Tag Archives: Minute Maid Park

Flashback Friday…The H-Town Experience and Minute Maid Park, 2005 & 2008

wp-1509064839576..jpg With my buddy Josh, May 2005, when Josh had really “short” hair…

Minute Maid Park. Houston, TX. Site of Games 3, 4 and 5 of the 2017 World Series, where our Boys in Blue head into with the series all tied at one. Prior to 2013, the Astros we’re a National League franchise dating back to 1962. From 1969 to 1993 the Astros we’re part of the NL West, winning 2 NL West titles in 1980 and 1986. 

wp-1509064567988..jpg Sportin’ my Dodger Blue cap, May 2005. 

Josh and I would make 2 trips here. In 2005, we had a stopover for the day on our rail trip from St. Louis back to L.A. so we decided to stop on by. It was fitting our ballpark rail excursion would take us to Minute Maid Park, especially with all the nods to the former Union Station that once resided on the site. 

wp-1509064742576..jpg The lobby of old Union Station. Now the left field entrance from Crawford Street, this now serves as the grand entrance to Minute Maid Park…

Back to H-Town, 2008

wp-1509063560014..jpg Matt Kemp, making some autograph seekers happy, July 2008

Josh and I would make a return to H-Town in 2008. This time, it would be a 3 day stay. During the 3 days, our appetites would be satisfied, or filled if not completely satisfied, by…

Image result for taco cabana 

Taco Cabana. As I said, if not completely satisfied. Don’t go there if your sober. Or as one of my former co-workers from Texas says, “Don’t go there at all…”

We would also venture into a House of Pies. Not affiliated with the one on Vermont Avenue, but both serve diner style food. Though the HOP in Houston charges $2.50 for coffee refills past the second cup, my waitress kept generously filling my cup. Between our HOP and Houston’s, I say it’s a draw…

Our “foodie run” would also take us to Whataburger. Most of their locations are open late, serving up huge hamburgers. But between these two…

FB_IMG_1508800396335.jpg

I’ll take my 3X3 animal style any day. (OK, maybe an “occassional” 4X4 if no one is looking…LOL). 

And our final H-Town “foodie run” would take us to Good Company BBQ. The highlight for me, other than the usual BBQ meats, had to be the Czech Sausage. Good Company has to be the only place i’ve had Czech Sausage. If you’re a Houstonian reading this, I’m sure you could probably name other favorite BBQ places of yours, but I sure enjoyed the experience of eating BBQ in Texas, especially Goode Company BBQ. 

Getting our NASA On…

20171026_174624.jpg Johnson Space Center. I like to call these two “The Twin Towers. Hakeem and Ralph…”

Our venture into Houston would also take Josh and I to the Johnson Space Centerwp-1509064058689..jpg

wp-1509064158121..jpg

Speaking of the Johnson Space Center, they seem to have a friendly battle with Pasadena’s JPL

But you know Houston, we do have a prized possesion of our own at the California Science Center

20150813_135428.jpg

Back to The Juicebox…Minute Maid Park

wp-1509064677555..jpg

Though the picture above was taken in 2005, Josh and I would return in 2008 to see The Blue take on the ‘Stros. This time, the roof would be closed during the 3 games we’d take in. 

wp-1509064630822..jpgwp-1509064651712..jpg HI MR. CONDUCTOR !!!

A favorite feature among many Astros fans, this replica locomotive chugs atop the left field Crawford Boxes prior to the first pitch and after an Astro home run. 

wp-1509064413116..jpg R.I.P. Tal’s Hill….

