What started as a joke between two offices drew statewide attention of a frivolous nature at a time when nerves across Texas are frayed from a weekend of devastation by Hurricane Harvey.
Houston resident Marc Phelps started a petition on change.org to have the state of Texas flag patch removed from the uniforms of the Texas Rangers because “they don’t share in our state’s helping spirit.”
Some Astros fans are upset that the Rangers refused to swap locations for this week’s series between the teams scheduled for Houston with the Sept. 25-27 series scheduled at Globe Life Park. The Astros refused to play this week as the designated home team at Globe Life Park, home of the Rangers.
Meanwhile, Houston and the surrounding areas continue to deal with catastrophic flooding that far outshadows any difference of opinion between the organizations.
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Phelps started the petition Tuesday, first reported in the Houston Chronicle, “as an inter-company joke” between offices in Carrollton and Houston, he said Tuesday evening via email.
“We are always going back and forth with each other about the Rangers, Astros, Cowboys and Texans,” Phelps said. “When the story broke yesterday about the series having to go to Tampa Bay, I told some of my co-workers I was going to petition the governor to change the Rangers name because they obviously did not support all of Texas.”
While his co-workers didn’t think he’d go through with it, Phelps in fact did, starting the petition intended for Gov. Greg Abbott and getting more than 2,000 signatures as of late Tuesday night. The petition has no actual power to force any such change.
“With everything going on in Texas and the spirit of unity, how can a team represent the great State of Texas by wearing the state flag, when they do not share in our state’s helping spirit?” Phelps said in the petition. “The Texas Rangers do not represent the State of Texas and therefore should not be allowed to wear our state’s flag.”
Phelps said he is a Navy veteran who was pulling for the Rangers in the 2011 World Series while deployed on the USS Gunston Hall in the Persian Gulf.
“I don’t really want to pull the flag off the Rangers’ uniforms,” he said. “But I’m glad that it’s drawing attention to the crisis in Houston and pushing some people toward making donations to help.”
On Tuesday, the Rangers pledged a $1 million donation toward relief efforts from Harvey’s devastation.
Phelps said he’s still not happy about the Rangers-Astros series moving to Florida but “I do not want to blow it out of proportion either. It was just a good distraction from the sadness and despair in our town,” he said.
Phelps said he spent Saturday and Sunday helping neighbors in Norchester, a subdivision in Northwest Harris County.