In baseball, the dugout is a team's bench and is located in foul territory between home plate and either first or third base. There are one for the home team and one for the visiting team. In general, the dugout is occupied by all players not prescribed to be on the field at that particular time, as well as coaches and other personnel authorized by the league; the players' equipment are stored in the dugout. In baseball, the manager, with the help of his assistants, will dictate offensive strategy from the dugout by sending hand signals to the first and third base coaches. To avoid detection, the first and third base coaches will translate those hand signals into their own set of hand signals and send them on to the batter and runners; the term dugout refers to the area being depressed below field level, as is common in professional baseball. The prevailing theory of the origin of locating the dugouts below field level is that it allowed spectators seated behind the dugouts to see the field the home plate area.
Unlike most other sports, the primary action in baseball is centered on one area – home plate – and obstructing this area from fans' view if by players on the bench, would not be popular with fans. Not all dugouts are located below the field level. At the major league level, the few dugouts that are located at the field level are in multi-purpose stadiums to simplify the conversion from baseball configuration to another sports field configuration. At such ballparks, the seating area is raised such that the dugouts do not obstruct the spectators' view. Dugouts are at field level at most amateur ballparks, where locating them below field level would be cost prohibitive or otherwise not beneficial. In these cases, the term "dugout" still applies, as does "bench." In the early days of professional baseball, the seating areas were constructed high enough that the bench was at field level. Most professional and collegiate ballparks feature dugouts that are below the field level, with concrete steps along the entire length of the dugout.
Some feature a railing along "lip", while others are open. In most Major League Baseball ballparks, as well as many minor league ballparks, the dugout is directly connected to the clubhouse by a tunnel. Most high school, Little League, recreational ballparks feature dugouts that are at the field level separated from the playing field by chain-link fencing. Historic Cardines Field, home of the Newport Gulls, uniquely features both dugouts on the first base side. MLB rule 3.17 specifies that "no one except players, managers, athletic trainers and batboys shall occupy a bench during a game." The rule stipulates that players on the disabled list are allowed in the dugout, but may not enter the field of play at any time during the game. Players and coaches who have been ejected from the game may not remain in the dugout per Rule 4.07. Unlike most other sports, where a ball or puck entering a team's bench area has passed out of bounds and is thus dead before it reaches the bench, it is possible in baseball for a dugout to be a factor in play.
MLB rule 6.05 states that a fielder may reach into a dugout to catch a fly ball as long as one or both feet is on or over the playing field, does not have a foot on the ground in the dugout when making the catch. MLB universal ground rules state that the player may subsequently enter the dugout after making the catch if his momentum is carrying him that way, but if he falls in the dugout as a result, the catch is allowed but baserunners advance in accordance with Rule 7.04. A live ball entering a dugout becomes dead and the batter-runner and any baserunners advance in accordance with Rule 7.04. However, a live ball bouncing off a dugout railing, if present, is still in play. Due to the dugouts' location in foul territory, live balls entering dugouts only occur after an errant throw by the defensive team. Individual leagues at levels below MLB are free to set their own rules governing the dugouts as is appropriate for their league's ballparks and playing level. For example, the rule governing reaching into dugouts to catch fly balls would not apply in leagues where the dugouts are separated from the field by a chain-link fence, taller than the players.
Which team occupies the dugout on the first-base side or the third-base side is purely arbitrary. The Major League Baseball Rulebook is silent on the subject. There are many anecdotal reasons. In the past, the manager served as the third base coach, so occupying the third base dugout meant less walking for the manager between innings. Contrarily, the thought is that since more close plays occur at first base than third, the first base dugout is preferred. For a pre-existing facility, the home team might choose the better clubhouse and the dugout on that side of the field. Another factor can be the sun angle during day games. In ballparks where one of the dugouts faces direct sunlight for much of the game, which can be problematic on hot summer days, the home club might choose the dugout, better shaded. In both the National League and American League, more home team dugouts are on the first-base side; the two oldest parks still in use differ on this point: the Cubs sit on the third-base side at Wrigley while the Red Sox inhabit the first-base dugout at Fenway.
