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Minute Maid Park

From Academic Kids

Minute Maid Park
Location Houston, Texas
Opened April 7, 2000
Capacity 40,950
Owned By

Harris County-Houston Sports Authority

Architect:

HOK Sport

Dimensions:

Left
Left-center
Deep l.c.
Center
Right-center
Right



315 ft (96 m)
362 ft (110 m)
404 ft (123 m)
435 ft (133 m)
373 ft (114 m)
326 ft (99 m)

Minute Maid Park is a baseball stadium in Houston, Texas, opened in 2000 to house the Houston Astros.

The ballpark was Houston's first retractable-roofed stadium, thus enabling it to be hermetically sealed from hot or inclement weather like its predecessor, the Reliant Astrodome, or left open on more pleasant days. Its entrance is what was once Houston's Union Station, and one side of the stadium features a train as homage to the site's history. The train moves along a track on top of the length of the exterior wall beyond left field whenever an Astros player hits a home run.

The ballpark originally was Enron Field, with naming rights sold to the Houston energy corporation. Astros management faced a public relations nightmare when the energy corporation went bankrupt in the midst of one of the biggest business scandals in American history in 2001, and they bought back the remainder of Enron's thirty years of naming rights for $2.1 million, rechristening the ballpark as "Astros Field." In 2002 Minute Maid, the fruit-juice subsidiary of Coca-Cola, acquired the naming rights to the stadium.

During its days as Enron Field, it was also dubbed "Home Run" Field due to its cozy dimensions.

The stadium is known for being particularly hitter-friendly down the lines, especially in left field, where it is only 315 ft. to the Crawford Boxes. Conversely, it is quite difficult to hit a ball out in center field, though fielding is quite difficult there as well, due to the fairly steep up-sloped grade, sometimes known as Tal's Hill, for team president Tal Smith, an element taken from Crosley Field and other historic ballparks, and the flagpole in play, an element taken from Yankee Stadium among others. The difference is that the Crosley Field "terrace" was necessitated by the difference in elevation between field level and street level. "Tal's Hill" is purely decorative. Both structures have been held in equal disdain by the respective outfielders that have had to patrol those areas.

A concourse above Tal's Hill features the "Conoco Home Run Porch" in left-center field that is actually over the field of play, and features a classic gasoline pump to keep track of the number of Astros home runs.

In 2004, the Astros launched Wi-Fi throughout the ballpark, allowing fans to use the internet while attending a game for a fee ($3.95 a game).

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