Happy 10th Blogaversary MLBlogs!


athens 2004 1WOW…. it’s been 10 years ago TODAY that I began to scribble this blog for MLB.com.   I remember Mark Newman asked me if I wouldn’t mind posting to MLB’s  new blog website something about groundskeeping ,ballparks etc….   I said sure… what’s a post?    Then he told me to name the blog something and that he needed me to “post” something as soon as possible and that he would set up the name for my blog.  I had no idea what I was doing so I “posted” the above photo having recently returned from the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Next thing I know, I had a blog with my name on it beside one with Alyssa Milano and Tommy Lasorda.  That was pretty good company.     A lot has changed in 10 years.  The world of social media, groundskeeping/sportsturf management and life in general has been a wild ride since 2005.   Our company merged and now we will be  Brightview,  our kids have graduated high school (and college), the WBC was created,  managed multiple MLB Season Openers and exhibition games, twitter craze, Instagram, vine, stumble, etc….

Olympic Games are Underway...Rain an all!Loved this photo of Mark and I in Beijing…might have started the selfie craze!!

 So 357 blog posts later, thousands of shares, hundreds of thousands of views, comments, visitors, tags, etc…. I can honestly say thanks to Mark Newman the creator of MLB’s blogosphere for asking me to blog about the best job in the world.    I’ve made a ton of friends along the way through this blog and received a lot of nice notes about the field tips I’ve posted.   It’s all about learning which I continue to do daily through interactions with my peers in the sportsturf industry.  I love to teach and share information about building and managing safe fields.   It’s a great industry if you ever want a career change.  Join the STMA and check it out!

Anyway Happy 10th anniversary Mlblogs!   Looking forward to another 10.

Montreal draws 96000+ for two MLB exhibition games


montreal logoThis past weekend they played a couple games between the Reds and the Bluejays at Montreal’s old (but fun) Olympic stadium. The two game series drew over 96000 people.  I heard a lot of folks say. Wow ” MLB should come back.  What do you think?  I just said that would be cool.”   However for me the event was more of a walk down memory lane seeing old friends from my Montreal and West Palm beach days when I worked with the club.

montreal crowdMontreal’s Olympic stadium has quite a bit of history.   From the 1976 summer Olympic Games to the Expos,  numerous concerts , soccer , truck pulls, RV shows ,  you name it…this place has hosted it.    Former expo Steve Rodgers was with me as we walked the field and he talked of when the homeplate was actually closer to where the mound is currently located.  The synthetic turf surface is called nex-field which has about 3/4lb of rubber per sq ft worked into the fibers.  This particular synthetic turf was designed for soccer.

During the trip I had a chance during to talk with a few local people in Montreal about  baseball in their awesome city!   So I took a poll.  It’s very unofficial and really random so the accuracy has got to be legit!

I asked 5 people  4  questions.

  1. Are you from Montreal?  3  were from Montreal, 1 from Haiti and one from India
  2. Are you a baseball fan?   3  yes’s  – 2 no’s.
  3. If they would like to see baseball back in Montreal? 4 yes and 1 no
  4. Have you ever been to Olympic stadium to see an event?   5 yes  and 0 no’s
  5. What is favorite sport?  just so I could gant their responses (and that they understood what I was saying since I don’t speak French.)   ALL 5 said hockey so that worked.

More details on the folks I polled: (The 5 included 2 cabbies,  1 customs agent and one bartender and some guy from Montreal i was sitting beside on the plane.  3 guys 2 girls.

I think my poll was promising,  Personally (again my personal opinion) I think Montreal would be a great place for a team someday in the future but before that happens they need a plan.  We all heard the same dialogue from Commissioner Manfred  where he wants to see a strategic plan on how they plan to make it work for the long haul.  Does that mean a new stadium or rebuild existing?  Selecting the right owner?    This past weekend was a small piece of the puzzle.  It confirmed interest from the folks in Montreal that they enjoy seeing baseball.

