Chronological Tour: Stop 188

Meet Me at Union Station

Home plate entrance to what was then Enron Field, Aug-2000.

Looking at the stands from Home Run Alley.

The view from behind the plate, including the Home Run Train.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
The park that replaced Houston’s Astrodome for baseball, originally to be called Union Station, was built on, or near, the site of Union Station, the city’s passenger rail station for many years. Enron, an energy management company with a large presence in Houston, bought on for naming rights before the park’s 2000 opening, but in late 2001 the sponsor declared bankruptcy, and the club divorced itself from the agreement in Feb-2002. In Jun-2002, a new agreement made the park “Minute Maid Field”.

The retractable-roof facility, which includes windows looking out to the northwest and some of the city’s skyline, has a major rail-station motif. Many of the concession stands have railyard names, and some vendors have red and green signal lights. Most significantly, the Astros have installed a “home run train”, a locomotive and caboose, beyond the left-field fence – reminiscent, in a way, of Chattanooga except that this train is always visible and then moves along its rail and belches smoke when the Astros hit a home run, something that has happened with unusual frequency in this hitters’ ballpark which has been nicknamed “Home Run Field” or “Ten-Run Field”.

The roof was closed when my Aug-2000 game started, but they opened it in the seventh inning. The entire roof slides off to the northeast, creating the largest open-air area of any of these new facilities (including Bank One Ballpark and Safeco Field).

A nice touch is the captioning message board, displaying everything the public address announcer has said for the benefit of the hard of hearing or anyone else who was distracted or couldn’t hear the announcement over the cheering fans.

Game # Date League Level Result
431 Tue 22-Aug-2000 National MLB HOUSTON 10, Chi Cubs 7
1199 Sun 29-Jul-2012 National MLB HOUSTON 9, Pittsburgh 5
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This page updated 8-Jan-2013