SBD/Issue 31/Facilities & Venues

Minute Maid Park Roof Becomes Source Of Controversy For MLB

The World Series moves to Houston tonight for Game Three, and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that MLB, not the Astros, “will have final word on whether the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park will be open,” according to Brian McTaggart of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The league “prefers to keep it open, weather permitting.” Selig: “MLB controls the postseason, certainly the World Series. We haven’t gotten heavily involved in the debate. Our position is that we want teams to do what they do during the regular season.” McTaggart notes the Astros “prefer to have the roof closed ... to take advantage of the noise that can be created.” Astros GM Tim Purpura “was adamant last week the roof would stay closed the remainder of the postseason but backed off Monday.” Purpura: “It’s a cooperative effort between [MLB] and its clubs to put on the best show possible, and that’s what we’re trying to do” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25). As of presstime, weather.com forecasts a temperature of 63 degrees at 7:00pm CT, dropping to 54 degrees at 10:00pm (THE DAILY).

Selig Would Prefer To Keep Roof Open For Rest Of Games In Series

WHO MAKES THE CALL? ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported Selig “is expected to decide personally” whether the roof will be open or closed. The last time a retractable roof was involved in the World Series, in ’01, MLB “ordered the Diamondbacks to open their roof for all four games.” MLB VP/PR Pat Courtney said that Selig “has no particular preference — other than for consistency.” Courtney: “Bud just wants to make sure there’s a standard of practice involved so that what we’ve done in the past is done now and we’re not breaking new ground” (ESPN.com, 10/24). The AP’s Ronald Blum reports MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon will make the final decision. Solomon: “If it’s a nice day and no chance of precipitation and it’s not overly hot and humid, yeah, we’ll open the roof” (AP, 10/25). An MLB spokesperson said that league will make the decision “in concert with the Astros and even the White Sox” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/25). But Courtney said, “MLB has the final call” (NEWSDAY, 10/25). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes that “as a rule, the Astros close the roof when the temperature is 80 degrees or higher, as it usually is during the baseball season in Houston.” The team has played only two games since May with the roof open (N.Y. TIMES, 10/25).

DIPLOMACY: Purpura said, “There’s a continuity of conditions that the players have gotten used to and we certainly respect that. We also have to respect the fact that we have a roof for a reason, and that’s to open it for people to enjoy outdoor baseball. I think it cuts both ways.” Purpura added, “The World Series doesn’t belong just to the Houston Astros. It belongs to all of baseball. We take our cues quite a bit from [MLB] on how this show is produced” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/25).

Berkman (l) Expects Minute Maid
Park Roof To Be Open For TV
ASTROS PLAYERS SAY KEEP IT CLOSED: Astros 3B Morgan Ensberg, in his World Series diary for the HOUSTON CHRONICLE, writes, “I’m surprised that MLB would want to intervene. ... The roof is one of our advantages. We’ve earned the right to have at least a little of a home-field advantage” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25). Astros P Roy Oswalt, who is scheduled to start tonight, added, “It works for our advantage with the loudness of the crowd. I don’t think (MLB) should step in and tell us what to do in our field” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/25). Astros LF Lance Berkman: “Money drives everything. It’ll drive the roof open. For TV, they want a certain look for their commercials or pregame or something. They drive this sport with TV contracts. Looks like they’ll get their way” (MLB.com, 10/24). Astros C Brad Ausmus said MLB “trying to step in and close the roof just because they can get an aerial shot on television, frankly, doesn’t cut it.” Ensberg: “If [MLB] is involved in telling an owner to open or close the roof, you’re going to lose credibility” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25). Astros manager Phil Garner, when asked if the team should have the right to make the decision, replied, “You would think that, wouldn’t you?” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/25).

DIFFERENCE MAKER? The Astros’ winning percentage this season with the roof open is .577 (15-11), while it is .684 (39-18 including postseason) with the roof closed (Mult., 10/24).

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