ATLANTA -- The Braves and Astros were division rivals from 1969-93, and then had some notable playoffs series in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But Houston's move to the American League in 2013 doesn't seem to carry much meaning for the present Atlanta team -- except for Chipper Jones, who is retiring after this season.
"It will be very strange," the veteran third baseman said of the Astros leaving for the AL West so that there can be two equal 15-team circuits. "But I guess baseball can't keep from tinkering."
Jones is in his 19th season and has a lot of history with the Astros.
"They were our rivals," he recalled. "We had some great battles when they had the Killer B's. I really enjoyed going up against them and I always liked going to Houston."
But Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are long retired, and the Astros have fallen on hard times since beating the Braves en route to their only World Series appearance in 2005.
"We've only played the Astros a couple of times each season the last few years, so it's hard to say you'll miss them," catcher Brian McCann said. "It almost seems like we've played the Yankees more [in Interleague Play]."
The Braves knocked Houston out of the postseason in 1997, '99 and 2001. The Astros returned the favor in '04 and '05.
The only Braves players other than Jones to be on any of those teams are Tim Hudson and McCann, who both came aboard in 2005.
That was the year the Braves blew a late lead in Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Houston and were eliminated in the 18th inning on a home run by Chris Burke.