Astros officials: Minute Maid 'playable'
Park in strong shape after Ike; site for Cubs series up in air
HOUSTON -- Minute Maid Park made it through Hurricane Ike without any structural damage, and now it's just a matter of waiting to see if the Astros will host games this weekend.
Astros president of business operations Pam Gardner said the club is still examining the ballpark, but by all accounts, it's playable.
"The building did what it was designed to do," Gardner said. "We're still assessing the damage, but there's nothing substantial at this point that we've been able to identify. There's water in the building in a couple of places, but it's minor."
The ballpark was built to be able to sustain hurricane-force winds, and it did just that. The glass-paneling wall that extends from left field to center field was unscathed, and although Astros officials haven't yet looked at the top of the roof, Gardner is confident that part of Minute Maid Park also made it through largely unharmed.
The Astros are continuing dialogue with the Commissioner's Office and the Players Association to determine where the Astros-Cubs series will be played, and when. Miller Park in Milwaukee emerged as a possibility as a host site for the three-game set, which was supposed to begin at Minute Maid Park on Friday.
If the Astros and Cubs traveled to Miller Park, they'd likely play one game Sunday and a doubleheader on Monday, an off-day for both teams.
But the Astros want to play the games in Houston if possible, but while the ballpark is playable, conditions around Houston -- where more than 80 percent of residents have no power -- may make it impossible to play the series at home. Many areas of downtown Houston, however, appear to have power.
Should the series move to Milwaukee, the Astros may have a difficult time getting out of town, considering steady rain continues to blanket the city and may not subside for several hours.
A final decision is expected mid-afternoon on Saturday.
"If we had to play a game, we could play a game," Gardner said. "It is what it is. It's the situation downtown. You have to assess the whole picture.
"We've got Sunday and Monday. If we can get in one game or two games or even three over two days, it is possible. We'll keep assessing and make sure we make the right decision."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.