HOUSTON -- Though Thursday marked the end of an era, only a few people seemed to care. The Giants' series finale against the Houston Astros marked the final time that the teams would meet as National League opponents. Houston will move to the American League West next year. For a couple of Giants who consider the Astros synonymous with the NL, the thought of the club switching leagues was jarring.
Manager Bruce Bochy entered professional baseball when Houston selected him in the first round of the Draft's secondary phase (for players who were previously drafted but did not sign) in 1975. He gained his first Major League experience from 1978-80 with the Astros, catching legends such as Nolan Ryan and J.R. Richard. So Bochy understandably felt a little sentimental. "This is who I signed with originally, came up with and had some history," Bochy said. "It seems strange to me that this club is not going to be in the National League. It takes some getting used to." Right-hander Clay Hensley, who's currently on the disabled list, was born in the Houston suburb of Tomball and graduated from Pearland (Texas) High School. He grew up rooting for the likes of Ryan, Alan Ashby, Jose Cruz, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. Hensley said that many of his Houston-area fans are upset because, being in the AL West, the Astros will play a large percentage of games that will start shortly after 9 p.m. CT. That makes a team tough to follow. "I think a lot of them aren't very happy with the move," Hensley said. "It's been in the National League for so long. I think it's going to be a weird adjustment. I know if I were here as a fan, I wouldn't be very happy about it."