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"Close don't count in baseball. Close only counts in horsehoes and grenades."
--Frank Robinson, Orioles first baseman


Enron Field

By Wikipedia

Minute Maid Park is a retractable roof baseball stadium in Houston, Texas, opened in 2000 to house the Houston Astros.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 501 Crawford St.
Houston, Texas 77002
Broke ground November 1, 1997
Opened April 7, 2000
Replaced Astrodome
Owner Harris County-Houston
Sports Authority
Surface Burmuda Grass (2000)
Seashore Paspalum Grass (8/01-)
($180M taxpayers,
$52M Astros)
Architect HOK Sport
Lease 30 years (2000-2029)
Enron Field
Astros Field
Minute Maid Park
Houston Astros (2000-present)
Seating capacity
Seating capacity 40,950 (2000)
Left Field - 315 ft (96 m)
Left-Center - 362 ft (110 m)
Left-Center (deep) - 404 ft (123 m)
Center Field - 435 ft (133 m)
Right-Center - 373 ft (114 m)
Right Field - 326 ft (99 m)

The ballpark originally was called Enron Field, with naming rights sold to the Houston energy corporation. Astros management faced a public relations nightmare when the energy corporation went bankrupt in the midst of one of the biggest business scandals in American history in 2001. The face of that scandal, Kenneth Lay, had thrown out the first pitch at the first game and Enron logos were all over the stadium.  The management at Enron, showing the kind of over-the-top tactics that both enriched and embarrassed the city, played hardball and insisted it still owned the naming rights so long as it continued to make its payments and managed to get $2.1M from Harris County for the remainder of Enron's thirty years of naming rights! The ballpark was then known simply as "Astros Field."

While the Enron scandal continues to make headlines and new inmates, the Astros have moved on. Houston-based Minute Maid, the fruit-juice subsidiary of Coca-Cola, acquired the naming rights to the stadium in 2002.

The stadium was created to replace the Astrodome as a venue for baseball. The Eight Wonder of the World wasn't producing enough revenue for the Astros owners and it was abandoned after just over 30 years of service.

Fly to the Minute Maid Park!
If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to the site of Minute Maid Park . (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

During its days as Enron Field, it was also dubbed "Ten-Run" or "Home Run" Field due to its cozy left-field dimensions. In keeping with this theme while paying homage to its current sponsor, the nickname "The Juice Box" is sometimes heard today.

The stadium is known for being particularly hitter-friendly down the lines, especially in left field where it is only 315 ft (96 m) to the Crawford Boxes, though the wall there is 19 feet tall. Conversely, it is quite difficult to hit a ball out in center field, though fielding is a challenge there as well, due to the 10-degree steep up-sloped grade, sometimes known as Tal's Hill, for team president Tal Smith, an element taken from Crosley Field and other historic ballparks, and the flagpole in play, an element taken from Yankee Stadium and Tiger Stadium among others. The difference is that the Crosley Field "terrace" was necessitated by the difference in elevation between field level and street level, while "Tal's Hill" is purely decorative. Both structures have been held in equal disdain by the respective outfielders that have had to patrol those areas.

Enron Field!
Buy at
Minute Maid Park - Houston
Buy From

04/07/2000 Phillies 4, Astros 1
Umpires Rich Rieker, Paul Emmel
  Gerry Davis, Jim Joyce
Managers Larry Dierker, Astros
  Terry Francona, Philles
Starting Pitchers Octavio Dotel, Astros
  Randy Wolf, Phillies
Ceremonial Pitch Ken Lay, president of Enron Corp.
Attendance 41,583
Batter Doug Glanville (single)
Hit Doug Glanville (single)
Run Scott Rolen
RBI Scott Rolen
Single Doug Glanville
Double Rico Brogna
Triple Tim Bogar (04/08/2000)
Home Run Scott Rolen
Grand Slam Thomas Howard (04/11/2000)
IPHR Adam Everett (08/06/2003)
Stolen Base Doug Glanville
Sacrifice Hit Tim Bogar (04/09/2000)
Sacrifice Fly Mickey Morandini
Cycle Luis Gonzalez (07/05/2000)
Win Randy Wolf
Loss Octavio Dotel
Shutout Joe Mays, Travis Miller, LaTroy Hawkins,
Eddie Guardado(06/07/2000)
Save Wayne Gomes
Hit by Pitch Mike Maddux hit Mickey Morandini
Wild Pitch Dwight Gooden (04/08/2000)
Balk Wayne Franklin (08/09/2000)
No-hitter (None0
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

A concourse above Tal's Hill features the "Conoco Home Run Porch" in left-center field that is actually over the field of play, and features a classic gasoline pump to keep track of the number of Astros home runs.

In 2004, the Astros launched Wi-Fi throughout the ballpark, allowing fans to use the internet while attending a game for a fee ($3.95 a game). In addition, all public address announcements are flashed on the scoreboard for benefit of the hearing-impaired.

On October 25, 2005, Minute Maid Park became the first Texas ballpark to host a World Series game.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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Minute Maid Park from space!

USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Enron Field

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

With the exception of the Wikipedia article above, everything else is...

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