The general managers have been joined by the owners at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. The GMs will conclude their meetings today, and the owners will stick around until Thursday afternoon.
Nolan Ryan will represent the Rangers' ownership group. He and the other 29 owners are expected to approve the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane, and that will open the door for the Astros to join the Rangers in the American League West in 2013.
(Yes, that's the same Jim Crane who partnered with Mark Cuban in the courthouse auction for the Rangers in August 2010 and the same Crane whose company hasbeen accused of war profiteering and failing to report sexual harassment. It's been assumed that to get approved by MLB, Crane had to agree to switch leagues.)
The move will give each league 15 teams and require that interleague play is a part of the daily MLB schedule. The Rangers are in favor of the Astros joining the AL West for a variety of reasons.
The belief is that attendance will increase with Houston coming to Rangers Ballpark more than once a year, creating more revenue. A midweek May series with the Astros will draw better than one with Oakland.
More road games will be seen on TV by Rangers fans, who will have fewer 9 p.m. starts to juggle.
Most importantly, the Rangers will have a moderately more travel-friendly schedule. That assumes, of course, that the West Coast division games lost thanks to the Astros aren't replaced by interleague games on the West Coast.
And, for now, the Rangers have a relative pushover in the division. Houston is rebuilding, but the Rangers believe (and are even hopeful) that the Astros will become more competitive within a few seasons.
-- Jeff Wilson