The hill, meant to pay homage to past classic’s such as Cincinatti’s Crosly Field, was removed after the 2016 season to make way for more dining spots. Though a nice nod to the past, the hill just looked forced and was hardly in play. But back in ’02, some center fielder for the Dodgers would make a nice running catch on the fly up that hill without breaking stride. I think that former centerfielder would have a future in managing some day…

Minute Maid Park is literally a band box. Very intimate, MMP is a very friendly hitters yard. Because if it’s intimate settings, no seat is really too far from the action. Now, if you don’t mind standing for an inning or two, you’ll want to take in some action at the porch literally located above the warning track in left center field…

wp-1509064351123..jpg

It’s almost game time ! Here’s to the Blue and an H-Town takeover !!!

wp-1509063983683..jpg Josh and I hanging with The Little Pumas, Lance Berkman’s unofficial fan club, July 2008. 

wp-1509064713241..jpg May, 2005. I wonder if this fan would know that orange cap would make it back to the rotation some day…

Astros fans and Houstonian’s we’re so hospitable so we could only return the favor…

20171025_143911.jpg The lil’ bro, Daniel and I, with this nice couple from Houston prior to Game 2. This couple would share with us that everyone in L.A. was very warm with them…

20171025_214543.jpg In the end, one of us will be smiling…The other crying… I intend to be the one smiling…

9th Inning…From H-Town

wp-1509063520262..jpg

LETS GO DODGERS !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flashback Friday…A League of Their Own

Leading Off…

20150514_210103.jpg I hope you’re all staying warm and dry on this rainy Friday afternoon…

A League of Their Own…

e8d3.jpgRacine Belles, traveling exhibit, Minute Maid Park, 5/13/2005

These last 10 years of blogging I’ve had the great opportunity to travel to numerous ballparks. Over the years I’ve captured many pictures that have spoken more than a thousand words. With March being Women’s History Month, we feature this picture of an exhibit I took at Minute Maid Park during my visit in May of 2005 featuring the Racine Belles of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League that featured over 600 female baseball players from 1943-1954…

276c.jpg

9th Inning…

picsart_03-10-03.19.52.jpg Opening Day is almost here kids !!!

 

 

Throwback Thursday…Drei’s Ballpark Adventures… Minute Maid Park, May 2005 and July 2008

The Dodgers will be opening up a 3 game series starting Friday evening at Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros. It will mark the first time these two clubs will match up against each other since 2012. From 1962-2012, the Houston franchise was a member of the National League and from 1969-1993 the Astros we’re part of the NL West. During that period, these two clubs won a combined 9 division titles among each other. These two clubs had some epic battles in the early 80s, notably 1980 and 1981.The Dodgers are coming off a rough spell in Oakland while the Astros have surprised the so-called as they head toward the stretch run in a 3 way battle for the AL West with the Angels and Rangers.

HOU_Drei n Train Reppin’ The Blue in H-Town, July 2008.

I’ve had the chance to visit Minute Maid Park twice, in 2005 on a stopover in Houston and in 2008 to see The Blue. Located in Downtown Houston, MMP is a nice cozy bandbox. MMP would be the second retractable roofed stadium I would visit behind Chase Field. After a couple of stays in Houston and several visits to Phoenix, my stance on indoor baseball has softened somewhat, if not entirely. We Dodger fans really are spoiled with such great weather.

The Juice Box, the moniker that’s commonly used, opened in 2000 as Enron FieldNot long after the infamous Enron scandal we’re they able to change the name of the yard and rid themselves of the aftertaste Enron left behind. I had the impression that MMP was indeed a bandbox, especially for right handed hitters. Should the yard be open to the open skies, it is possible for one to hit one toward Crawford Street behind the left field stands, dubbed the Crawford Boxes. 

Above the Crawford Boxes are sliding glass door panels that glide the roof open. Atop the wall is the MMP’s signature feature, the replica locomotive…

HOU_MMP Train conductor HEY MR. CONDUCTOR !!! That’s a cool job you got !!!

Some of you reading this may be saying to yourselves isn’t that hill in centerfield MMP’s signature feature ?

HOU_MMP Tals Hill You could make an argument that Tal’s Hill is MMP’s signature feature. Located in center field in the field of play along with the flagpole, the hill was a nod to the hill in Cincinatti’s old Crosley Field. Former Dodger and current Padre bench coach Dave Roberts was the first outfielder to make a running catch up the hill. For you Dodgers fans who may be in H-Town this weekend, this will be your last chance to see Tal’s Hill as it will be removed after this season to make way for improved seating as well as food and drink options ( No doubt to cater to the party-goers ). 

