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AL West Decided, But War Of Words Continues Between Astros, Texas Rangers

The Houston Astros took some thinly-veiled shots at the Texas Rangers on social media after clinching the AL West on Sunday.

The American League West has been decided but the war of words between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros is still going.

There has been some back-and-forth on social media between fans of the clubs in the wake of the Astros winning the AL West by virtue of a tiebreaker edge over the Rangers. In fact, the Astros' official X account has helped fan the flames.

Both teams finished 90-72, but the Astros won the season series and earned a week off while the Rangers are thrust into a best-of-three Wild Card series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field beginning on Tuesday. Game 1 is set for 2:08 p.m.

The source of the jawing, which has included various media members covering the teams? The Rangers celebrated their clinched playoff berth after Saturday night's win in Seattle. There was champagne and the typical celebratory images of the players rejoicing the postseason, a first for Texas since 2016.

Furthermore, the Rangers lost 94 games a year ago, their sixth consecutive losing season. They made a 22-game improvement, so there was plenty to celebrate. By all accounts, the locker room celebration lasted about 30 minutes since the Rangers had a huge game on Sunday with the AL West title on the line in the regular-season finale. Ahem, that didn't happen, as the Mariners won 1-0.

Meanwhile, the Astros also clinched a playoff berth with their win Saturday night in Arizona and merely celebrated with a subdued champagne toast, which the Astros posted on social media.

The Astros, of course, have been to the postseason seven consecutive seasons, in eight of the past nine seasons, and have been to four World Series in the previous six seasons. And won it twice.

"The Rangers partied last night while the Astros had a champagne toast and quickly turned their attention to Sunday and one more win," Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart of posted on X Sunday evening.

The Astros' official X account posted a video of Alex Bregman and the Astros celebrating their AL West title in a thinly-veiled shot at the Rangers. The account posted it multiple times, including one with the description: "We celebrate titles in Houston."

"A lot of people were wondering what it was gonna be like if the 'Stros didn't win the division," said Bregman, wearing goggles on his head and holding a bottle of champagne. "I guess we'll never know."

This didn't sit well with some Rangers fans.

Emily Jones, the Rangers longtime television field reporter tried to correct the record in a reply on the social media platform.

"They partied for 30 minutes in the clubhouse," wrote Jones, who has since taken down her X account. "Then took it to the house. Faced a legit ace in game 162. What has happened to you dude?!"

Rangers general manager Chris Young ripped the Houston media for spreading a false narrative during and interview on 105.3 "The Fan" Monday afternoon. 

"I find it ridiculous that that's even a subject honestly. This is the most professional responsible group of players that I've ever been around. We had a very subdued, champagne popping, but beyond that, there was there was no partying there was nothing outlandish," Young said. "These guys had earned the right to pop those champagne bottles and that was the extent of our celebration. It had no impact whatsoever on Sunday's game. And really it's pretty poor journalism to even suggest that honestly, I'm very disappointed in the lack of professionalism of the Houston journalists for putting that out there. It's classless and it's not appropriate and it's completely fabricated. It's wrong."

The feud will be relegated to off-the-field unless both teams advance to the ALCS.

The Rangers must beat the Rays, and then the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles in the best-of-5 ALDS, and the Astros must beat the winner between the other Wild Card series between the Blue Jays and AL Central champion Minnesota Twins.

If the Rangers and Astros do meet in the ALCS, you can bet the winning team will hold a Texas-sized party. It would be the first time the two Lone Star State teams have faced off in the postseason.

You can follow Stefan Stevenson on Twitter @StefanVersusTex.

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