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. 😒

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