HOU_MMP DTHou View of the Houston skyline, roof opened to the skies tonight

HOU_MMP Union Sta ( Josh ) The old Union Station lobby, now also serves as the left field entrance. Hey look, the guy with the long hair, it’s my buddy Josh !!!  Hey Josh !!!  ALL ABOARD !!!

HOU_MMP Drei n Josh 05 With my buddy Josh, May 2005

Trivial Notes on H-Town

You may notice that professional sports teams in Houston, the Astros, Rockets and even the WNBA’s Comets, all are names with a reference to the space shuttle program, where at one time Houston was a major hub. If you’re in H-Town and have some time, you may want to check out Space Center Houston. Below is a slideshow of pics I took during my visit in 2008 and i’m sure much has changed since, especially with the space shuttle program being over

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Extra Innings… 1981

The Dodgers and Astros met in an intra-division Best of 5 playoff to determine the NL West Champion. Jerry Reuss would out-duel Hall of Fame fireballer Nolan Ryan, sending the Dodgers to the NLCS against the NL East Champion Montreal Expos. It would be the only time the Dodgers and Astros would meet in post-season play. It could happen again this year, of course with much bigger stakes…

30 In 25 By Ground

How many of you baseball fans have ever dreamed of following your favorite team on a road trip ? How many of you have dreamed of seeing a game at all 30 MLB Parks ? How would you plan it out ? 30 in one summer ? 30 over a period of time ? 30 in 30 days ? Or how about… 30 in 25 days, all on ground !!!

Of course a lot of preparation is involved when it comes to road trips. But 25 in 30 days, on ground ? That would be a world record if accomplished. Personally, I couldn’t even do 30 in 30 let alone 30 in 25. When i’m travelling, even when ballpark hopping, I like to take it slow. Here are some of the yards i’ve seen our Boys in Blue play, and some parks where i’ve made some new “friends” .

And some new furry friends along the way…

OK, I’ll include one AL Mascot….

Moose Gotta love playing with the Mariner Moose. As long as I don’t bring some “monkey” inside his yard he’s always happy to play with me….

As for how many current yards i’ve been, my count right now is at 17. I will hit the 30 mark eventually. So, what are some of the yards you’ve strolled through ? What we’re your favorites ? Oh yeah…. Nothing beats a day at the ballpark ….

The Traveling Fleece, aka……Blue

Before I begin, I hope you all had a great time celebrating yesferday’s unofficial holiday of pi, or should I say pie. I know I did thanks to the folks of Pepes NY Pizza in Studio City….

image

OK.  As fans, we all like to show our support, our unconditional passion towards our favorite teams, even if they always find a way to break our hearts.  With so many forms of media these days, most notably social media, displaying our undying love affair for the teams we support have gone viral in more ways we can even think of.  Be it Steelers fans displaying their Terrible Towels worldwide, or UCLA fans doing 8-Claps Heard Around the World, or even, yes, Dodgers fans simply displaying their Blue worldwide, there’s just no denying our longstanding support for our favorite teams.  In case you’re wondering, yes, the Dodgers do have a link where you can submit your pics showing off your undying support of Dodger Blue
2004 I would get my 1st of a line of Dodgers fleece blankets throughout the years on giveaway nights.  A simple design really.  A blue blanket with the iconinc Dodger script with the interlocking L.A. as the watermark background.  Other than of course Chavez Ravine, it’s made it’s way through 6 other stadiums as well, one no longer in existence.  It’s met fans of the opposition, kept my little sister warm , Dodged a tomahawk or two ( Pun intended ), made friends with a military family, payed a visit to support some future Dodgers in the minors, and even been on Prime Ticket !!!! The fleece now enters it’s 10th season.  Though it hasn’t left California since the 2010 season, it still intends to make it to all 30 MLB Stadiums, as well as the countless minor league parks as well.  If I could have known that some day this was going to go viral the fleece would have seen some landmarks as well . ( Though it’s not too late….)  So, you wondering where Blue has been over the years ?  OK, here goes….

image

image

The birth of Blue.  Here are a couple of pics with some friends and colleagues.  Blue is still wondering how I was able to pull off a coupke of Dodger Night Out’s since organizing activities with co-workers is never easy….

