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Enron Field at Union Station opened on March 30, 2000 as the new home of the Houston Astros with much fanfare. Everyone in Houston seems to love the new yard, except for 25. The players. So far the extremely hitter-friendly Enron has not been friendly to the Astros hitters, and the team is well under .500 at home. While centerfield is a comfortable 433 feet away from the plate, left field is a little league-esque 315 feet from home, and has been playing much shorter than that in the early part of the season.
While the team may not be enthralled with Enron, the fans love it. It's capacity of just over 40,000 its small enough to make sure the place is just about filled every night, but is big enough to make for a raucous crowd when the 'Stros are doing well. There isn't a bad seat in the house, and the lower level is much closer to the action than were the seats in the Astrodome. There are also a lot of interesting quirks that make Enron unique, besides the record-setting pace at which balls are being sent over the fence. There is a steep incline in deep center, which hasn't come into play yet, but is sure to at some point considering the sluggers in the NL Central. In play on this hill is a flagpole, a trait taken from old Tiger Stadium. The stadium also has plenty of modern facets, including a train on the left field wall that moves along its tracks when the home team homers and the all-important retractable roof.
Owner Drayton McLane Jr. said he needed a new stadium to increase revenue in order to field a competitive team. Well, he has a new stadium and increased revenue, but during last offseason he decided to make his team less competitive by trading his best pitcher and arguably his best hitter. The loss of LHP Mike Hampton and centerfielder Carl Everett has left the team very weak on the mound and much less potent at the plate. Enron's cozy fences put a premium on starting pitching, and the loss of Hampton has especially hurt the Astros. Perhaps the team is just struggling early, but the fact that the new stadium was not at all built for this team is certainly not helping.