Scioscia glad Tal's Hill will be leveled

Angels manager said center-field mound at Minute Maid Park was 'injury risk'

Scioscia glad Tal's Hill will be leveled

HOUSTON -- Don't count Mike Scioscia as a fan of Tal's Hill in center field at Minute Maid Park.

When informed by a reporter on Thursday afternoon that Tal's Hill will definitely be leveled during the offseason, the Angels manager said, "Thank God."

Tal's Hill is that quirky, elevated mound in deep center field that has been present since Minute Maid Park opened in 2000. The ballpark's field dimensions and angles were designed by former Astro executive Tal Smith. The 10-degree hill was originally scheduled to be remodeled after the 2015 season, but the plan was pushed back a year.

Scioscia isn't sure why Tal's Hill was put there in the first place, citing an injury risk to outfielders as one of his reasons he didn't like it.

"To artificially do something like that to a beautiful ballpark like this, where you have a blank canvas to lay out something special, I don't think it has a place to what this ballpark can be," Scioscia said. "This is a terrific venue, and I don't know why they would artificially put something like that in.

"But the powers to be wanted some uniqueness. Not only do you get uniqueness, but you also got the injury risk of any outfielder running full speed, worrying about going up a hill to catch the ball. It doesn't happen anywhere else."

At present, the center-field wall is 436 feet from home plate at Minute Maid Park. With the removal of Tal's Hill, the change would bring the fence in to 409 feet from home plate.

"The dimensions are huge in center," Scioscia said. "We've certainly played here enough to get used to it. I know there's some novelty in it, but I'm happy to see they are going to make an adjustment."

Richard Dean is a contributor to based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.