PETCO Park

image

image

This would be the first of many appearances in PETCO Park for Blue.  The first pic is from April with my buddies Chris and Josh.  You will see Josh in more pics to come.  The bottom pic is with the sibs, August 1st.  The big bro is some really awesome guy for bringing his lil’ sibs on the road with him.  That was also the weekend of then GM Paul DePodesta’s infamous firesale.  That was also the first game for former Padre Steve Finley in Dodger Blue, much to the “delight” of the locals.  We could only wonder if Finley would have any kind of an impact for the Boys in Blue….  This was also the game Eric Gagne pitched 3 scoreless innings before the Boys in Blue would win hard fought 2-1 game in 12 innings, thanks to a pinch-hit solo shot by Robin Ventura.  Gagne wasn’t as effective after that game and many felt his 3 innings pitched, the most he pitched since going from starter to closer, had a lot to do with his in-effectiveness and later his arm troubles.  ( Though we can all zpeculate what else contributed as well…. )

SBC Park

image

Known as SBC Park at the time, after being re-named, Blue would endure many ” verbal ” assaults fromthe natives up north.  It would also encounter many blue clad friends as well for this late September matchup with the Giants.  It would even survive a threat from one of the older female ushers, who had threatened it’s entourage it would be kicked out if they continued to cheet loudly ( Since when is cheereing loudly an offense.  )  And finally, Blue enjoyed the look of the locals, as well as that particular usher, during the 9th inning as the entourage dressed in Blue countered the BEAT L.A. chants….GO L.A. !!!   GO L.A. !!!  The Boys in Blue would clinch the NL West 6 days later at home against the hated ones.  I think Steve Finley had something to do with that….

Old Busch Stadium, St Louis, May 2005

image

image

In Busch Stadiums final season before moving across the street to New Busch with some of baseball’s friendliest fans…

image

Giving old Busch and its mini arches a touch of Blue before bidding farewell…..

Back to PETCO

image

On any given day in San Diego, chances are you will meet someone with military connections.  Here we met this family whose son, a Padre fan,  was serving in the Marine Corps.  The family brought a sign to the game for the fans to sign, something we would do ourselves upon our encounter with them after the game, in front of Tony Gwynn Dr no less……

2006 and Back to PETCO

image

Hey !!!  BLUE made it on the field !!!! 

2007
Dodging Tomahawks

image

Blue’s first trip to the east !!!  That’s quite a big drum there….

image

Saved from the tomahawk.  Blue would escape Turner Field in Atlanta unscathed by this tomahawk.  Blue would endure two days of tomahawks and war chants from the locals….

2008

image

Tailgate at the Park, Elysian Park, before the Dodgers home opener in their 50th year here in L.A. …….

Minute Maid Park
Houston, Tx

image

Reppin’ with Blue Deep In the Heart of Texas….

2009

Opening the season at PETCO….

image

Picnic at the park.  Blue sure knows how to bring life to a picnic.  This would be my buddy Art’s first game in a long time, bringing his kid Angel, also taking in his first game.  And of course, Josh and Letty, whom you may have by now noticed in previous pics….

image

Postgame pic with Blue

image

A Return Up North…

image

This time, it’s the lil’ sis Sarah who will put Blue on display…. At Union Station in DTLA, before catching a bus to Bakersfield to connect with the Amtrak San Joaquin train to the bay.  Blue is doing a nice job keeping the lil’ sis warm….

image

Blue still keeping the lil’ sis warm while waiting in Bakersfield for the train to the bay….

And finally…

image

The lil’ sis has arrived.  The Bay Bridge sure looks more attractive with Blue there….

ON Prime Ticket from PETCO

image

Blue loving the attention being given throughout SoCal….

2010

Catching a Glimpse of Some Future Dodgers in Albuquerque….

image

Hey look, it’s Josh again.  He comes around as often as some local newsvan of many years ago.  Blue has made it’s way to Isotopes Park !!!!

image

Me n Blue, kickin it with one of the Dodgers and Isotopes ( AAA team of the Dodbers ) biggest fans… Homer Simpson… Doh !!!!