One year ago today – MLB Opening day Sydney Cricket Ground transformation – time lapse video


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

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Pretty slick music too. It’s still hard to believe we got this done in 17 days. Dugouts, bullpens , locker rooms, field, backstop, tunnels, padding, foul poles, batters eye etc.  the list goes on and on. The boys at evergreen rocked the house with the field install and my buds at the SCG, wow.

http://m.mlb.com/video/v31565453/sydney-cricket-ground-gets-a-baseball-makeover

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MLB hosts 1st Field Maintenance Clinic in Managua


???????????????????????????????We had a great turnout of sportsturf managers and groundskeepers from across Nicaragua attending the clinic last week.  A lot of great comments and questions were generated by the group.   The best part was that this was the first time this guys and gals had ever been together.  By the end of the day they were talking among each other comparing field techniques and ideas.

The country of Nicaragua is planning some exciting baseball growth in the near future as it relates to ballpark upgrades as well as building a new national stadium  in Managua that is slated to begin this summer. The site below will be home to the country’s new stadium.

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One of my true joys in being a part of the wonderful industry of sportsturf and sharing knowledge I have picked up from many others along the way.

 

The First 2-Team Spring Training Complex – West Palm Beach 1962-96


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

WPB Municipal

Built in 1962 for the Atlanta braves and eventually home for the Montreal expos…twice,  this complex became the training grounds for a lot of growth in our baseball industry and even though it has been demolished,  it is still producing some interesting stories in baseball today .   Many may not know but thiscomplex was actually the first dual use spring training venue to be used by two MLB organizations.   The Braves had use of the main stadium and 4 fields and the Expos had use of 2 fields and 2  half fields.  Both MLB teams changed in the stadium so everyday the Expos would have to walk by the Braves as they practiced on the main field and head back to the “backfields”.   We also had FSL West Palm Beach Expos, 4 instructional leagues, fantasy camps, high school sports, concerts, etc..  It was…

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The First 2-Team Spring Training Complex – West Palm Beach 1962-96


WPB Municipal

Built in 1962 for the Atlanta braves and eventually home for the Montreal expos…twice,  this complex became the training grounds for a lot of growth in our baseball industry and even though it has been demolished,  it is still producing some interesting stories in baseball today .   Many may not know but thiscomplex was actually the first dual use spring training venue to be used by two MLB organizations.   The Braves had use of the main stadium and 4 fields and the Expos had use of 2 fields and 2  half fields.  Both MLB teams changed in the stadium so everyday the Expos would have to walk by the Braves as they practiced on the main field and head back to the “backfields”.   We also had FSL West Palm Beach Expos, 4 instructional leagues, fantasy camps, high school sports, concerts, etc..  It was fun managing the complex between  1988-1996.  Many past employees that were with these clubs during the 90’s call it the glory years for the braves & expos organizations.   I guess if you look at the past couple years of  HOF editions : Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, Martinez, Randy Johnson and Bobby Cox  it makes sense.  

What I find amazing today is not only did this spring training site start a trend for numerous other dual team spring training sites in AZ but it was also a GM maker.   I’m talking about between 1989 and 1996 when the braves and expos were both considered the hottest teams in the national league.  The molding of past and current GM’s  and asst GM’s during this era is somewhat mind-boggling.   Just a sampling of current and recent GM’s from both organizations that came out of West Palm Beach during that short 7 year time-frame included good friends like- Dave Dombrowski, Bill Stoneman, Dan Duquette, Neal Huntington, Bill Gievett, Frank Wren. John Schuerholz,  Dayton Moore,  Kevin Malone, Omar Minaya, Jim Beattie, Chuck Lamar, Dean Taylor.     I’m sure I probably left out a few others and there were numerous Assistant GM’s that came out of WPB too.  …And we can’t forget about the All-star scouting directors/farm directors like Gary Hughes, Paul Snyder, Ed Creech, Kent Qualls, etc…

i recall The competition between these two teams during ST was fierce during those years.  They saw each other everyday and played each other more times than they wanted to but in the end…based on the careers of some the GM’s , players and the success of the clubs they were better for it.   

How to Build a Professional Pitchers Mound


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

Sydney_mound There have been several requests recently about this topic…and for the record….building a mound has several options and this is just one.

