Some big upgrades at Minute Maid Park this season, including a renovation of the Mazda Club Level and the installation of new field turf, as the Houston Astros make more changes for 2015.
What was formerly the ticket sales office on the third base side of the Mazda Club Level will become a high-end eating venue providing views from Texas Avenue to the field. In an effort to make Minute Maid Park a more family-friendly venue, the smoking areas will be consolidated to avoid close proximity to any areas designated for children, such as the Minute Maid Park Squeeze Play. Already in place on the Mazda Club Level are Virtuoso Machines, courtesy of Toshiba and Stargel, which provide an interactive experience for fans as they learn more about the Astros team, players, history and updated stats in real time.
“We are very excited to take another step in our ongoing effort to make the fan experience at Minute Maid Park one of the best in baseball,” said Astros Senior Vice President of Business Operations Marcel Braithwaite. “In 2012, we completely reconstructed the Diamond Club, followed by a major renovation of the main concourse’s concessions and retail locations in 2013. This next phase will bring a unified look to our ballpark as a whole and hopefully make every fan feel like he or she has the best seat in the house.”
The renovations to the Mazda Club Level will begin this fall, starting on the third base side and continuing on to the first base side during the winter months. Minute Maid Park will be open and available for events during the renovation process.
The Astros showed off these upgrades during exhibition games against the Kansas City Royals. They also showed off another big change for the 2015 season: new turf. From the team:
The new grass (Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE) was purchased from a farm in Georgia and then moved to a farm in Alabama for custom care in July. The sod was custom-grown to the Astros specifications, delivered and installed by the same crew that grew and installed the grass used at University of Phoenix Stadium for the 2015 Super Bowl.
26 truckloads of sod were delivered to Minute Maid Park and installed during a two-day period in March, following the Houston College Classic baseball tournament. Lasers were used to on the grading equipment to ensure a level and smooth surface.
The grass type (Seashore Paspalum), which has been used at Minute Maid Park since 2008, was selected due to its ability to handle time under the roof without sunlight.
Astros Senior Director of Major League Field Operations, Dan Bergstrom, has overseen the playing field at Minute Maid Park since 2004. Despite the challenges of working in a ballpark with a roof and the intense Houston summer heat, Bergstrom and his crew have maintained one of the most attractive playing fields in Major League Baseball. In 2013, Minute Maid Park was named “Texas Baseball Field of the Year” by the Texas Turfgrass Association.