Astros stadium no better than mini-golf course - Justin Boron

I should have written this column a long time ago. Others have commented on the topic. And I have always felt this way. But I've only said it in the paper now – Minute Maid Park is the most absurd baseball field in the world.

Every time I've ever watched Houston play a game at home on television, I walk away not understanding a call or some play in the game because of circus-funhouse .

From its retractable roof to the hill at the base of the center field wall, the park is full of gimmicks that make a baseball purist want to vomit.

The Astros stint in the playoffs underscored how idiotic the stadium really is.

It was one thing to watch the Braves go down because of a home run that wasn't really a home run, but went over a yellow line.

Then there was all this talk about the roof and whether it was advantageous to one team or the other.

I'm not against domes or roofs. But why should whether it is open or closed matter so much. The logic behind the stadium roof is when the weather is bad, close it. When it's nice, open it.

What the Houston stadium reminds me of the most is that part of BASEketball when the narrator chronicles the fusion of sports like football and baseball. In one scene, you see an outfielder being hammered by a linebacker trying to prevent an out.

So when Orlando Palmeiro grounded out to Juan Uribe for the final out of the World Series, I half expected a spring-loaded, boxing glove to emerge from the dirt below him and punch Uribe in the face.

I'd really like to hear an explanation for the stadium's design.

Watching a center fielder go back for deep fly, I see that big mound leading up to the wall. It's almost as if the field's designers were taking advice from a group of kids fresh from one of Ronald McDonald's playgrounds. Why stop with the hill, how about a trampoline over the fence into a big ball pit?

Maybe they could even put a big bee right field that opens and closes its mouth. When someone hits a home run into it, nine times out of 10 it would spit it back out.

The stadium is so ridiculous that I think teams that beat the Astros at home deserve more than a win. They deserve a win and a half, plus they should get to pull a cord from the ceiling that dumps buckets of green sludge on the team.

I like a lot of the new stadiums. But Houston has just gone too far. Major League Baseball should force the team to get rid of its miniature golf sideshows and just make the stadium about baseball.

Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or jboron@news-daily.com .