Sunday, October 1, 2017

Minute Maid Park Tour

We went a little unconventional with this tour in that we bought tickets to a tour after already visiting the stadium, therefore we didn't bother re-taking the scenery photos. We tried to keep it to photos of sights that we didn't already share.

A large part of the "design" of Minute Maid Park was a tribute to Union Station, Houston's former hub for railroad transportation. Union Station is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places and if you read our post regarding our visit to Minute Maid Park, you know that it functions as one of the park's entrances on game day.

Our first stop was to take a look at the field with the dome open. Unlike most domed stadiums, Minute Maid features natural grass, which is why the dome must be opened on a regular basis. The parameters for the dome to be closed are as follows: inclement weather, temperatures reading below 65 or above 88 for a night game and 84 for a day game. Which basically means that for the entire baseball season, the roof is closed at game time. On postgame firework nights, they'll open the dome for the show.
The train in left field is a direct nod to Union Station. Oranges replace coal in the train's coal car as a tribute to Minute Maid.
The train moves along the track at the start of the game, when an Astros player hits a home run, and when the Astros win.

Houston's retired numbers are on display above the scoreboard in center field. There is a yellow sun attached to Craig Biggio's number and that is a reference to the charitable foundation, Sunshine Kids. Biggio wore a Sunshine Kids pin on his hat during spring training for over 15 years.
Anyone remember that ridiculous incline in center field? Well, that's no more. This is a model of the changes made to that area of the ballpark (found in one of the luxury suites):
And this is an up close and personal look of the changes:
 Other photos from the luxury suite:

Next stop on the tour was the Milo Hamilton Press Box.
The wires are exposed to allow ease of access.

We traveled downstairs to see the Raymond James Alex Brown Diamond Club, which is super hoighty toighty and on the same level as the team clubhouses.

Since we were the last tour of the day before game time, we did not have access to the clubhouses. Therefore, we went directly to the dugouts.

After reviewing the several photos of us taken by our sweet tour guide, we decided that it was time for a life change. We're only going to show you one (she took about twenty) because more than one would offend your eyesight.
Thanks to this photo, we started a more vigorous weekly fitness plan and started eating better. Why? Because "let's throw Shamu back into the water." Our tour guide was a darling because as she snapped photos, she kept repeating, "gorgeous."  Either she's the nicest person on the planet or she's going blind.

Here are the rest of the photos from the field:

Manual scoreboard:

A boy on the tour actually punched one of the tiles in as we circled the field. It was loud. He knew he did something wrong, not because his father scolded him, but because we released an astonished gasp. 😒

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park
501 Crawford Street
Houston, TX 77002

August 17, 2017

Basically the only good thing about our over-priced hotel was its location. We were able to easily walk over to the ballpark. We got there early enough to do a little walk around.
On the sidewalk are small plaques commemorating famous Astros' players like this one:

Minute Maid Plaza:

We entered the stadium through the Union Station entrance, which was really pretty.

Before we did anything else, we stopped into the team store. First, we f*cked around.Then we made purchases. A mascot for $10 and a hat for $25 as per the usual souvenirs.
On the wall, the store posted the lineup for the day's game.
And of course, we had to take a photo with the cowboy boot. It was a necessity.

Nearby was an activities section, which we, again, simply had to partake in.

There is a kids' zone. Also delightful.

In centerfield, there is a new batter's eye, Shake Shack, Torchy's Tacos, and the Budweiser Brew House. This replaced Tal's Hill, which was kind of stupid anyway. Who makes their center fielder run uphill to catch a fly ball? Also, there's this painting:
This gas pump tracks every Astros' home run hit since Minute Maid Park opened its doors. 

Here are the token photos of us:

We grabbed food before heading up to our seats. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we needed to take a photo for the blog before inhaling it. We each ordered a briskett sausage sandwich and french fries for $13.25.

They were solid. Not awesome. Solid.

This is the view from our seats. As you can see, the dome was closed. And thank god because it was hot as f*ck. And humid. So humid. The percentage of quality photos of our faces from this trip is low. Very, very low. Oh, also? The temperature at game time was 96 degrees. Only two degrees less than a popular 90's boy band.

Things to report on regarding the game. No one showed up. Granted, it was a Thursday afternoon, but the Astros are very good this season. Mid-week day games at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field are still pretty crowded. Even when they suck.
In the top of the 4th inning, the Diamondbacks went back to back with an inside the park home run (which neither of us have ever been present for) and a triple. It was not a good day for the Astros. They ended up losing 4-0.

The train in left field goes off at the start of the game and during an Astros home run. We saw no home run, but this is what a strikeout looked like:
In the 8th inning, we needed ice cream. We kept seeing people walking around with real ice cream in helmet cups. Real ice cream, not soft serve. That is very exciting. Lisa got two scoops in her cup - Orbit's birthday cake and cookies n cream. Serena got Orbit's birthday cake as well, but with homemade vanilla. The cup cost $7.
As we exited the stadium, we stumbled upon this fantastic vehicle:

We briefly hoped that Orbit was inside, but after being level 5 offenders and peering into all of the windows, we were disappointed.