Astros: Saying Goodbye to Tal’s Hill CTH Style
By Eric Huysman
Astros Fans Are Having Mixed Feelings as Tal’s Hill is Removed.
Most fans have watched the Houston Astros far longer than I have. I remember going to some games at the Astrodome with family. But not too many people were baseball fans in my family. My dad had recently come to the dark side when I got him to do a fantasy baseball league with me for a while. He now watches all the games and let me know one time that Bill Brown mentioned CTH on the TV broadcast. My mom was a lost cause with the Astros.
I remember going to an Astros game when I was really little. Later I was told that Nolan Ryan pitched that game. While I have not been a die-hard Astros fan since a kid, I picked up baseball during the Jeff Bagwell era. I have never looked back, and I have been a die-hard fan since.
When I was in college, I was working two jobs to pay my way through school. My primary job was working at Kroger, but I also worked at Old Navy part-time. The main reason that I worked there was for the discount. But when April came around, the discount didn’t seem all that important anymore. My mom didn’t (still doesn’t) have cable, so I paid for my cable for my room so I could watch Astros games in high school.
Our Second Home.
When I found my wife Holly at Kroger, I had to convert her from a Braves fan as she was from Atlanta. In 2004, we took our engagement pictures at Minute Maid Park, or whatever it was called then. Before kids, we had a 26-game plan for two years. Yes, we had them for the magical 2005 run to the World Series.
Part of the reason that I started writing at CTH was that I had so much information in my head and not too many people to share with. Since I began to write, I have gotten to interview a few of the players and even created a talk show called Talking Stros with Brandon DelCastillo. While my life has gotten more complicated, I still enjoy trying to find time to write about the Astros.
Tal’s Hill will be missed, but a change will do you good.
I say all of this, for this reason, I’m okay that Tal’s Hill is leaving. No, I didn’t think that it was a stupid idea and never should have been done in the first place. It didn’t come into play as much as people think, but I always enjoyed watching players lumber up that hill to catch that ball. We all remember Lance Berkman‘s falling catch on the hill.
Like the Astrodome, it was time for a change. There are mixed feelings now as Mike Acosta posts pictures of the hill being dismantled. For those of you who were not around when the stadium was built, it was in tribute to some of the old-time ballparks. Instead of the warning track, they would have an incline so the player would know they were getting close to the wall.
The flagpole in play is an entirely different story, just ask Ritchie Sexton, who crushed a homer that would have been a no doubter. Unfortunately, it hit the flagpole that was in the field of play and stayed in the ballpark. The hill is what made Minute Maid Park so unique. They had the train, and they had that stupid hill in center field.
More than a stupid hill.
While many people, including players, have called that hill stupid over the years, it still will always have a place in the hearts of Stros fans everywhere. This part of Houston Astros history was so important to me that I bought a section of the wall in Tal’s Hill. For those of you asking, the name of CTH will most likely always be Climbing Tal’s Hill in memorial of the hill.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
- Alex Bregman goes off in August, leads Astros
Listening to the radio recently, people have mentioned that Houston sports teams might be more successful when the hill is gone. I really don’t see the curse of Tal’s Hill being a real thing. Some people have also said that the Astros sought more money by adding more seating and restaurant space. Other fans are glad that the hill is gone because they always hated it.
No matter how you felt about Tal’s Hill, 2017 will be a new season in a ballpark with different dimensions. Some of the balls that were caught on the hill will now become homers. More people will be able to sit in the outfield besides the Crawford Boxes and the Bullpen section. If removing the hill brings in more revenue, let’s hope they add to the team.
Next: Astros’ Collin McHugh on Locker Room Talk
Goodbye to the hill and hello to what should be a bright future for the Houston Astros. On a side note, when will my outfield wall panel arrive?