The ballpark is Houstons first retractable-roofed stadium, and features a natural grass playing field. The ballpark was built as a replacement of the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium ever built and 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 capacity of 41,168. The largest entrance to the park is inside what was once Houstons Union Station, the train moves along a track on top of the length of the exterior wall beyond left field whenever an Astros player hits a home run and/or the Astros win a game. The engines coal car is filled with giant oranges in reference to Minute Maids most famous product, the location called for the demolition of several structures of Houston prominence. Horace Baldwin Rices residence and Adath Yeshurun Congregations synagogue among other structures were removed, with an original estimated cost of $1 million USD, Union Station was constructed by the American Construction Company for an eventual total of five times that amount. Exterior walls were constructed of granite, limestone, and terracotta and it was completed and opened on March 1,1911. At the time, Houston, with seventeen railways, was considered the railroad hub of the Southern United States. This is also evident by the Seal of Houston, which 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 greatly after World War II, and the last regularly-scheduled train, with this move, the building effectively 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, then leasing the Astrodome from Harris County, in reference to Pittsburghs Three Rivers Stadium and Cincinnatis 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, and now theyre saying theyre all bad and that they cant make a go of it without a new stadium. It helps, but there are other things involved, 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 Its 30 years old, according to the organization, the team was in danger of being sold to a Virginia businessman who was expected to move the Astros to Washington D. C. because of poor revenue. 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. This plan was considered to be nearly finalized when the Astros, in August 1996, Houstons Union Station received a $2 million USD grant from the Texas Transportation Commission for renovation in a separate project
Minute Maid Park
Exterior of Minute Maid Park at the intersection of Crawford Street and Texas Avenue
Minute Maid Park's train is visible from the exterior of the ballpark
ESPN's Sal Paolantonio talking to Tom Brady and Matt Ryan at Super Bowl LI Opening Night.