Due to the ballpark's orientation, at Wrigley the third-base dugout faces away from the sun from noon onward, whereas the firs
The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the National League Central division; the team plays its home games at Wrigley Field, located on the city's North Side. The Cubs are one of two major league teams in Chicago; the Cubs, first known as the White Stockings, were a founding member of the NL in 1876, becoming the Chicago Cubs in 1903. The Cubs have appeared in a total of eleven World Series; the 1906 Cubs won 116 games, finishing 116–36 and posting a modern-era record winning percentage of.763, before losing the World Series to the Chicago White Sox by four games to two. The Cubs won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908, becoming the first major league team to play in three consecutive World Series, the first to win it twice. Most the Cubs won the 2016 National League Championship Series and 2016 World Series, which ended a 71-year National League pennant drought and a 108-year World Series championship drought, both of which are record droughts in Major League Baseball.
The 108-year drought was the longest such occurrence in all major North American sports. Since the start of divisional play in 1969, the Cubs have appeared in the postseason nine times through the 2017 season; the Cubs are known as "the North Siders", a reference to the location of Wrigley Field within the city of Chicago, in contrast to the White Sox, whose home field is located on the South Side. The Cubs have multiple rivalries. There is a divisional rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals, a newer rivalry with the Milwaukee Brewers and an interleague rivalry with the Chicago White Sox; the Cubs began playing in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings, joining the National League in 1876 as a charter member. Owner William Hulbert signed multiple star players, such as pitcher Albert Spalding and infielders Ross Barnes, Deacon White, Adrian "Cap" Anson, to join the team prior to the N. L.'s first season. The White Stockings played their home games at West Side Grounds and established themselves as one of the new league's top teams.
Spalding won forty-seven games and Barnes led the league in hitting at.429 as Chicago won the first National League pennant, which at the time was the game's top prize. After back-to-back pennants in 1880 and 1881, Hulbert died, Spalding, who had retired to start Spalding sporting goods, assumed ownership of the club; the White Stockings, with Anson acting as player-manager, captured their third consecutive pennant in 1882, Anson established himself as the game's first true superstar. In 1885 and'86, after winning N. L. pennants, the White Stockings met the champions of the short-lived American Association in that era's version of a World Series. Both seasons resulted in matchups with the St. Louis Brown Stockings, with the clubs tying in 1885 and with St. Louis winning in 1886; this was the genesis of what would become one of the greatest rivalries in sports. In all, the Anson-led Chicago Base Ball Club won six National League pennants between 1876 and 1886; as a result, Chicago's club nickname transitioned, by 1890 they had become known as the Chicago Colts, or sometimes "Anson's Colts", referring to Cap's influence within the club.
Anson was the first player in history credited with collecting 3,000 career hits. After a disappointing record of 59–73 and a ninth-place finish in 1897, Anson was released by the Cubs as both a player and manager. Due to Anson's absence from the club after 22 years, local newspaper reporters started to refer to the Colts as the "Orphans". After the 1900 season, the American Base-Ball League formed as a rival professional league, incidentally the club's old White Stockings nickname would be adopted by a new American League neighbor to the south. In 1902, who by this time had revamped the roster to boast what would soon be one of the best teams of the early century, sold the club to Jim Hart; the franchise was nicknamed the Cubs by the Chicago Daily News in 1902, although not becoming the Chicago Cubs until the 1907 season. During this period, which has become known as baseball's dead-ball era, Cub infielders Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance were made famous as a double-play combination by Franklin P. Adams' poem Baseball's Sad Lexicon.
The poem first appeared in the July 1910 edition of the New York Evening Mail. Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, Jack Taylor, Ed Reulbach, Jack Pfiester, Orval Overall were several key pitchers for the Cubs during this time period. With Chance acting as player-manager from 1905 to 1912, the Cubs won four pennants and two World Series titles over a five-year span. Although they fell to the "Hitless Wonders" White Sox in the 1906 World Series, the Cubs recorded a record 116 victories and the best winning percentage in Major League history. With the same roster, Chicago won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908, becoming the first Major League club to play three times in the Fall Classic and the first to win it twice. However, the Cubs would not win another World Series until 2016; the next season, veteran catcher Johnny Kling left the team to become a professional pocket billiards player. Some historians think Kling's absence was significant enough to prevent the Cubs from winning a third straight title in 1909, as they finished 6 games out of first place.
