Minute Maid Park, Houston

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Texas likes to have everything be big, and Houston’s scoreboard claims to be the biggest in the majors.

  It might be – although Cleveland also has a huge one. 

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 Center field, at 436’, is the only one in the majors bigger than Fenway.  The hill and flagpole are in play.

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Houston’s attempt at a Fenway Park out-of-town style scoreboard.

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The Citgo sign in the glass let-field wall is Houston’s attempt at a Kenmore Square ripoff.

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Deuces are wild in Houston.

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First game:  September 10, 2002.  I was in Dallas to shoot a spot with Janine Turner the following day, the first anniversary of 9/11. No one wanted to fly on 9/11, so I had flown in to Dallas the afternoon before.  I had nothing to do until the next morning, so I hopped a Southwest flight to Houston, grabbed a cab and asked to go to what had been known as Enron Field.  I knew that after Enron went under they had to change the name, and I found out it had been renamed Minute Maid Park.  Saw the Rockies and Astros.  The Astros won, 11-4.  It’s a very nice park with as many interesting touches as Pac Bell in San Francisco.  Real grass under the retractable roof.  The scoreboard in right field is huge – biggest in the majors, so they claim.  They have a train atop the wall in left field.  When the roof opens the glass wall in left also retracts.   The patio grill in right center has a bar in the stands.  There’s a “Duffy’s Cliff” in center field with a flagpole in the middle.  It’s actually in play.  Very nice place to see a game.

Second game:  September 22, 2006.  I was back in Dallas for the NAB and drove to Houston with Dave Dillon to see an Astros-Cardinals game.  On the way we passed the Sam Houston statue on the edge of the highway.  It’s incredibly huge (the statue, not the highway).  By this time they had added a Fenway-style Citgo sign in the left field glass wall above the fence.  It was another very good game.  At the 7th inning stretch they played “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and everybody sang and clapped along.  The Astros won the game, 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th, holding off the Cardinals who were on the way to a World Series win that year.   

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