Thursday June 4th, 2015

The Houston Astros plan to remove “Tal's Hill” in centerfield and move the outfield fences in as part of a $15 million renovation at Minute Maid Park, the team announced Thursday.

“This is one of our big projects we knew we wanted to do,” owner Jim Crane told “We did a lot of studies on other ballparks on the entertainment areas in center field and ours is very outdated over the life of the stadium, which has been great.”

The project is part of a larger renovation of the centerfield seating area that is expected to be completed by the start of the 2016 season. The Astros will add three new bars and four food locations, along with a field-level group seating area. 

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The Astros also released renderings of what they expect the new area to look like.

The 90-foot-wide hill has a 30-degree slope and has been in place since the stadium opened in 2000. At the top of the hill is a flagpole that is in the field of play, an homage to earlier ballparks such as Yankee Stadium and Tiger Stadium.  

The centerfield wall is currently 436 feet from home plate, the farthest distance in the major leagues. It will be moved in to 409 feet.

The Astros said last fall they were considering removing the hill but had yet to make a final decision. Crane also said in 2012 that the team had thought about razing the hill. 

- Dan Gartland

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