When Kling returned the next year, the Cubs won the pennant again, but lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1910 World Series. In 1914, adver
Chase Field Bank One Ballpark, is a baseball park located in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It is the home of the city's Major League Baseball franchise, it opened in time for the Diamondbacks' first game as an expansion team. Chase Field was the first stadium built in the United States with a retractable roof over a natural-grass playing surface, replaced by synthetic turf before the 2019 season; the park was built during a wave of baseball-only parks in the 1990s. Although nearly all of these parks were open-air, it was taken for granted that a domed stadium was a must for a major-league team to be a viable venture in the Phoenix area. Phoenix is by far the hottest major city in North America. In the spring of 1994, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a quarter percentage point increase in the county sales tax to pay for their portion of the stadium funding; this came about at a time that the county itself was facing huge budget deficits and lack of funding for other services. The sales tax being levied was unpopular with local citizens, who were not allowed to vote on the issue of funding a baseball stadium with general sales tax revenue.
The issue was so controversial and divisive that in August 1997, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox was shot and injured while leaving a county board meeting by Larry Naman, a homeless man, who attempted to argue in court that her support for the tax justified his attack. In May 1998, Naman was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder. Costs for the stadium were estimated at $279 million in 1995, but cost overruns pushed the final price to $364 million; as part of the original stadium deal, the Diamondbacks were responsible for all construction costs above $253 million. These extra expenses, combined with the Diamondbacks and their fellow expansion franchise, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, not being allowed to share in the national MLB revenue for their first 5 years of operations, left the Diamondbacks in a less-than-desirable financial situation, which would come back to haunt team founder and managing partner Jerry Colangelo and his group on. Construction on the park began in 1996, was finished just before the Diamondbacks' first season began, in 1998.
It was the third MLB stadium to have the first in the United States. It was the first ballpark to feature natural grass in a retractable roof stadium; the stadium hosted Games 1, 2, 6, 7 of the 2001 World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees. The Diamondbacks won all four home games, winning the world championship in seven games, thus denying the Yankees a fourth consecutive championship, it was the first time since 1991. The only other incident was 1987, both by the Minnesota Twins. Chase Field was named Bank One Ballpark after Bank One of Chicago, giving rise to its nickname "BOB". After Bank One merged with New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. the name change was announced on September 23, 2005. In March 2006, Chase Field played host to three first-round games of the World Baseball Classic. Chase Field hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2011. Chase Field hosted the 2017 National League Wild Card Game between the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies; this was the D-Backs' first appearance in the postseason as a Wild Card team.
The D-Backs won 11-8 and advanced to the 2017 NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers but were swept in three games. Game 3 was held at Chase Field, when the D-Backs lost 3-1. Chase Field has a swimming pool that located in right-center field, rented to patrons as a suite holding 35 guests for $3,500 per game during the 2011 season. Mark Grace was the first player to hit a home run into the pool. In addition to baseball, the pool has been used by Monster Jam's Jim Koehler to continue his tradition of swimming after Freestyle; the ballpark featured a dirt strip between home plate and the pitcher's mound. This dirt strip, sometimes known as the "keyhole", was common in old-time ballparks; the dirt strip was removed when synthetic turf was installed in 2019. The park's foul territory is somewhat larger. With 80% of the seats in foul territory, the upper deck is one of the highest in the majors; the park's suites are tucked far under the third deck, which keeps the upper deck closer to the action, with the exception of their Dugout Suites which sit next to the home and visitor's dugouts.
Before the 2008 season began, a brand new High Definition scoreboard was installed beyond center field, replacing the original. The new scoreboard is 46 ft high and 136 ft wide and it cost $14 million, it is the fifth largest HD screen in Major League Baseball behind Kauffman Stadium. The screen at Kauffman is larger by overall area and is square in shape but Chase Field's screen is larger by length and is rectangular. Premium seating includes 4,400 club seats, 57 suites, 6 party suites, Executive suite, batters box suite, two dugout suites, the Party Pool; the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers game on April 2, 2018 lasted for five hours and 46 minutes in 15 innings, the longest running g
Tropicana Field commonly known as The Trop, is a domed stadium located in St. Petersburg, United States, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball since the team's inaugural season in 1998; the stadium is used for college football, from December 2008 to December 2017 was the home of the St. Petersburg Bowl, an annual postseason bowl game, it is the only non-retractable domed stadium in Major League Baseball, making it the only year-round indoor venue in MLB. Tropicana Field is the smallest MLB stadium by seating capacity when obstructed-view rows in the uppermost sections are covered with tarps as they are for most Rays games. Tropicana Field opened in 1990 and was known as the Florida Suncoast Dome. In 1993, the Tampa Bay Lightning moved to the facility and its name was changed to the ThunderDome until the team moved to their new home in downtown Tampa in 1996. In October 1996, Tropicana Products, a fruit juice company based in nearby Bradenton, signed a 30-year naming rights deal.
