The Houston Astros announced today that they will remove “Tal’s Hill” from center field of Minute Maid Park after the 2015 season.
Construction on the new center field area would begin immediately following the conclusion of the 2015 season and would be ready for fans to enjoy by the start of the 2016 season.
“We are extremely excited about our plans for center field, and are confident that our fans will be as well,” said Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan. “Our goal will be to create a unique and entertaining atmosphere for our fans that will include great happy hour spots and spectacular views. It will also be visual, giving the ballpark an exciting, new look.”
“The renovation of center field represents a significant improvement of the fan experience while maintaining the integrity of the game,” said Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. “The new center field will not only be great for fans, but will make Minute Maid Park an attractive ballpark for current and future players as well.”
A few players and manager A.J. Hinch weighed in on the removal after the team’s loss the Orioles.
A.J. Hinch-“It will be missed but I think a regular fence that we’re accustomed to is probably best for everybody.”
Jose Altuve-“That’s good. I don’t hit any balls out there anyway, but that’s good.”
Colby Rasmus-“There’s a possibility those long fly balls will turn into outs.” He also mentioned it would add to the hitter’s park feel that Minute Maid already possess.
Chad Qualls-“Pitchers obviously love seeing 436 [feet] out there but you know I think it will be good. It’s gonna add a new feature to the ballpark with the batter’s eye and the restaurant, and you know just the new aspect of the park.”
Some facts on the change from the Astros press release:
• The current center field distance of 436 feet would move to 409 feet, moving Minute Maid Park from the deepest center distance to the sixth-farthest in the league.
• The seating capacity of Minute Maid Park would remain essentially the same, with improved visibility for fans to enjoy the game from center field.
• The renovation of center field would result in a total of three new bar locations, four additional food locations and a premium group seating area at field level, creating the first and only field-level seating area available at Minute Maid Park.