Open Letter to Astros President Reid Ryan

Tal's Hill Minute Maid Park Houston

Tal’s Hill
Minute Maid Park


Dear Reid,

Thank you for an informative and entertaining presentation at yesterday’s Game Day SABR meeting at Minute Maid Park. I am not speaking for SABR or our chapter here, but I hardly think that I’m alone in that impression of the material you shared with us.

As one of the publicly opposed parties to the changes that now are obviously going forth for the removal of Tal’s Hill – and the 25-30 feet shortening of the fence distance in dead center field, my reasons always have been (1) that it will turn the ballpark into a home run band box; and (2) that it is a change coming at the cost of removing Tal’s Hill, a unique playing field feature that had been named for Tal Smith, the historically most significant administrative figure in Astros franchise history.

I’m still not sold on your reassurance that the shorter center field wall will not convert our present field configuration into a band box park, but I also acknowledge that it is a decision that doesn’t belong to us fans or Internet writers. We shall have to wait and see how it plays out over time to get our real time answers.. It is not surprising, however, to have your confirmation that the Astros hitters are happy about it while the pitchers fall into the “not so much” category. We shall keep our fingers crossed that it works out for the best – and that the Astros have not given away a home field advantage in the process.

What really ignited my decision to write this public letter, one that will be simultaneously published in The Pecan Park Eagle is the good news you gave us yesterday that the name “Tal’s Hill” will remain as the central ingredient in the name of the new bar that replaces that formerly open space of the hill and flagpole. That is not only a nice move, but an appropriates gesture of respect for both “The Hill’s” life as part of the ballpark – and the presumably permanent recognition of Tal Smith and his many contributions to the history of the franchise..

The Pecan Park Eagle strongly recommends that you give the new bar a name that says it all. We suggest the new store be dedicated as “The Tal’s Hill Memorial Bar”. – That title really does – say it all!

Attached are a series of slogans I hope you also will consider for use in marketing conjunction with the new solid-purpose name – and I’m serious here. Please don’t miss the opportunity for using a slogan that appeals to fans by its sense of humor for the irony that the Astros are replacing a physical elevation with a legally sociable chemical one, vis-a-vis, a bar that sells alcoholic beverages. And please do not be stopped by the apprehension that the public will interpret this humor as an invitation to get drunk. People can drink responsibly without getting drunk. If you are worried about people drinking too much, I feel sure you already have a plan in place to prevent some people from over-serving themselves. The trouble always is –  a bar cannot control those who already have over-served themselves prior to reaching the park. Worst case scenario? – If there’s no room for irony in the slogan (which, by the way, also keeps the central fact of Tal’s Hill alive for fans who will soon include those who never saw it in person) – if there’s no room for that incredibly great irony, it will be harder to keep the memory of Tal’s Hill fresh over time by duller words of fact alone.

Here Are Our Serious Separate Suggestions for Tagging The MMP Field Changes With A New Name and Marketing Slogan:  

The Tal’s Hill Memorial Bar

 Drop in for an even more traditional lift!

 Drop in and enjoy the spirit of elevation!

 Drop in and toast the spirit of elevation!

 Where the spirits elevate, but not the field!

 Where Astros Spirit still Lifts, but not the field!

 Tal’s Hill. Spirits Still Rise. But The Field Remains Flat.

 The New Tal’s Hill. Climb This Elevation Responsibly.

Drop in to experience a historical lift.


Change Happens.

Change Happens.


If you care to contact me for further discussion of these suggestions, my e-mail address is and my 24/7 cell number is 713-823-4864.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bill McCurdy, Editor

The Pecan Park Eagle


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas



6 Responses to “Open Letter to Astros President Reid Ryan”

  1. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    GOOD JOB! look forward to seeing you at # 60 in Novemeber

  2. Paul English Says:

    Bartender, I need another hit.

  3. Larry Dierker Says:

    Where triples go to die.

  4. Michael McCroskey Says:

    I would like an arbitration libation, please! Or maybe a Trade-wins
    rum. A Rainbow gin fizz? Or simply an 8th wonder beer. Who the hill knows?

  5. inductionguru2011 Says:

    Nice effort on your part Bill.
    By the way for you and your readers if I haven’t told you yet, I’m now writing a MLB Blog called “I Left My Heart in Cooperstown.”. Each column will contain factual information from my book and I also want anyone who has a nice memory of visiting the Hall of Fame to share it with us because I plan to include these memories in my book’s sequel.

  6. Bob Hulsey Says:

    My reaction would be: “I didn’t know Tal had died.” If you want something a bit quirky, you could name it the “Tal Mahal”

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