Astros AM: Tal’s Hill Will be no More in 2016


During the bloggers roundtable in, Astros president Reid Ryan brought up that they were looking at removing Tal’s Hill. He mentioned at the time that they had several construction companys putting bids and ideas for the Astros to choose. He felt that the space is being wasted, we could get the fans closer to the action by removing the hill and putting in standing room space to watch the game.

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He also mentioned that they cannot keep retiring Astros jerseys, as Houston has the most retired jerseys in baseball. Instead of retiring a players number from now on, they would create an Astros Hall of Fame in the space opened by removing the hill. While the funding for this offseason’s renovations will not include the Hall of Fame area, this will be looked into soon. One step at a time.

Let’s not focus on losing Tal’s Hill, because unless we come up with a petition and get 5000 signatures on it, the hill will be gone. These fans would then present it to the Harris County Sporting Authority, who is the landlord of MMP. Remember in Back to the Future, “Save the clock tower!” I can see fans outside Minute Maid Park saying “Save Tal’s Hill, here is a flyer, do you remember that time that Lance Berkman made that awesome catch?”

Unless we have some dedicated fans who want to chain themselves to Tal’s Hill all offseason, we need to move on the fact that it’s going to happen. Harris County Sports Authority has already given the initial go ahead so that the Astros can get started in preparations. Before we go any further, let’s look at the Tweet below showing the design for centerfield post-Tal’s Hill.

According to Mark Berman’s article here, Jim Crane said, “The Astros are stepping up and putting the money up. It’s in excess of $15 million.”

The Astros don’t own Minute Maid Park, they lease it, the Harris County taxpayers built MMP. Berman goes on to say that the Harris County Tax Authority is happy that the Astros are trying to improve the quality of MMP, and taxpayers should too because it’s on the Astros dime.

Looking at the picture above, I think that it offers fans an experience that you don’t find at most major league parks. Fans will have a chance to watch the game behind the outfield wall. When George Springer robs a home run from someone, you can do a quick selfie with him flying through the air. It will be similar to the pool area at Chase Field, minus the pool.

It will also offer some more seating options and standing room in centerfield, in addition to the standing room by the home run pump balcony. Take another look at Mark Berman’s article here, and take a look at the artist rendering of what it will look like.

Some fun facts from the Astros Press release contained in Mark Berman’s article.

1) The centerfield wall will be moved in 27 feet, 409 from 436. MMP had the deepest centerfield, will now have the sixth deepest.

2) The seating compacity will not change much, but fans will be able to sit in centerfield.

3) Create the first and only field level seating at Minute Maid Park behind the centerfield wall. This section will most likely be reserved for premium group seating. In other words, the typical fan will not be able to sit there.

The construction will begin as soon as the Astros throw their last pitch of the season. Hopefully, this occurs in game 4 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, with an Astros sweep. Is this a cloudy day in Houston, or will we look back at this decision ten years from now and think this was the best idea?

As for the name of our Website, we will stay Climbing Tal’s Hill for now. We can revisit it later, but @Fansided would like us to keep the name for now.

Next: Astros: 54 Games in, what to expect from here?

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