Date: Monday July 31, 7:10pm
Teams: Houston Astros vs. Tampa Rays
Ticket(s): Section 406, Row 9, Seat 13 ($9 at the box office)
Miles Driven: 8,374
Average Ticket Cost Through 16 Games: $10.33
One of the last three remaining big drives, Phoenix to Houston, is in the books.* About 1,400 miles over the course of 4 days. The drive was split into four parts:
- Phoenix to White Sands National Monument.
- White Sands to Guadalupe Mountains/Carlsbad Caverns
- GM/CC to Fort Stockton, TX
- Fort Stockton, TX to Austin, TX
Then, the morning of the Monday Astros game, I finished off with the relatively short 90 mile drive from Austin to Houston, picking up my brother at the airport.
*The others: Arlington to the Colorado Springs area and Miami to Washington, D.C.
We had some time to burn before checking into a hotel, so we went down and checked out the Rice University campus. I was a big fan of the campus, but a little less of the Rice Village area. We then checked in and headed down town and explored for a bit.
Minute Maid is pretty great. Built four years after Chase Field, it’s pretty clear that they improved upon the retractable roof stadium mistakes of Chase. Minute Maid has a ton of character, even without the hill in center field.
The roof was closed, which was a bit of a surprise for a high-80s night game. I guess if you have the ability to play the game at perfect conditions, why play it at OK conditions? Luckily, you still were able to see out into the city a bit towards left field. It seems to me most stadiums have their big scoreboards in either centerfield or left field – could be wrong on that. So, it was interesting and a little disorienting to have the major video board in right field.
There’s also a ton of little details I love about Minute Maid. Like old school bulb score boards in the concourse of the right field seats. Or the fact that their hitter background isn’t a black tarp for green wall.
We never really approached our seats, first sitting in the first couple rows behind home plate in the upper level. We then made our way to the standing room area next to the Home Run gas pump. What a cool place to watch the game from! The semi-circle platform actually hangs over the field. A few Astros home runs later had us moving down to the right field lower level. We eyed some front row seats and were able to easily move into them for a few innings before watching the end of the game in field level, third baseline.
We’re on the road, heading to Dallas-Fort Worth for the Yu Darvish-less Texans. Just an easy four hours on the road this time… Following that, two days to get up to Denver for the Rockies on Friday night.