First a bit if history:

Rule 1.04 in the MB rule book states, ” The pitchers plate shall be 10 inches above the level of home plate. The degree of slope from a point 6 inches in front of the plate shall be 1 inch to 1 foot and such degree of slope shall be uniform”. The rule book gos on to detail other mound specifics regarding the pitching rubber, the diameter and the size of the level area on top of the mound.

It didn’t used to be this way.  In the late 1800’s approximately 1859,  there was no pitching rubber,  only a  line that was drawn in the dirt about 45 feet from the home plate. A few years later they changed the line to…

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Wrapping up a Crazy 2014 & Wishing Everyone A Happy New Year!


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

It is very hard to believe 2014 is almost over!   So much to be thankful for from a personal and professional viewpoint.   I can honestly say that 2014 was an amazing year on a lot of levels in the baseball world.

This year I traveled more than others … logging a couple hundred days, to 13 different countries. a few hundred thousand miles.   Highlights of the 2014 year regarding sports and stuff would be:

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* MLB Sydney Opener in Australia.   What a great project working with some awesome people in Australia!

koshien st

* Japan Samurai All Star series. Working with our friends in Japan on 5 stadiums in 10 days

*   Toronto 2015 test event games in Ajax.  Planning for the games next summer at a cool sport complex where baseball and softball are side by side.

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* SportsField maintenance clinics in Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and…

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Wrapping up a Crazy 2014 & Wishing Everyone A Happy New Year!


It is very hard to believe 2014 is almost over!   So much to be thankful for from a personal and professional viewpoint.   I can honestly say that 2014 was an amazing year on a lot of levels in the baseball world.

This year I traveled more than others … logging a couple hundred days, to 13 different countries. a few hundred thousand miles.   Highlights of the 2014 year regarding sports and stuff would be:

20140324-043246.jpg

* MLB Sydney Opener in Australia.   What a great project working with some awesome people in Australia!

koshien st

* Japan Samurai All Star series. Working with our friends in Japan on 5 stadiums in 10 days

*   Toronto 2015 test event games in Ajax.  Planning for the games next summer at a cool sport complex where baseball and softball are side by side.

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* SportsField maintenance clinics in Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Holland.

* Cuba relations warming with the USA sounds promising.

* Kansas City royals in the World Series were exciting to watch.  Especially happy for Trevor and his crew

guadalajara charros stadium . jpg

* Guadalajara got a new ballpark out of a track and field venue.

* Commissioner Selig officially stepped down. What a tenure!   Rob Manfred was a great replacement choice and a guy who really likes international game development

* We heard some promising news from baseball’s international elite folks at WBSC  about the high probability of baseball and softball getting back in the Olympic games by 2020.

athens 2004

* We celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.

* The company I work for Brickman merged with their arch rival valleycrest.   A new name was revealed this month. Brightview which sounds really cool.  We are better together for sure!

After close to 40 years in this industry the years seem to be going faster.   I guess that’s a good thing.  2014 was also a year of troubled times for many people and  countries.   We are a people living on one planet and it’s obvious we have a lot of work to do make it a better place for our children to live but I’m sure we will figure it out.  Just like a baseball…. it takes teamwork and prayer.

Made alot of friends this year in different countries spreading the word about the STMA..  A major thanks to our brickman crew and subs  who helped out all year.  couldn’t have done it without you!

Looking into the crystal Base-ball 2015 looks to be similar in travel and potential events.   Wishing each of you a prosperous, safe and wonderful 2015!   HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Prepping Latino Americano Estadio for the Cuba vs Orioles 1999 series


MC:

While we are at it. Another look at the O’s vs the Cuban All-stars event of 1999.

Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

Cuba_opening_game Baseball fields around the world are managed totally different from what you might expect. Here, in the good ole USA, our stadiums have automatic irrigation systems, state of the art drainage systems, weather stations, hydraulic pitching mounds and high tech maintenance equipment!  We are so fortunate! 

In 1999, the Baltimore Orioles played the Cuba National Team in an exhibition in Havana, Cuba.  The stadium and field needed upgrading before the  deal could be completed so I was asked to put together a team to make it happen. The American crew consisted of AL Capitos, Budgie Clark, Greg Meeks and myself.   It took 3 weeks to complete what could have been completed here in days.  For example:

1. Irrigation – The field was hand watered with a fire hose. One person all night!

2. Aerfication– We brought over an aerfier on the barge from Miami with other equipment. The field…

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1st Field Clinic in Cuba Builds Relationships


MC:

It’s a #TBT moment. All about building relationships through sport.

Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

As part of the USACuba Friendly Game Series this week,  we held the 1stMLB Field Clinic in Havana this week.  The Cuban Baseball Federation invited us to lecture on baseball field maintenance at Estadio Latino Americano.  All 16 pro clubs from the country had representation at the clinic.  What these guys have to work with would amaze many of you.  Picture yourself having only a residential riding mower, 4 rakes, 4 shovels, no tarp, no clay, no soil conditioner, weed control, ant control, etc…. to prepare for an international tournament in front of thousands of people.    These guys do this everyday.  I just love the passion the people in Cuba exhibit for the game of baseball.  That passion was also  evident in the groundskeepers that care for the fields.   I have had the privilege of traveling to this country several times.

It was the first time…

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Tips on Designing a Professional Baseball Field


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

   

Below  are a few general tips and considerations that can be used as a template or checklist when planning and or  building a baseball field.  First and foremost.

  • Hire your sports turfmanager, or field consultant.
    • Develop maintenance budget and begin to order equipment. A reputable field contractor can install a professional level field in 45 days so it’s important to be ready to take care of it when they lay down the grass.
  • Secure the services of a qualified surveyor and field contractor and or field project director. Making small mistakes during the planning period could result in costly maintenance problems down the road.
  • If you’re sodding the field, locate the grass source and determine the type you need based on your area.  It’s important to do this early in the process so you can have the turf tested and growing properly before it harvested.
  • Determine elevation

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Japan’s Unique Baseball Field Equipment


Thought it would be cool to share these photos of a couple tools we checked out in Japan.   Koshien stadium has some interesting pieces of equipment and tools.  IMAG2350 twoman tamp

Homemade tamps are pretty common in Japan.   The two-man tree stump type tamp and the “bat-tamp” were pretty unique.  We only saw a couple steel type tamps that are typically used in other countries.

roller

 

To see these units in action at Koshien you need to check out this link that Ben Platt put together for us.  Dragging the field in the 5th inning at Koshien.  So cool.

toro broomer

Due to the large infields on there outdoor parks, they actually came up with a misting system and a dust control box over there TORO sand-protrap rakes and brooms.  I asked TORO here in the states if they had seen these attachments.  The misting system also sports a couple 20 gallon  tanks on each side of the sand pro.

We also used brooms for mid inning clean up of the infield.  A 17-man mid inning drag was a first.

drag crew

2014 MLB Japan Tour – Making friends through baseball


koshein crowd

A whirlwind couple weeks of baseball in Japan has come to an end and with it some fond memories.  This is one of the greatest international events MLB puts on every couple years.   We worked side by side with our Japanese friends to  renovate and maintain 5 different ballparks where the MLB All-stars took on the Japan Samurai.   Crisscrossing Japan from Okinawa to Sapporo with stops in Osaka and Tokyo was fun but challenging.   We had the chance to meet some really awesome people along the way, see some old friends and make a lot of new ones.  Its so cool spending time with folks that tend to fields and work on stadiums around the world that speak the same language…baseball!  Its truly unique that event though we actually speak different languages that when were working on the field we understood each other and what we were trying to achieve.    This tour is really about building friendships through sport and I can say in that regard it was a major success.

MLB has been playing in Japan for over 80 years and this tour celebrated that relationship.  The Japanese and Americans share a passion for a sport that we both call our national past time.  This tour brought us to some new destinations that allowed us to develop new relationships by working together on the fields and ballparks.   We learned new exciting things from one another such as equipment and materials they use vs what we use.

Note:  We actually started a little more than a week before the event started prepping fields around various other events that were being held at each venue before the all star tour. .

koshein crew

Day 1-4 – Our first stop was in Osaka where we spent time with the ground crew and local ballpark staff preparing the field and venue for the first exhibition game at Koshien stadium, Home to the Hanshin tigers.  The history of the field resonates each time I spoke with members of the ground crew and staff.   There are quite a few interesting facts about this ballpark built in the early 1920’s with an original capacity of 80000. Over the years the size was reduced and now holds about 40k. Baseball actually started in this country around 1870 and the MLB tour has been a true exchange of values and cultures since the 1920s.

