The New Minute Maid Park, Same As the Old, Just Now with a Big-Ass Video Screen

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Video Board.JPG
John Royal
The Astros have a new big-ass video board
So during the Houston College Classic I got a chance to get a bit of a preview of the new, improved Minute Maid Park as the new baseball season approaches. So I've got some observations.

1. That's one huge, big-ass video screen/scoreboard. The video looked nice, but they didn't do much in the way of stats, so I don't know what to expect in regards to that come Astros season.

2. The funny thing was that the old video board was still hanging in centerfield, dwarfed by the brand-new huge, big-ass board sitting right next to it.

3. I guess that's kind of like the way the Dome is sitting next to Reliant Stadium.

4. That means that the next time a hurricane comes through Houston, the old board will be okay while the new one is destroyed.

5. The word I heard up at MMP was that the old board is going to be covered by advertisements. I know, it's shocking that Drayton would consider trashing the place up with advertisements, but desperate times, right?

6. Personally, I think Drayton's going to drop this huge sign over the board that reads: "Baseball Team for Sale: Make Me an Offer."

7. So that the team could install some new disco party suites in the location of the press box on the field level, the press box was moved up to the next level, next to the broadcast booths. And it looks as if the new press box was designed by some airline execs because leg room is nonexistent.

8. The good thing about that is now the media will know how the rest of the fans feel squeezed into MMP seats that offer up no leg room.

9. The Chick-fil-A signs are still on the foul poles. That leads me to ask: Does any major league ballpark have anything that can top those "Eat Mor Fowl" poles in terms of tackiness?

10. Frankly, it's my theory that if a cow can learn to write, then that cow's going to know the correct spelling of "more."

Astros Logo Old.jpg
This team is still for sale
11. And since Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday for religious reasons, don't those poles violate some kind of religious tenet? Thus, they should at least be pulled down on Sundays.

12. I think I figured out why concession prices are so high. Since Carlos Lee buys his game time food in bulk, the MMP folks have to charge the fans higher prices to make up for the loss of revenue.

13. One thing troubled me about the new scoreboard last week. The score, inning, ball/strike count were often wrong. I was told this was all part of the learning process for working the new equipment.

14. But I've got another theory. Drayton's thinking that if they keep getting the score wrong, maybe the umpires and opposing team won't notice that the Astros are suddenly winning a game where they've been getting slaughtered.

15. On the plus side, Bob Ford, the best PA guy in the business, will still be guiding the fans through the games.

16. And Nunee Oakes, the DJ, will still blast out some good music. Well, he'll try, in between all of the eardrum-puncturing commercials and the kiddie music he's forced to play. But he played some really entertaining music during the Houston College Classic. Music that even had the press box jumping around and singing.

MMP Press Box.JPG
John Royal
The new MMP Press Box. All of the comfort and leg room of a regional jet.
17. Now if you're prone to seizures, you might want to either stay home or else make sure to take your medication because those new ribbon boards encompassing the stadium seem designed to cause seizures like Mary Hart's voice throwing Cosmo Kramer into fits.

18. The good news about the new press box is that, because of its location, the left field corner is not visible, which means the members of the press won't be forced to watch Carlos Lee lumbering after balls hit in his general direction.

19. Good news for you fans who sit in right field: There's a brand-new video board over third base for you to look at.

20. Bad news for you fans who sit in right field: There's a brand-new video board over third base for you to watch replays of Carlos Lee loafing after balls hit to left field.

21. Instead of the press box, there is a new Press Club premium seating area. And the Astros are selling it by talking about the fully stocked bar and the fancy food. So to go along with the smug mug of Drayton sitting in camera range behind home plate in his Diamond Club seats, now you'll also see rich people getting drunk in your standard shot from centerfield.

22. Meanwhile, they've haven't really done anything to improve the actual ballpark experience for the normal fans.

23. That leads me to this: If you're only going to the game because you get to go to a suite, then just stay home. You're one of those fools who are ruining baseball for those of us who actually want to go to a game and watch baseball.

24. Did I mention that huge, brand-new, big-ass video screen? It looks great, but there's not much it can do to disguise the suckiness of the team.

25. And yes, unfortunately, the choo-choo train and that stupid hill are still there.

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