Minute Maid roof secure if storm hits
Astros take precautions as Tropical Storm Edouard nears
CHICAGO -- Tropical Storm Edouard may be headed for Houston, and the Astros had some work to do at Minute Maid Park on Monday afternoon to protect the building -- more specifically, the roof -- against a weather-related disaster.
Club owner Drayton McLane, who is with the team in Chicago, received word from president of business operations Pam Gardner a few hours before the Astros-Cubs opener at Wrigley Field that the elaborate task of tying the roof down and sandbagging the building was complete.
"They're taking all the precautions they can, to get ready for it," McLane said.
Edouard, according to reports, may strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of 74 to 95 mph, before hitting landfall near or on Galveston island sometime Tuesday.
As of mid-afternoon Monday, the winds rose to 45 mph. The storm's center was located about 135 miles south-southeast of Lafayette, La., and more than 200 miles east-southeast of Galveston.
The Astros have been through this before. In 2005, they secured the roof and ballpark before the arrival of Hurricane Rita, which was deemed a Category 5 as it headed in Houston's direction.
Hurricane Rita destroyed much of the coasts along southeast Texas and Louisiana, but Houston, and Minute Maid Park, were spared. Still, the threat of extensive damage had the front office staff preparing for the worst. In '05, Gardner and several stadium officials spent the night at Minute Maid Park, and this year, McLane expects Bobby Forrest, vice president of facilities operations, to do the same.
"He and his crew will stay there all night," McLane said.
Still, it would be a stretch to say the Astros are panicking. Edouard's moving at a considerably slower pace than Rita, which caused $11.3 billion in damage and killed several people.
"The last time, it was predicted to be more than 100 miles an hour," McLane said. "They don't think it will get 60-80 miles an hour this time. Everybody's concern in Houston, the biggest problem, could be flooding."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.