In 1934 Connie Mack brought a group of MLB all stars on a tour of Japan stopping to play in Koshien.    Eighty years ago players on the 1934 team of all stars included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Fox, Lefty Gomez and one interesting journeyman Moe Berg.  What I find fascinating about Moe being on this team is that he was supposedly not in koshien the day they played at the park in front of a sold-out crowd.   According to various stories from the locals he was supposedly in Tokyo filming parts of Japan. This film was eventually used by the CIA.  A book written later after World War 2 called “A catcher and a spy” outlines some of Moe’s history as a spy for the CIA. There is also a large plaque in a green garden located beside the stadium that sports the bust of babe Ruth and the importance of the 1934 tour.

koshien st

As for the history behind Koshiens darker black Infield color, it is a sandy mix with a little silt and a very small amount of clay.  There is some volcanic ash and local organics that attribute to the dark color.   It truly is hallowed ground for many reasons and we highly respected that heritage as we worked on the field.  We asked about ways to firm it up but we’re told of the history and respected their request.   Shortly after only re-building the mound and homeplate with small amounts of  MLB clays from the states,  Kanazowa-san the head curator of the field wanted to see the soil conditioner we brought over.   Obviously the red color was something they were concerned about but he was very interested in the properties of the product.  One thing led to another and he agreed to allow us to use the red conditioner on the mound and batter’s box.    So for the first time since the ballpark was constructed, there was a little color on this field (which will be removed shortly after we leave). But the real story is that he wanted to see what it did and how it was used and if he liked the product,  we explained that he could have it dyed black to match Koshiens black infield mix perfectly.

Day 2. Obviously pulling off an event like this at multiple parks requires some scheduling and help so our Brickman sportsturf team was composed of Chad Olsen, Eric Ogden, Zach Zverson and Isaiah Lienau.   These guys worked some long long shifts while crossing Japan a few times overseeing the field preparations.

osaka dome photo

Day 3 –  the Osaka dome is what we called it,  but it’s actually the Kyocera dome.  Located about 20 minutes from koshien.  Ewata-San is the head groundskeeper of this busy venue. ( sorry about spelling Ewata-san)  We helped him re-build of the mounds, bullpen and touched up homeplate.  Outside of that it was pretty easy.   What a great crew to work with and so respectful of not only the field but everyone and everything in the stadium.   This dome was designed with crazy acoustics.   You can stand in a spot directly under second base in the center and produce the perfect echo that is so clear it’s scary.   I worked with ewata 10 years ago this year when the tour came through.   So cool to see him and see how he has continued to make his field look and play so well regardless of the extremely high use.

osaka

Day 4 – this was a travel day to Tokyo for the team.  I took a quick day trip to Okinawa to see how the field renovation was coming along and check in with Isaiah.   Chad and Eric were spending another all-nighter prepping the dome in Tokyo for the next 3 games.  Photo below is the MASKED-MEN of the Tokyo dome.  Having fun. 

tokyo dome masked men

Day 5-7. The Tokyo dome has quite the history with MLB events. We have played several openers and all star tours at the Tokyo dome. These 3 games Friday Saturday and Sunday were all sell outs. The ground crew was led by kaweke and tamba.  I’m writing these names as they sound not by the exact spelling.  This is another venue that goes through some major transitions for other events.  We have worked with these talented young me since they were entry level on the crew and now they are the Chiefs…along with the “masked-man” and “mama boss.”   Always nice to see them.  photo below is Osaka dome crew

sapporo dome crew

Day 8.  Another travel day to Sapporo stadium located in the northern part of the country. Basically on the same latitude as upstate New York.   What a cool city. I mean that literal as well since when we arrived it was snowing with a few inches on the ground.  Thankful for the dome in this city!

Day 9.  The Sapporo dome is massive.  Hosting some serious indoor sports including the ability to move a soccer field in and out of the venue in just 3 hours.   The roll up turf was installed in 12 hours for our game.   We had to work in hard hats dung the mound, base-pit and homeplate  renovations.

