Capacity: 40,950
Surface:
Grass
Opened:
April 7, 2000
Cost:
$250 Million
Architect:
HOK
Dimensions:
L Line - 315
L - 362
C - 435
R - 373
R Line - 326
     
 

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Minute Maid Park

Since its opening, Minute Maid Park, has become one of baseballs "crown jewels." In 1995, with the threat of the Astros moving to northern Virginia, a new ballpark had to be built in order to keep the team in Houston. In November 1996, voters approved a referendum to construct a new ballpark in downtown Houston. After three decades of playing in the Astrodome, the Astros would get a new home.

Built on a 25 acre site in downtown Houston, construction began on October 30, 1997. It would feature a retractable roof and natural grass. The stadium's site was greatly influenced by its surrounding neighborhood. The ballpark was constructed with concrete and steel structures, and the facade consist of brick and limestone. A 1911-vintage Union Station forms the ballpark's main entrance. A retractable roof was necessary for the ballpark to keep the summer heat out, and to keep fans cool. The retractable roof is built of three panels, which can open or close in 20 minutes. As part of a 30 year/$100 million deal the ballpark was originally known as Enron Field.

Over 40,950 people packed the ballpark on Opening Day, April 7, 2000. Three levels of green seats extend from the left field foul pole to home plate and around to the right field foul pole. Two levels of seats are located beyond the right field fence. A 131 foot wide scoreboard is located above these seats. Over 2,500 seats, called the Crawford Boxes jut out into the field in left field, making the distance to it just 315 feet.

Along with views of downtown Houston, a 57-foot, 24-ton full-size replica of a 19th-century Wild West steam locomotive runs on an 800-foot track located above left field. Along with the train, Minute Maid Park has many other attractions. Tal's Hill, a 20 degree angled hill is located in dead centerfield, measuring 90 feet at its widest point, and curving around 100 feet of outfield fence. A flagpole is also near Talís Hill, and is in play. A clock tower located outside Minute Maid Park, serves as a meeting place for fans. Banners from Astros championships are hung from the archways along the Conoco Home Run Alley behind left and center field. Fans can buy Astros merchandise at The Shed, the Astros' official gift shop at Union Station. Also fans can buy original oil paintings, lithographs, bronze sculptures and other unique memorabilia at the Gallery at Minute Maid Park.

Since its opening in 2000, the ballpark has had several different names. The ballpark was known as Enron Field for its first two season of existence. After Enron filed for bankruptcy, the Astros decided to buy back the naming rights to the ballpark for $2.1 million. For the first part of the 2002 season, the ballpark was known as Astros Field. In June 2002, a deal with The Minute Maid Company was reached. The 28-year naming rights agreement is worth in excess of $100 million. The ballpark is now known as Minute Maid Park.