Love it or hate it, chances are you and your friends have talked about Tal’s Hill in Houston’s Minute Maid Park. On the off chance you have never noticed it, catch a glimpse of it while you still can. Earlier today the Astros announced renovation plans for their center field, and the hill will be eliminated in 2016.
As it stands right now, Houston’s centerfield is unique in baseball. Not only is it the deepest centerfield of any ball park, not only is there a slope that leads to the outfield wall, but there is a flagpole that actually sits in the field of play. While Tal’s Hill is so far away that it rarely comes into play it does make for some very interesting plays.
Tal’s Hill is a tribute to Cincinnati’s old-timey Crosley Field and was named after former Houston Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith.
Since its inception, fans have either been vehemently in favor or against it. Some managers have highlighted the injury risk associated with having a hill in dead center, yet there has been no record of anyone being injured while scaling the wall.
Minute Maid’s renovation project is part of a $15 million plan to shake up center field. In the offseason the team will be moving in the fence about 27 feet. In addition the plans call for three bars, four food locations and field-level seating all made possible by getting rid of the hill.
On the renovations Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said, “The new center field will not only be great for fans, but will make Minute Maid Park an attractive ballpark for current and future players as well.”
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