The Houston Astros ballpark is starting to take shape.
The Houston Astros pitchers and catchers reported to the Ballpark at Palm Beaches. The new spring training facility is state of the art and fans will get a new experience in Florida. One of the baseball fields has the dimensions of Minute Maid Park with a faux Crawford Boxes. With the logos around the ballpark, it’s obvious who plays there.
With the start of a new season, we await the finished product with the removal of Tal’s Hill. Astros fans will be seeing a whole new ballgame at Minute Maid Park. For those of you living under a rock of Texans coverage, they removed Tal’s Hill. In its place, they have moved the deepest part of the park from 436 feet to 409 feet.
A change is good.
Following the SB, the Astros needed to replace the grass. With the construction and football events, the grass was in no shape to be played on. When I met with Mike Acosta earlier this offseason, he said that they would replace the whole field. As of Monday, the field was nothing but dirt. Yesterday, the Astros staff rolled out the new grass around the field.
Meanwhile, the hitter’s eye is starting to become a prominent feature of the ballpark. While it is a bright yellow with the sheetrock, it will soon be covered with ivy and an ivy-colored Houston Astros logo dead center. With the College Classic rapidly approaching, they have to get the ballpark playable. Will construction be complete before that time? No, but it will be playable.
By opening up center field, the Root Sorts broadcast location will move from the Crawford Boxes to center field. In its place is a row of seats right down the left field line. Acosta predicts that these seats will be popular. Acosta is confident that things will be finished before opening day with all the structures in place.
The new outfield wall is going up as a fence first. Then there will be some green padding panels added. Also, head groundskeeper Willie Berry had to rebuild the pitching mound according to Acosta. Here is a picture of what the batters eye will look like to a hitter.
The new warning track is almost ready as well. Just looking at the pictures, the center field warning track looks wider than we have had before. Center fielders no longer have to deal with a hill after passing the dirt, but a normal wall. George Springer and Jake Marisnick will be the primary center fielders in 2017. They will adjust to the new features.
While Tal’s Hill never really led to any injuries, Alyson Footer came on Talking Stros recently and had strong opinions about the hill. She said she hated it from the beginning and she is glad that it’s gone. We have plenty new memories that we will make, but we will treasure the memories with the hill. I’m getting pumped for opening day.