If the suit makes the man, then maybe the ballpark makes the team? If that is the case, then maybe Minute Maid Park is what’s made the Astros so quirky.
Tal’s Hill located in centerfield at Minute Maid Park is just that – a hill – located inside the field of play, about 430 feet from homeplate. Tal’s Hill is also home to the flagpole which holds the American flag. So to recap, we have a hill and a flagpole that centerfielders must navigate on and around in order to make a play. Can you say quirky?
The Astros announced yesterday that after the 2015 season, Tal’s Hill is going away. Coming in will be more seating, a few bars and concession areas, and a new look for the 15 year old ballpark.
You can read more about the Astros plans and watch interviews with the owner, GM, and manager here. I personally think it’s going to be fantastic, though the 9 Amigos patio that I spent many, many hours watching games and soliciting sunflower seeds from the bullpen on will always hold a special place in my heart. I think this calls for a reunion of our patio friends to wish it a proper farewell. Who’s with me?
Oh, and I have to give a hat tip to Sean Pendergast for reminding me about this hilarious moment a few years back. I was at this game, on the centerfield patio (natch), watching the poor cops try to catch up to this speedster. It was the most exciting thing to happen all night.
While he did make it across the field, up the hill, over the fence, up the ivy, and off the field, he was arrested as soon as he ran out the centerfield exit doors. I saw it with my own eyes. Nice try, dude. Wonder if he’s allowed back into the ballpark yet?
Oh, and look for a few Astros to be representing at the midsummer classic. Manager A.J. Hinch has been asked by American League All-Star Manager Ned Yost (of the KC Royals) to help him coach the AL all-stars. Quite an honor for a first year manager! I guess that’s what happens when you lead your team to the best record in the American League and the best start in franchise history. Congrats, A.J.! Hopefully, Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel will also be donning the orange and blue star in San Diego on July 14th. Maybe even El Oso Blanco.