03/27/17 1:00pm

Centerfield, Minute Maid Park, Houston

Astros historian Mike Acosta, among others, has posted pics of the new Tacolandia beyond the newly reshaped centerfield wall of Minute Maid Park. Tal’s Hill, the former outfield bump that ramped up the wall, has been gone for months now, but reconstruction of other areas around the wall appears to be still ongoing. Serving burgers and tacos on the pictured mezzanine level in homerunville will be a new Shake Shack and Torchy’s, respectively. The wall, 2 additional food-service options, 3 more bars, and a new Astros-memorabilia store in the rehabbed outfield are expected to be ready for opening day next Monday.

Fans attending weigh-ins for the Geico Bassmaster Classic at the Astros’ stadium over the weekend got peeks at the final stages of construction; photos posted to Twitter this morning indicate progress overnight, as well as the new 409-ft. sign (discounted by 27 ft. from the former centerfield distance) and a plastic-ivy Astros insignia above it serving as a batter’s eye, in all its topiary-like glory:


Torchy’s, Shake Shack, Home Runs
06/04/15 3:00pm

Rendering of Proposed Renovations to Minute Maid Park Center Field, Downtown Houston

The Astros announced today that the team had received preliminary approval from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority to knock down the banked bit of center field past the Minute Maid Park warning track known as Tal’s Hill. The graded area was named after the team’s former president, Tal Smith, who first suggested including an elevation change — a rarity both in baseball and in Houston — to the stadium soon to be known as Enron Field. The proposed renovations, priced at $15 million and scheduled to take place at the end of the current season, would also straighten out the center field fence and bring it in to 409 ft. from home plate (from the current 436 ft.). More important, the opened-up space beyond would allow room for 3 new bars and 4 new food-service locations, as well as a new group seating area at the field level, which conceptual renderings of the new design released by the American League team (above and below) appear to show tucked behind a new see-through portion of the centerfield fence.


Off Ramp
10/01/13 4:22pm

ASTROS OWNER PITCHING ‘CAMP STRIKE’ Houston Astros owner Jim Crane this week confirmed rumors that the team is interested in building a facility for a new Astros Triple-A team 41 miles up I-45 from Minute Maid Park — on the grounds of Camp Strake in Conroe. Johnson Development is expected to complete its purchase of the 2,083-acre former Boy Scout campground by the end of this year. Crane tells Fox 26’s Mark Berman he’s had initial conversations with the new owners about securing a portion of the property, but will wait until after the closing to complete his own deal. Crane will likely go shopping for a new Triple-A team to move to the area once a facility is built. [MyFoxHouston; previously on Swamplot] Photo of PuffUp Webelos Camp at Camp Strake: Adolfo Chavez III

02/04/13 4:30pm

Don’t ever say sluggers don’t need their creature comforts: This 16,000-sq.-ft., 5-bedroom, 9-bathroom mansion at 405 Timberwilde was home to former Houston Astro and 1994 NL MVP Jeff Bagwell, who retired with 449 homers after 15 seasons. Oh, and his mansion? It’s for sale for $15 million.


06/19/09 3:42pm

New Fifth Ward resident James M. Harrison follows the Astros’ “Race for the Pennant” 5K to the front steps of his own neighborhood:

After running the 3.1 mile race with a friend, I decided that 5K’s should be the next topic on [Christian] Lander’s blog, “Stuff White People Like.” Hundreds of people (many of whom were caucasian), rose with the sun for the big race at 7.00 AM. They came outfitted in their lightweight synthetic clothes and hot-to-trot running shoes– the perfect accessories for the meaningless number we all slapped on our chests to make us look like we were about to compete in the Boston Marathon (mine was 2757).

Nobody trains for a 5K. But if you’re up at daybreak, among the crowd of socially aware locals who are in good enough shape for 25 minutes of running, thanks to their motivated lifestyles (and the iPods strapped to their arms, cued to amp the jam for the blitz across town)– then you must be doing something right with your life. It’s so important to be a part of the healthy crowd, that you’ll even pay $25 to get in on the action for a morning. I am a victim of this system.