03/24/11 9:14 PM ET
Astros unveil new high-definition scoreboard
By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com
As part of the $13 million in upgrades, a new secondary LED HD video board was installed in left field. Both boards are made by Daktronics. The ribbon boards are above the Club Level, spanning foul pole to foul pole and the outfield mezzanine area.
"This is revolutionary," said Astros chairman and CEO Drayton McLane. "It will make a big difference for our fans. It will make coming to the ballpark a lot more fun."
The Astros are taking advantage of available technology to enhance the fan experience at Minute Maid Park, which opened in 2000.
"Technology changes every year. We got the latest version," said McLane. "I think it's one of the best ballparks in America. It takes a lot of planning. It was a three-year effort and planning to get here."
At Thursday evening's on-field reception, the Astros also debuted the Insperity Club premium seating area that replaced the writers' press box on the main concourse behind home plate.
Astros president of business operations Pam Gardner described the preview as a "momentous occasion."
Also new to Minute Maid Park is a video control center that Astros broadcaster Jim Deshaies termed "the ultimate man cave."
The previous Astros video board was 26 feet high by 45 feet wide and has been replaced with two sponsor ad panels. Along with the main board, the new secondary video board in left field is above the seating area and in view of fans sitting on the right-field side. It, too, has 1080i HD quality.
Fans at Minute Maid Park also will see 500 new HD Sony televisions this season.
The general public will have an opportunity to experience Minute Maid Park's new features on April 8 when the Astros host the Florida Marlins in the Astros' home opener.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.