The Houston Astros start their season Monday -- and in addition to the new faces on the team, there'll be new fan features at Minute Maid Park.
The hill in centerfield is gone -- replaced with new seating and concessions. You'll be able to watch the game from a brew house, get food from Torchy's Tacos and Shake Shack … and even watch the game at field level -- with tickets that let you stand in the outfield during batting practice.
It’s all part of a sweeping renovation of the center field area.
Dena Propis, the Astros’ senior manager for communications, tells NewsRadio 740 KTRH that the renovations can be seen during a two-game, preseason exhibition series the World Series champion Chicago Cubs that opens Thursday night.
Gone are Tal's Hill and the deepest centerfield in major league baseball. In their place are fan-minded amenities.
Astros owner Jim Crane and President of Business Operations Reid Ryan took part in a press event Wednesday afternoon to officially unveil the new features.
“Jim Crane had a vision for enhancing the fan experience at our ballpark,” Ryan said. “Today, we were proud to have that vision come to life. The new center field area is a spectacular addition to Minute Maid Park.”
Ryan and Marcel Braithwaite, the team’s senior vice president for business operations, led a tour of the new area.
The features and upgrades include:
Shake Shack. Shake Shack opens its newest location on the Main Concourse. The ballpark menu includes the ShackBurger, SmokeShack, ‘Shroom Burger, Shack Stack, Chick ‘n Shack and Hot Dog. Fans can finish off the order with Shake Shack’s signature shakes and Concretes.
Torchy’s Tacos. The new center field Mezzanine Level location offers some Torchy’s favorites -- including the Trailer Park, the Beef Fajita, the Fried Avocado, and the Green Chili Queso and Chips.
Lexus Field Club. Offering a new, field-level view of the game, the Lexus Field Club features a variety of amenities, including food and non-alcoholic beverages, access to a premium cash bar and the exclusive experience of being able to view batting practice from the warning track.
Budweiser Batter’s Eye Bar. Situated directly above the “batter’s eye” in center field, the Batter’s Eye Bar features a standing-room-only general admission bar area for a limited number of ticketed fans.
Budweiser Brew House. Next to the Astros bullpen and just above the Lexus Field Club, this area has a bar-style atmosphere where fans can mingle without missing game action.
Budweiser Patio. The updated patio, which offers a reserved area for groups, has features USB ports between every seat.
Champions Pavilion. The redesigned, group-minded pavilion has improved video and audio options. It’s behind the escalator on the Mezzanine Level, just outside Torchy’s Tacos.
Astros Authentics. A new location for game-used merchandise ---baseballs, bats, lineup cards and game-worn uniforms.
Street art. The Astros’ past, present and future are tied to this year’s “#EarnIt” campaign with street art in Home Run Alley that was designed and painted by local artist Franky Cardona.
Elevator and escalator. The new elevator near the Budweiser Batter’s Eye Bar accesses various levels, including the Lexus Field Club. The new escalator moves guests from the Main Concourse near Shake Shack to the Mezzanine Level near the entrance to Champions Pavilion.
FiveSeven Market. The FiveSeven Market offers fresh and packaged food and beverage items – including salads, fruit cups, vegetable cups, candy and energy drinks.
Uber pick-up and drop-off. The new Uber pick-up and drop-off location, located just outside the center field gate on Crawford Street, increases options and convenience for fans getting to and from the ballpark and provides access to the new center field attractions.
Astros baseball is broadcast on KTRH's sister station, SportsTalk 790 -- the team's flagship.