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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Taking Back the Ballparks - Houston Astros

Exhibit A in the Trouble with Naming Rights. Minute Maid Park was formerly known as Enron Field, until that energy trading company became the poster child for corporate malfeasance. Contrast that with Houston’s former home. The greatest potential embarrassment for the Astrodome was if George Jetson’s dog started humping Mr. Spacely’s leg.

While Enron was a crappy company, it was a pretty solid corporate name for a ballpark. It rolled off the tongue quite nicely, particularly given how you could squint your ears and think it was Home Run Field. Its replacement makes you think of Florida, even if the corporate office for Minute Maid is right there in the 281.

As with the Fish Tank, Houston went a little overboard on the quirk, but in a location where it doesn’t necessarily fit as well as it does in South Beach. You have the railroad to nowhere above left field, and,  Tal’s Hill, now leveled, in center. I guess you have to try a little harder when you’re replacing the Eighth Wonder, even if the old place had gotten quite long in the tooth.

Unlike the recent batch of five parks where the old name was a strong contender, I doubt MM is even nominated here. From an outsider’s perspective, it doesn’t seem to have anything going for it, even if it’s now been the name of the place about 8X longer than it was called Enron.

Ballpark History

Built: 2000

Capacity:41,168

Name: Minute Maid Park, 2002-present. Before that, Enron Field 2000-02; Astros Field, a few months in 2002. 

Other ballparks used by club in its current city: Astrodome, 1965-1999; Colt Stadium, 1962-64.

Distinctive Features:The train honoring the site’s history as Houston’s Union Station; the left field wall scoreboard below the Crawford Boxes; Home Run Pump in center, tallying Astros homers hit in the park since its opening; Tal’s Hill and flagpole, (2000-1916), the 30-degree incline and in-play pole, both cursed by a generation of NL centerfielders.

Ballpark Highlights:

A disputed ninth-inning home run by Brad Ausmus just cleared the pointless yellow line in left center, rallying the Astros from a five-run deficit in a 2005 NLDS game with Atlanta. Nine innings later, a Chris Burke homer gave the ’Stros a 7-6 win to claim the series in the longest playoff game in ML history.

Looking to close out the series, Brad Lidge gave up the Holy #### Homer to Albert Pujols to keep the Cardinals alive in the rematch of the 2004 NLCS. Two nights later, the ’Stros would win Game 6 in St. Louee to earn their first Fall Classic appearance.

In the first World Series game played in Texas, Geoff Blum hit a 14th-inning home run off Ezequiel Astacio to propel the White Sox to a 7-5 victory. The following evening, the visitors finished off the sweep for their first title in 88 years.

On Opening Day 2013, the tank-mode hosts accidentally beat visiting Texas 8-2, marking their first game in the American League after 51 seasons in the Senior Circuit. A large part of BBC died that day.

Alex Bregman’s 10th-inning single to center scored pinch-runner Derek Fisher to give Houston a 13-12 victory in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. Three nights later, in Los Angeles, the Astros would claim their first world title.


Selections to Date

San Francisco Giants - China Basin

Texas Rangers - The Ballpark in Arlington

San Diego Padres - Mission Field

Boston Red Sox - Fenway Park

Washington Nationals - Nationals Park

Tampa Bay Rays - Suncoast Dome

Philadelphia Phillies - Citizens Park

Seattle Mariners - Cascadia Field

Pittsburgh Pirates - Allegheny Park

Kansas City Royals -Kauffman Stadium

New York Mets - Willets Point

Los Angeles Angels - Autry Field

St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Stadium

Detroit Tigers - Tiger Field

Miami Marlins - Fish Tank

Cleveland Indians - Jacobs Field

Chicago Cubs - Wrigley Field

New York Yankees - Yankee Stadium

Milwaukee Brewers -

Miller Park

Baltimore Orioles - Camden Yards

Colorado Rockies - Coors Field

SoSH U at work Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:00 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, stadium names

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Rusty Priske Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5686206)
Tal's Field?

