Astros to relocate signs in left field
Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said Tuesday the club plans to relocate the large signs above left field at Minute Maid Park that were put in place as part of its Community Leaders program to a spot that won’t block views of the train, skyline or fireworks.
Ryan said the signs would be lowered to a spot below the railroad tracks and above the left wall and left-center field walls. The signs will be moved by Opening Day.
We’ve listened to the fans,” he said. “This is a great program and it’s unlike any program that’s ever been launched in professional sports that we know of, and what we wanted to do is respect everybody. These corporate partners we have are doing some unbelievable things in the city.
“Fans appreciate the program, but what they want is to be able to see the train, see the fireworks, be able to see the skyline at night. Where the signs are located, it sort of took away from what are some of the best attributes of the stadium and the things that people have come to love over the years.”
Astros owner Jim Crane personally developed plan, which offered corporations the opportunity to partner with the Astros and the Astros In Action Foundation to become part of a team to improve baseball and softball fields in inner-city neighborhoods.
Through its corporate partnerships, the Community Leaders program will ultimately contribute $18 million to the city of Houston over a five-year period for youth baseball and softball programs at zero cost to the city’s taxpayers. The program will provides money for equipment, uniforms and more. The businesses that took part were recognized with their logo on large signs that went up at the ballpark in 2012.
Community Leaders is a five-year program, which matches the corporation’s employees along with wounded veterans as volunteers in the build, refurbishment, and guest services that go along with the plan. Employees volunteer as coaches or mentors at the park, some of which will also be providing wellness and education programs for their patrons.
Ryan said the businesses who are part of the program agreed to the move, along with the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority.
“It will be much higher visibility for them on a nightly basis,” Ryan said. “It sort of helps us wins with the fans that appreciate attributes of the stadiums they had in the past. It helps win with the program.”
The team will also build a Community Leaders interactive education zone in Home Run Alley on the concourse so fans can see the results of the field renovations with a map of where the fields are located, as well as providing information on future renovations and the corporate partners.
“What we’ve done is come up with a win-win for everybody that lets us take this program to the next level,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of like Community Leaders 2.0 in the fact that it’s off to a great start and these tweaks we’re making to the program are going to make it that much better, and moving the signs are part of the overall, ‘How do we make this better for everybody?’”