Look! Like it or not, and it is growing on me as my fears of MMP becoming a band box begin to dissolve through 11 home games in 2017. Only one home run has knocked upon its leafy green exterior in deep center field – and that one by George Springer struck high enough to have cleared the older deeper lower wall behind the former Tal’s Hill area. So, let’s move on to the identity issue here. Just as Tal’s Hill was named Tal’s Hill for the former club president’s suggestion that its original elevation in deep center – along with the playing field flag pole – could provide the “new-in-2000” park with a quirky elevated celebration of the old field challenge of Crosley Field in Cincinnati and a nice architectural touch to the baseball retro-park intention for baseball’s new home in downtown Houston.
The original field design existed for 17 years, but now Tal’s Hill is gone, and center field’s deepest distance has declined from 436 feet to 409 feet.
How’s it look, so far?
So far, so good. Through 11 games, as we’ve just said, only one George Springer home run has dared to ram the high leafy “H” wall in dead center, but that lengthy description is no suitable excuse for a name that might match up with the former Tal’s Hill.
Fans are crawling all around the new botanically inclined edifice in center like so many denizens of a new tree limb culture. They stop on stairways and new hand rails to kill time, socialize, and view the game in the company of new opportunities for food and drink. And they all seem to be smiling and unconcerned about how much time they will be spending at the ballpark – a condition made easier by the 2017 Astros’ early showing that they are a ball club with both the talent and the taste for winning in the new jungle that is Minute Maid Park. Things are looking good.
What have the changes apparently produced?
Minute Maid Park is fast becoming a jungle of baseball and social opportunity. It is a place to watching winning baseball – and, for families and millennials, it is a place to enjoy the company of friends in a park that is becoming an oasis for wireless or in-the-flesh socializing with others. MMP always has been one of the best parks in baseball for the hyperactive fans that enjoy staying on the go – watching the game from various 360 degree spots on the concourse level. As one of the few big league parks that makes full-circle movement by fans on one level without ever losing sight of the game, MMP ranks among the best – and it just got fan friendlier with the center field modifications. For some of us, who like to sit in one spot, keep score, and play total attention to the game while we are there, these improved mobility factors don’t matter much, but – and this is a mighty big “but” – it’s very possible and most likely probable – that the traditional fans that some of us are is no model for baseball’s fans of the future.
Tomorrow’s fans are not single-minded. They are multi-minded and multi-tasking people. For these reasons, they rarely get together for the exclusive purpose of sharing the rarest wine in the world together – anymore than they would ever go to an MLB game together for the same shared narrow affinity for the game of baseball itself. They attend and return, only to those activities in which they are helped to feel comfortable about feeding their other ongoing mental needs (i.e., texting-connected) at the same time they arrive in physical form to “watch the game.” If that makes no sense to you, and you are young enough to watch this condition grow over the next twenty years, just watch the ways in which the marketing of baseball changes between now and then. What I’m describing here, I think, will make a lot more sense over time. – It will make sense then because wired-mind fans, even among the then elder millennials, will have become the norm for early 21st century “old school” mind sets and social behavior.
What to Name the “H” Wall and Its New CF area?
Because the vine and leaf inclined “H” Wall symbolically well represents the horticultural, heroic, and Houston climate of the new center field area, our vote supports the idea that it’s already named itself. Unless the fan masses come up with a more naturally popular title, let us consider calling it “The H Wall” – for now and evermore.
As for the newly constructed, people-busy center field leafy area, and in recognition of Jim Crane, the Astros owner who placed the change in motion, the Pecan Park Eagle votes for “Jim’s Jungle” as the only fitting choice. It’s not only forested in center field now. It has become a jungle of fan activity and club opportunity in a powerful meeting of supply and demand.
What do you think?
Publisher, Editor, Writer
The Pecan Park Eagle