After almost 16 years in Minute Maid Park, The unique Tal’s Hill was taken down to much chagrin. After doing this, the Jim Crane headed group decided to urbanize the center field area while bringing the fences into 409 feet.
Last Saturday, I was able to see the finished product, and I must say, it is breathtaking. From the patio seating at the Budweiser Brewhouse to the Torchy’s Tacos located in the upper level, the whole new look is very intelligent.
The cosmetic changes look well, as they have added a brick graffitied wall, designed by a local graffiti artist Franky Cardona. As you pass the street art, you find yourself in the Budweiser Brewhouse, a bar with a view of the field. With many beers on tap, many people find a good spot to watch the game from the friendly confines of the brewhouse.
As you work your way past the brewhouse, we see our first new restaurant for Minute Maid Park this year: Shake Shack. The New York based burger manufacturer opened its second Houston location in center field and serves up their award-winning burgers, shakes, and a new “Astros Blast” frozen custard.
The mainstay of the new renovation is the Torchy’s Tacos restaurant located in the mezzanine level of center field. The full-fledged restaurant sells the world-famous tacos, and the love of the brand has easily been seen through the first couple of games this season. When I went to a game a couple weeks ago, I noticed the line for Torchy’s extended all the way to right field, but they were able to be efficient and get the patient customers their food fast.
Through the simple removal of Tal’s Hill, Minute Maid Park has skyrocketed into one of the best stadiums in the MLB. Not only are they getting more revenue, but they are making the fan experience ten times better.
Over the past two years, the Atlanta Braves have been anxiously awaiting their new stadium, now called SunTrust Park, to open. After spending 20 years at Turner Field, which fittingly was the site of the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics, the Braves will finally have a baseball-specific stadium in which to stay for a long time.
Turner Field was built as Centennial Olympic Stadium, a traditional track and field stadium, in 1996. After the two week ceremony, the stadium then was transformed into Turner Field, the new home of the Braves.
There were obvious flaws in the stadium, with reminents of the Olympics lingering after. So after 20 years in the downtown located field, the Braves will finally move into a suburban located cathedral in nearby cobb county.
The new features of the field include the new Chop House, a steakhouse in right field. The new dimensions of the field are usual at 335 to the lines and 400 to dead center.
While the field is regular, the amenities in the concourse are second to none. Their team store has a 360-degree revolving rack that showcases the jerseys you can buy.
With the top of the line in every facet of concessions, the beautiful Georgia weather, and the great location, SunTrust Park should be an amazing home for the Braves for decades.
As we work ourselves back into the baseball season, I believe it is time to deluge into the best players in the game today. Who better to start with than The Millville Meteor himself, Mike Trout.
Trout is entering his seventh season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and looks to continue his dominance of major league pitching. Coming off his MVP season, Trout seems to be picking up right where he left off, batting .300 in the first eight games and leading the Angels to an early AL West lead.
Best put, we are watching history through Trout’s career. His work ethic is second to none, and we are watching a legend play the game the right way. Trout grew up in a small town in New Jersey, Millville, where he is already hailed as the savior of the town, with the local baseball field called Mike Trout Field. His 1.2 million followers on instagram show his big following and his superhero like figure allows for the 25 year old to mentor many young children.
The world of baseball for a period of time lacked a superstar to take them into the 21st century. Now with Trout, we now know the game is in great hands.
Photo from: mplore.com
As we get into the 3rd week of the new season, the Houston Astros have a 2 game lead in the AL West. Much of this can be attributed to the work of Center Fielder George Springer.
Through 12 games, Springer already has 6 home runs in which looks to be his breakout year.
With this being his 4th season with the ‘Stros, we finnally see our center fielder flourishing on all cylinders.
Growing up in Connecticut, Springer stayed instate and went to the University of Connecticut, a team that never had been heard of. After 3 years in Storrs, Connecticut, Springer and his Teammates had put the Huskies on the map with their ruthless play.
The Astros took Springer 11th in the 2011 draft, knowing that he would soon become the face of the teams farm system, a regrowing one.
Now, nearly 6 years later, George Springer is almost single-handedly leading the Astros through the first half of the season, Which nobody minds. Given Springers leadership and his motivation, the Astros will be in good hands for another decade with the nucleus of Springer, Altuve and the 22 year-old Carlos Correa.
Photo: Bob Levey/ Getty Images