The Astros may get rid of Tal’s Hill and that train


Tal’s Hill is that little hill in center field at Minute Maid Park. It probably represents the dumbest flair-for-the-sake-of-flair design element of any ballpark in baseball. And, based on Zach Levine’s report in the Houston Chronicle, it may be gone soon, along with that train above the outfield:

Add the train high above left field to Tal’s Hill on the list of Minute Maid Park quirks potentially on the chopping block.

Owner Jim Crane said Wednesday that the club will weigh removing both features before next year when it moves to the American League and rebrands.

“Those are two things people question me about all the time and those are logical,” Crane said. ”We’re going to do our marketing research. We’re going to study it.”

The train could stay or go, who cares. But if there is market research that supports keeping a freaking hill on the playing field, I submit that such research should be ignored.

Bob Uecker is basically indestructible

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Tom Haurdicourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a story about beloved Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker’s frighteningly eventful offseason that’s definitely worth a read.

The frightening part: Uecker got bit by a brown recluse spider last October. He didn’t realize it at first and happened to show the bite to a doctor a couple of days later. The doctor realized how serious it was — brown recluses can kill people — and Uecker was rushed off to surgery. He’s fine now, back in the Brewers booth and actually joking about the spider bite.

The incident, though, leads Haudricourt to chronicle all of Uecker’s health issues over the years and the list is fairly amazing. I mean, we’ve written about some of his more recent health issues on this site, but I was unaware of just how many potentially fatal ailments Uecker has dealt with and beat in the past 25-30 years or so. Not that he’s too fazed by it all:

“I know I’m lucky. I’ve had 11 major surgeries overall. But, through all of that stuff, I made some unbelievable friends. All those doctors at Froedtert [Hospital]. We’re all friends now. So, a lot of good came out of it.”

That’s quite the perspective.

Uecker is 84. Counting his playing career he’s entering his 63rd year in baseball. He’s still one of the best, if not the best, broadcasters going. Thank goodness he wasn’t stopped by a spider of all things. Here’s hoping he keeps going for many more years to come.