Hurricane Harvey forces Astros to return to the dome life

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Houston Astros will have their next three, if not six, home games moved to Tropicana Field due to the flooding and damage to the City of Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey.

According to Marc Topkin:

Tickets for the games — 7:10 tonight and Wednesday, 1:10 Thursday — will be $10 with general admission seating in the lower bowl (excluding premium areas), available via raysbaseball.com/tickets and the Gate 1 box office. Gates open one hour before first pitch, with parking $10 and limited concessions available. Fans will be encouraged to make donations to the hurricane relief via redcross.org, calling toll-free 1-800-435-7669 (HELP-NOW) or texting HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Playing in a dome is nothing new to the Astros. Besides playing the Rays three times a season at the Trop since moving to the American League in 2013, they played in the Houston Astrodome from 1965 to 1999. Ironically, the Astrodome was baseball’s first domed stadium and Tropicana Field may be its last (non-retractable version).

Shifting games is also not unusual for the Astros. According to MLB.com, in 2008,

Hurricane Ike was bearing down on Houston, and the first two games of the Astros’ weekend series against the Cubs were shifted to Miller Park in Milwaukee.

In regards to attendance, I will be counting the Astros attendance in the total Tampa Bay baseball attendance in 2017. My daily attendance reports will start with the Houston Astros, followed by local Minor League games.

Although tickets are only $10, I don’t expect the weekday Astros versus Rangers games to sell very well. Attendees will probably either be hardcore baseball fans or people looking to attend to support relief efforts.If I had to guess, I would say each game of the Astros v Rangers might draw between 5,000-10,000. That is entirely a guess. They could sell-out in a wave of emotional support for the City of Houston. Which would be a very good thing.

I do expect the weekend attendance versus the New York Mets to be higher than the weekday games, if the Astros are still playing in the Trop this weekend. Many local Mets fans will head to Tropicana Field to see the Mets, who last played in Tropicana Field August 6-9, 2015.

Of course, Astros attendance at Tropicana Field will not count in Rays attendance, but it will be a separate category in tallying up total baseball attendance in Tampa Bay in 2017. I would guess there will be more local fans at the Astros games than at many spring training games, and I count those.

These games will most definitely help put total Tampa Bay baseball attendance over 2 million for the 12th year in a row.

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