Astro-not-dome?
   2. BDC Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5686212)
The old ballparks in Houston were called Herald Park, West End Park, and Buffalo Stadium (their Texas League team was the Houston Buffaloes). None of these are too resonant or promising. The NL franchise began life in Colt .45 Stadium, which had a weird history: it was both temporary and modular, and after the Astrodome was built, Colt Stadium was taken down in pieces and shipped to Mexico to form parts of other stadiums there.

But again, unless you're going to rename the team Colts or Buffaloes (Colt .45s being probably too outré even in a hardline Second Amendment state), none of these names make sense for re-adoption.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5686225)
The Astrosupposedlyretractablebutsomehowneveractuallyretracteddome
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5686229)
The Astros play there, and it's a dome. Therefore the only logical name for the park is The Astrodome.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5686233)
But again, unless you're going to rename the team Colts or Buffaloes (Colt .45s being probably too outré even in a hardline Second Amendment state)

Now what in the hell is wrong with the Houston Colt .45s?

But okay, I'd stick with Minute Maid. I'm not a fan of corporate names, but at least it's not a tongue twister or a tech company.
   6. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5686238)
Just thinking out loud...

I like The Juice Box as a nickname, but it's a bit informal.

Bagwell Ballpark - not a fan of naming them after players.

Black Gold Ballpark. Houston's big in the oil/energy industry, right?

Aerospace Stadium. The space program is part of the city's history & a distinctive feature. Astrodome is already taken.

The Ninth Wonder of the World. Not really - but it does refer back to the Astrodome.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5686244)
Station Grounds or Railway Grounds, owing to the proximity to Union Station.

It seems we do need a grounds somewhere in this exercise.
   8. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5686256)
Crawford Grounds
Apollo Park
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5686275)
Apollo Park

I like that.

   10. villageidiom Posted: June 05, 2018 at 03:53 PM (#5686378)
Aerospace Stadium. The space program is part of the city's history & a distinctive feature. Astrodome is already taken.
The Launching Pad.
Mission Control Park.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 05, 2018 at 04:54 PM (#5686430)
Apollo Landing
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5689490)
Bump to squeeze out some more noms.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: June 11, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5689502)
Ugh. I wish I knew the first thing about Houston. I don't. Has anyone nominated something boring like Astros Park?
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5689531)

Ugh. I wish I knew the first thing about Houston.


The park appears to be near Buffalo Bayou, a cool-named river running through the city.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: June 11, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5689535)
How about Astrodome 2000? It actually opened in 2000, it makes it clear that it's an updated version of the old dome, and it has an agreeable Tomorrowland feeling to it.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: June 11, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5689538)
BBC Memorial Field
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: June 11, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5689547)

BBC Memorial Field


Are we memorializing the death of her fandom?

   18. Nasty Nate Posted: June 11, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5689557)
How about Astrodome 2000? It actually opened in 2000, it makes it clear that it's an updated version of the old dome, and it has an agreeable Tomorrowland feeling to it.
It may be silly, but I actually like this idea a lot.

Astrodome 2000.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 11, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5689568)
BBC Memorial Field

Are we memorializing the death of her fandom?

If it gets named "DH Park", it won't be just Lisa's fandom that died a premature death.

   20. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 11, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5689643)
I like Astrodome 2000, too.
   21. Rusty Priske Posted: June 11, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5689804)
I am normally really against any name that sounds 'silly'.

But for some reason, Astrodome 2000 kind of works for me...
   22. QLE Posted: June 11, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5689809)
Another vote for Astrodome 2000.
   23. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: June 11, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5689813)
I agree with Astrodome 2000.
   24. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 11, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5689864)
A/C Park. If not, I too like Astrodome 2000.

Re: Houston, it is hot, it is unbearably humid (for people like me), it sprawls everywhere, but it really does have an amazing vibrant dining scene. I'd also say behind NYC/LA and probably Miami, it feels the most International of any U.S. city. I suppose it should as it will surpass Chicago in terms of city population here before too long.

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