Spring is here and baseball is calling, you can hear it every April in the Astros fans roaring chants at Minute Maid Park. There's something special about watching baseball outdoors with the roof wide open under Houston's downtown skyline. Ask any fan and they'll tell you this is one of the best times to catch the Astros. Maybe it's the cold beer or the smell of the nachos and hot dogs. Or the scent of the freshly cut grass on the green playing field. Whatever it is, it's infectious and will call you back time and time again, even if your team is down on the score board.
Every few years a new ball park opens and the latest is Target Field for the Minnesota Twins. I feel compelled to visit the new park and compare the venues. Target Field is an outdoor park without a retractable roof like Minute Maid's. The baseball experience can be summed up as either outdoors or indoors. Thanks to Minute Maid's retractable roof you can have both. According to Bobby Forrest with the Astros, it takes 13 minutes to close the roof and approximately 2 hours to cool down the park. " I watch the internet, but when the weather gets severe I call the experts at channel 11", says Forrest about deciding when to open and close the roof.
Probably the toughest job at Minute Maid Park is the grounds keeper. That nice green turf and red Georgia clay has to be in its place before each game. The special sod (Platinum TE Paspalum) is cut each day and is unique to Minute Maid Park. Randy Bergstrum the Astros's grounds keeper has 2.3 acres of sod to cut. He needs at least 6 hours of sunshine on the turf to keep it healthy and green. Again the parks retractable roof comes to the rescue and is probably the only green summer sod in all of Houston.
Yes baseball fans its time to make memories with your friends and family. It's time to enjoy the simple things in life like baseball and the sunsets at Minute Maid Park on a beautiful Spring or Summer day. Before you head out to the park remember we provide exclusive forecasts during the game and we give day-of forecasts on 11 News.