have is that the batter's eye is disjointed with the odd grass section on the right side. Otherwise, this is one fun ballpark to look at.

Playability wise, this ballpark is a mixed bag. The large center field section can produce a lot of triples (and in this game, an inside the park home run), but the short fences in left and right tend to give up a few cheep home runs. The foul territory is quite small and there aren't many outs that result from balls going backwards into the stands. With all this said however, there are no major problems with how the stadium plays, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

Grading the whole thing...
  • Stadium Playability- (B-)
  • Stadium Aesthetics- (A)
  • Team Logo- (C+)
  • Uniforms- (A-)
  • Overall- (A-)
The Astros are a fun team to play with, and their stadium is really neat in game and in person. If you are looking to rebuild a team while looking stylish, the Astros just might be the team for you.

As for the game:
San Francisco Giants 4
Houston Astros 5

(There will be a video soon. For some reason, my flash drive decided to play hide and seek.)
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