After Tampa was awarded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Rowdies in the 1970s, St. Petersburg decided it wanted a share of the professional sports scene in Tampa Bay, it was decided early on. Possible designs for a baseball park or multi-purpose stadium were proposed as early as 1983. One such design, in the same location where Tropicana Field would be built, called for an open-air stadium with a circus tent-like covering, it took several design cues including fountains beyond the outfield wall. It was decided that a stadium with a fixed permanent dome was necessary for a prospective major league team to be viable in the area, due to its hot, humid summers and frequent thunderstorms. Ballpark construction began in 1986 in the hope that it would lure a Major League Baseball team to the facility; the stadium, built as the Florida Suncoast Dome, was first used in an attempt to entice the Chicago White Sox to relocate if a new ballpark was not built to replace the aging Comiskey Park. The governments of Chicago and Illinois agreed to build a new Comiskey Park in 1989.
The stadium was finished in 1990. It hosted the 1990 Davis Cup Finals that autumn, as well as several rock concerts, but still had no tenants; the venue helped make St. Petersburg a finalist in the MLB expansion for 1993, but it lost out to Miami and Denver. There were rumors of the Seattle Mariners moving in the early part of the 1990s, the San Francisco Giants came close to moving to the area, with Tampa Bay investors announcing they were, in a press conference in 1992. However, the sale was blocked by National League owners, who voted against the sale and move in November 1992 under pressure from San Francisco officials and the then-owner of the Florida Marlins, Blockbuster Video Chairman H. Wayne Huizenga. A local boycott of Blockbuster Video stores occurred for several years thereafter; the Suncoast Dome got a regular tenant in 1991, when the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm made their debut. Two years the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning made the stadium their home for three seasons.
In the process, the Suncoast Dome was renamed the ThunderDome. Because of the large capacity of what was a park built for baseball, several NHL and AFL attendance records were set during the Lightning and Storm's tenures there. In 1995, the ThunderDome received a baseball team when MLB expanded to the Tampa Bay area. Changes were made to the stadium and its naming rights were sold to Tropicana Products, who renamed it Tropicana Field in 1996; the completion of what is now Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa permitted "The Trop" to be vacated for preparation for its intended purpose, as the Lightning and Storm moved into that facility. A US$70 million renovation took place—to upgrade a stadium that had cost $130 million to complete only eight years earlier. Ebbets Field was the model for the renovations, which included a replica of the famous rotunda that greeted Dodger fans for many years; the first regular season baseball game took place at the park on March 31, 1998, when the Devil Rays faced the Detroit Tigers, losing 11–6.
Although Tropicana was purchased by PepsiCo in 1998, PepsiCo did not elect to make any changes to Tropicana's naming rights. The park was built with an AstroTurf surface, but it was replaced in 2000 by softer FieldTurf. A new version of FieldTurf, FieldTurf Duo, was installed prior to the 2007 season, it has always featured a traditional "full dirt" infield, instead of the "sliding pits" design, common during the 1970s and 1980s, making it the first artificial turf field with a full dirt infield since Busch Stadium II in 1976. Since Tropicana Field does not need to convert between baseball and football, sliding pits, designed to save re-configuration time, were unnecessary; the only other artificial turf field in MLB, Rogers Centre in Toronto, converted to the full dirt infield after the departure of the Toronto Argonauts to BMO Field. Tropicana has hosted football games, but never during baseball season. On August 6, 2007, the AstroTurf warning track was replaced by brown-colored stone filled FieldTurf Duo.