Back at The Ravine…

image

image

John and Elba keeping Blue company….

2011 With an Unlit Halo in Anaheim

image

At Angel Stadium, as Blue shines brightly in front of that unlit Halo….

And of course back at PETCO….

image

OK, Blue ain’t quite as visible here due to the fact it’s facing thw action toward the field.  However this pic of me and Lil’ D is still one of my favorites….

2012

Yup, You Guessed it, Back to PETCO

image

image

Of course it does help that San Diego is only 2 hours south of L.A.   ……

Blue sure has spent a lot of time out in PETCO’s Park at the Park…

image

Of course, in the park where the pets go, Blue’s got a new best friend….

image

Final Pic of 2012

image

So Blue will be entering it’s 10th season.  As said earlier, it’s my intention to get Blue in all 30 MLB parks, even if some risks may be involved.  After all, it’s put up with verbal abuse in San Francisco to dodging tomahawks in Atlanta.  It’s been to Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, Old Busch Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Turner Field, SBC/AT&T Park, and of course , PETCO Park.  4 Division titles have been won in it’s existence, it’s now time to bring Blue a World Champion.  It’s waited a long time now.  Not as long as it’s owner and the fans, but it’s been awhile….  May 2013 be our year !!!!

And last but not least….Today’s Instagram Pic… Andre Ethier

image

Out in right field, May 2009. You can alsofollow me on my Instagram at Good_Drei.

WRAPPIN UP THE ROAD TRIP DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS

hou8.jpghou6.jpghou11.jpghou13.jpgspc22.jpghou2.jpgIt was a fun 3 days here in Houston, especially with the Blue Crew taking the latter 3 games of this 4 game series , and me attending all 3 of the wins.  ( Maybe I should have been here Monday, perhaps we may have had a sweep….)  It was good to see the Dodger offense heat up, hopefully they can keep it going into San Francisco this weekend.  Kent, Ethier, and Loney in particular came through big in this series, especially Kent, hitting a solo shot in the 10th in Tuesday’s game to win it, coming back on Wednesday with a pair of RBI doubles.  Ethier had a couple of solo shots in this series and was actually a triple away from a cycle in the Wednesday game. ( A triple, you know, the hardest hit in baseball…)  He had a shot at it in the 9th inning and I had commented to a fan next to me that MMP was the perfect ballpark to hit a triple if he could send a shot up Tal’s Hill ( More on that later ) , but he grounded out to short.  Matt Kemp earlier in the game hit a triple up the hill, one of the few times the hill came into play as Astros CFielder Michael Bourne had to chase Kemps shot up the hill.  Loney , a native of Missouri City , Texas just outside of Houston, had a good series as well, which included a solo shot into the Crawford Boxes in LF. 

Minute Maid Park is a nice cozy ballpark.  A bandbox.  For the most part, you really are close to the action, even in the upper deck seats too.  It’s got a retractable roof to protect the fans from the harsh summer elements in these parts, the roof is in use mostly from June on toward the end of the season.  Other features here include Tal’s Hill, beyond the CF warning track that is reminiscent of old Crossley Field in Cincinatti, and the field is in play.  The hill also has a flag pole out there, reminiscent of old Tiger Stadium.  And should a potential HR hit the pole and bounce back into the field, the ball is in play.  This has happened only once, last season, when Richie Sexon of the Brewers accomplished the feat and had to settle for a triple. 

If you are on a budget, you may want to buy the cheap seats then claim a spot out in the home run porch in left center, where there is a balcony hanging above the warning track.  Out there , you’ll likely to encounter the Puma’s, a devoted following of Astro Lance Berkman, dubbed The Big Puma. 

MMP is worth a stop for your ballpark road trip, and while in Houston, you may also want to check out the Johnson Space Center about 30 minutes south of the ballpark.  And of course, no trip to Texas would be complete without sampling some BBQ, which I did over at Goode Company.

OTHER NOTES

Thur 7/3 there were many armed forces tributes during the game in the day before the 4th, including a nice video tribute to Rick Monday rescuing the US Flag at Dodger Stadium in 1976 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. 

HAVE A GREAT 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE !!!!