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Tal’s Hill gets to stay

Oct 18, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

A few months ago Astros owner Jim Crane suggested that the team may get rid of Tal’s Hill — that weird rise of land out on the warning track in center at Minute Maid Park — as well as the train that sits above the outfield.  Guess he changed his mind:

I guess anything, if it’s been around long enough, becomes a tradition. Even if it’s a dumb flair-for-the-sake-of-flair design element like a hill in the middle of an outfield.

  1. gaykegayden - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Bad call

  2. mJankiewicz - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    I’m sure I’ll get a ton of thumbs downs, but I’ve always thought the hill was sort of cool. I remember seeing Jim Edmonds make a crazy catch that only he would make on it.

    • Alex K - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Was it one where he jogged until the very end so he could dive? That was the Jim Edmonds special.

      That said, Edmonds was a boss in center. He just liked to make things look hard.

      • mazblast - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        Hey, it got Ken Griffey Jr. tons of SportsCenter highlights when nobody with the Mariners was ever on. Dog it, then turn on the jets at the last second. Griffey was also the master of diving when it wasn’t necessary, just to get air time.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      I will not/would not give a thumbs down – you said you like it, there is nothing to disagree with in that statement. I would just pose the question – where do you draw the line with stuff like this? Can the hill rise higher? 8 feet high? 10 feet high? Can it extend further out? What other shapes can be allowed, and where on the field?

  3. lazlosother - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Great call. I think if they put a couple of sand traps in right center, and a water hazard down the left field line things would be perfect.

    • indaburg - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      I was thinking more along the lines of a moat filled with piranhas to replace the warning track, but your idea to turn it into a golf course works too.

  4. scotttheskeptic - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Where would you out the windmill?

    • lessick - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      “Where would you out the windmill?”

      St. Petersburg, FL

    • lessick - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      “Where would you put the windmill?”

      St. Petersburg, FL

  5. scotttheskeptic - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    *put

  6. Alex K - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Not only is that stupid hill in center – there is a flag pole in the field of play!

    • royalsfaninfargo - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Just curious, but has that flagpole ever caused any problems? You would think someone would run into it or something.

      • Alex K - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        I have no clue. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    • mazblast - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      The hill itself is a “tribute” to the “terrace” at Crosley Field (a slope instead of a warning track); the flagpole in play is from Tiger Stadium.

      • Alex K - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        And what is the Astro’s connection with either of those old parks? Just because those were quirks of old ballparks doesn’t make them a good idea for a new park.

      • mrstpaul - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:48 PM

        I don’t have any problem with the hill and the flagpole. But then I grew up in the era of cookie-cutter multi-purpose stadiums AND was forced to watch my hometown team in the Metrodome for almost 30 years.

        Back in the day when there were only 3 monuments in Yankee Stadium (Huggins, Ruth, Gehrig) they were in center field and in play. Just because a stadium is new means they can’t build ‘quirks’ into it?

  7. schlom - Oct 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    The hill has to go! Think of all the injuries it’s caused!

    • hackerjay - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Has it? I’m not a big fan of the hill or anything, but I’m curious if anyone ever actually has been hurt on it. I did a quick search and couldn’t find anything either way.

    • johnalex819 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:55 PM

      No one has ever suffered an injury from the Hill.

  8. jtmmack - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Where in baseball does a hill in the field of play make sense? Dumb if you ask me .

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      I vaguely recall a bunch of monuments on the field in old Yankee Stadium, albeit a $12 cab ride from home plate, but still.

    • gloccamorra - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      I’m surprised nobody answered that. The field in most ballparks was/is below street level, and outfields in several old parks sloped up to sidewalk level rather than build a wall with a fence on top. In the dead ball era when homers were rare, fans were allowed to sit or stand there and watch the game.

  9. dohpey28 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Crosley field in Cincy had a hill in the outfield, that’s where the idea came from. I see nothing wrong with it.

    • blacksables - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      Duffy’s cliff used to be where the Green Monster now stands in Fenway. That was the first modern park to have a hill.

  10. creek0512 - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    They should probably check with Pujols, I think he owns it now…

  11. hotkarlsandwich - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Didn’t someone hit a ball that would have been a homer but stayed in play because of the flag pole?

    • kelshannon19 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:32 PM

      Richie Sexon in 2001. Went as a triple. Just another reason why MMP is unique.

  12. kelshannon19 - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    It’s 436 to dead center. The hill doesn’t cause problems. This is a non issue.

  13. drew1969 - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    They should rename it Glenallen Hill

  14. beeninnikes - Oct 18, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    I believe it was Richie Sexson that hit the flagpole that would’ve been high enough to clear the fence for a homer but was a double.

  15. massivedick - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    crane needs to focus on building up his pathetic team … not tear $hit down

  16. blazertop - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    The hill is ok, but get a common theme. Astros and trains have nothing to do with each other. The stupid train is carrying a load of oranges to further complicate the message.

    • johnalex819 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:57 PM

      The train is there because the ballpark is built where Houston’s train station used to sit. It’s a tribute to the city of Houston. Even the city’s official seal has a train on it.

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