Tropicana Field underwent a further $25 million facelift prior to the 2006 season. Another $10 million in improvements was added during the season. In 2006, the Devil Rays added a live Cownose ray tank to Tropicana Field; the tank is located just in clear view of the play on the field. People can go up to the tank to touch the creatures. Further improvements prior to the 2007 offseason, in addition to the new FieldTurf, include additional family features in the right field area, the creation of a new premium club, and
A baseball field called a ball field, sandlot or a baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball is played. The term can be used as a metonym for a baseball park. Unless otherwise noted, the specifications discussed in this section refer to those described within the Official Baseball Rules, under which Major League Baseball is played; the starting point for much of the action on the field is home plate, a five-sided slab of whitened rubber, 17 inches square with two of the corners removed so that one edge is 17 inches long, two adjacent sides are 8.5 inches and the remaining two sides are 12 inches and set at an angle to make a point. The plate is set into the ground such. Adjacent to each of the two parallel 8.5-inch sides is a batter's box. The point of home plate where the two 12-inch sides meet at right angles is at one corner of a 90-foot square; the other three corners of the square, in counterclockwise order from home plate, are called first and third base. Three canvas or rubber bases 15 inches square and 3–5 inches in thickness made of soft material mark the three bases.
Near the center of the square is an artificial hill known as the pitcher's mound, atop, a white rubber slab known as the pitcher's plate, colloquially the "rubber." The specifications for the pitcher's mound are described below. All the bases, including home plate, lie within fair territory. Thus, any batted ball that touches those bases must be in fair territory. While the first and third base bags are placed so that they lie inside the 90-foot square formed by the bases, the second base bag is placed so that its center coincides with the "point" of the ninety-foot square. Thus, although the "points" of the bases are 90 feet apart, the physical distance between each successive pair of base markers is closer to 88 feet; the lines from home plate to first and third bases extend to the nearest fence, stand or other obstruction and are called the foul lines. The portion of the playing field between the foul lines is fair territory; the area within the square formed by the bases is called the infield, though colloquially this term includes fair territory in the vicinity of the square.
Most baseball fields are enclosed with a fence. The fence is set at a distance ranging from 300 to 420 feet from home plate. Most professional and college baseball fields have a right and left foul pole; these poles are at the intersection of the foul lines and the respective ends of the outfield fence and, unless otherwise specified within the ground rules, lie in fair territory. Thus, a batted ball that passes over the outfield wall in flight and touches the foul pole is a fair ball and the batter is awarded a home run. First base is the first of four bases that must be touched by a player on the batting team in order to score a run. Unlike when an offensive player reaches second or third base, it is permissible for a batter-runner to overrun first base without being in jeopardy of being put out. After contact is made with the base, the batter-runner may slow down and return to first base at his leisure, so long as he makes no move or attempt to advance to second base; the first baseman is the defensive player responsible for the area near first base.
A professional first baseman is a slow runner and tall. A tall first baseman presents a large target to which other fielders can throw, his height gives him a larger range in reaching and catching errant throws. Players who are left-handed are marginally preferable for first base because: first, it is easier for a left-handed fielder to catch a pick-off throw from the pitcher and tag the baserunner. A right-handed first baseman must, when setting himself up to receive a throw from an infielder, execute a half-pivot near the base. There are three infield positions that can only be occupied by right-handed players: 2nd base, 3rd base, shortstop; this is. It takes a left-handed thrower more time to make that pivot and in the fast-paced major league game, that time is critical; as a result, there are fewer positions a left-handed player can occupy, if that player is not fast, the outfield may not be a good fit. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the first baseman is assigned the number 3.
Second base is the second of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a base runner in order to score a run for that player's team. Second base is defended by the second baseman and the shortstop. Second base is known as the keystone sack. A runner on second base is said to be in "scoring position," owing to the high likelihood of reaching home plate and scoring a run from second base on most base hits. Since second is the farthest base from home plate, it is the most common target of base stealing. Ideally, the second baseman and shortstop possess quick hands and feet and the ability to release the ball and with accuracy. One will cover second base when the other attempts to field the ball. Both players must communicate well to be able to make a double play. Particular agility is required of the second baseman in double play situations, which forces the player to t
Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park known as The Ballpark at Union Station, Enron Field, Astros Field, is a ballpark in Downtown Houston, United States, that opened in 2000 to house the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball. The ballpark is Houston's first retractable-roofed stadium, features a natural grass playing field; the ballpark was built as a replacement of the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium built, which opened in 1965. It is named for beverage brand Minute Maid, a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, which acquired naming rights in 2002 for $100 million over 30 years; as of 2016, Minute Maid Park has a seating capacity of 41,168, which includes 5,197 club seats and 63 luxury suites. In 1909, during the time when West End Park was Houston's premier ballpark, the Houston Belt and Terminal Railway Company commissioned the design of a new union station for the city from New York City-based architects Warren and Wetmore; the location called for the demolition of several structures of Houston prominence.
Horace Baldwin Rice's residence and Adath Yeshurun Congregation's synagogue among other structures were removed. With an original estimated cost of US$1 million, Union Station was constructed by the American Construction Company for an eventual total of five times that amount. Exterior walls were constructed of granite and terracotta, while the interior used an extensive amount of marble, it was completed and opened on March 1, 1911. At the time, with seventeen railways, was considered the main railroad hub of the Southern United States; this is evident by the Seal of Houston, which prominently features a locomotive. Two more floors were added the following year; the station served as the main inter-city passenger terminal for Houston for over seven decades thereafter. Passenger rail declined after World War II, the last regularly-scheduled train, the Lone Star, moved its service to Houston's current Amtrak station on July 31, 1974. With this move, the building became abandoned. On November 10, 1977, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.
In August 1995, Astros owner Drayton McLane leasing the Astrodome from Harris County, commented to the Houston Chronicle that he was not in the market for a new ballpark. In reference to Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium and Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, McLane noted, " I remember when those were built in the 1970s and those were as good a stadiums as there were, they were the most modern stadiums in the world, now they're saying they're all bad. That they can't make a go of it without a new stadium, it helps, but there are other things involved."Later that year, Houston's NFL franchise and joint-tenant of the Astrodome, the Houston Oilers, announced that they were leaving to Nashville, Tennessee in order to have a new stadium built for the team there. Citing a lack of adequate luxury boxes, in October, Astros Vice-President Bob McClaren claimed that renovations to the Astrodome would help increase revenue. Drayton McLane pointed toward Astrodome renovations as necessary saying "It's 30 years old and not a lot of money has been spent to remodel it."
According to the organization, the team was in danger of being sold to a Virginia businessman, expected to move the Astros to Washington D. C. because of poor revenue. In June 1996, University of Houston alumnus, BMC Software and San Diego Padres owner, John J. Moores, who wanted to own the next NFL franchise in Houston, met with Texas State Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr. and other local Hispanic leaders in regards to the future of a football-only Astrodome and a new baseball-only ballpark in Downtown Houston. Meanwhile, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels pieced together a plan to build a new ballpark next to the Astrodome in the Astrodomain; the Astros echoed the Astrodomain location sentiment because they believed construction time would be shorter. Eckels, who convinced Mayor Bob Lanier of the lack of viability for the ballpark in a downtown location, was quoted as saying, "They keep telling me about these miracles in other cities, but it doesn't work in Houston If we are going to put this stadium some place, let's stick with a proven place."
This plan was considered to be nearly finalized when the Astros and Harris County agreed to a US$250 million county-funded stadium whose overrun costs would be funded by the Astros. In August 1996, Houston's Union Station received a US$2 million grant from the Texas Transportation Commission for renovation in a separate project. Plans for the new ballpark's location drastically changed by September in response to Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay's input and pledge to contribute to funding if placed downtown, it was at this time. Upon an agreement between all of the leadership entities, the idea of a retractable roof stadium was confirmed for the new ballpark. A November referendum was planned for Harris County residents to approve the deal; the Harris County referendum that took place on November 5, 1996, to help fund the ballpark passed by a narrow margin of 51% to 49%. In response to the referendum, during the 75th Texas Legislature Texas State Senator John Whitmire of Houston sponsored a bill supported by five of the six area Harris County senators that would create the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority.
With companion House Bill 92 authored by Houston-born Representative Kim Brimer voted upon and adopted by both chambers, the authorization for creation of a sports authority was approved. It was signed into law by Governor George W. Bush on June 2, 1997; the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority would assist in financing for the new ballpark as well as allow for renovation of the Astrodome by allowing for special