Day 10.  Another travel day to Okinawa.  This was almost a 4 hour flight taking us from a place compared from Maine to Key West.

okinawa crew

Day 11. And final game in Okinawa at cellular field was nice.  The field played pretty good and was similar to koshien with an all infield clay area. This field had a heck of crown at almost 1. % fall from around the mound so raising the mound and home-plate as needed.  Also we were able to add a little bit of clay to several spots around the infield. It was clay from Sapporo. This helped us in these areas as the infield skin here was much sandier than koshien.   Another sellout crowd and great weather and crew to work with.

All in All, the entire event was a success. The Japan samurai won the tour this time.  First one since 1990.   they had a great team and that played the All stars with a lot of heart.  The Japan Samurai won 4 of seven from the entire series.   Ewata-san came down from Osaka to help us at this field.  Obviously we couldn’t have completed all this work without the help of our interpreters yomuri’s sato-san and MLB’s ryo-san. These guys went above and beyond the call of duty to help us navigate the country and obtain the things we needed at the parks. Forever indebted to them and more importantly their friendship.   I wish we could have an overall team photo of this entire Japan field contingency group but at least we got a few of each ground crew.  Really cool event in a cool country.

okinawa field

We can learn a lot from other cultures.  Having had the privilege to travel to various countries I enjoy sharing what I’ve seen and learned with many of you.  I receive a lot of positive feed-back from readers of this blog and I thank you for the kind words.   I write this blog for my own pleasure meaning “I’m not paid to blog”…and hopefully things shared will help someone with their field.  The world is really not that big and when we engage ourselves in other cultures and meet new people it puts things in perspective.   Thanks again to all the Japanese groundcrews and for a job well done and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

KBO Hosts First Baseball Field Maintenance Clinic in Seoul


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Late last week the Korean Baseball Organization ( KBO) hosted the inaugural Baseball Field Maintenance Clinic at Jamsil Stadium.  The educational event was attended by ballpark operations and sportsturf managers from all the 9 Professional KBO clubs.    We covered a lot of ground in one day including mound and homeplate care, turf management and light repairs, but the best part was the interaction between each of the attendees.     One fun topic was sharing info about the STMA and how the organization brings people together to learn about ways to make their fields safer.  We even used our Korean slides Kim Heck put together!

korea liner

I really enjoyed watching the guys put the lines down at Jamsil with a very unique chalk marking system  Using a metal tube filled with chalk, one person would rake the tube over rails in the template which gently dropped the chalk in a nice line.  Pretty cool!

This group  had never been together in one room so when we went outside they began to exchange info and share stories about each others fields..or at least that is what my interpreter told me.    I would like to thank the KBO for hosting this wonderful event.

2014 MLB Japan All-Star Tour ballparks


IMAG1268

The 2014 MLB all star series will be held the first couple weeks of November.  The best of five series will be played in the Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo domes with two exhibitions planned at  Okinawa and Koshien.  The history of the Japan All star tour event dates back quite a ways.  This will be the 36th time a group of MLB players will travel to Japan to compete in a friendly series and the 11th All Star tour.

IMAG1283 during the site checks our first stop was Okinawa. A small island located way south of the mainland.  It’s about a 2 hour flight from Osaka.  There is a lot of history in Okinawa as it was considered the turning point of WWII.  This is a really cool ballpark which sports a Japanese traditional baseball field which is composed of an all dirt infield.   Japanese players have been competing on these type of fields for over 75 years.     It’s a 25000 seat park and it was very loud and clear that the Okinawans are excited about hosting an exhibition game.    There is a large  military base located near by and  I’m sure there will be some serious fans supporting their favorite MLB and Japan All stars.

IMAG1309

There are two parks proposed for competition in Osaka.   Koshien stadium is the older venue with the most history of baseball in the country.   Connie Mac brought a tour here in 1934  featuring the likes of Babe Ruth and others.  In the early 90’s  MLB international  and the players union had another tour which stopped by koshien.    The park is truly unique hosting the national high school tournament every year.  The park is packed for these games.  The venue has a  all dirt infield, big foul territory and a natural grass outfield. Koshien stadium is about a 30 minutes drive from the Osaka dome.

IMAG1331The other venue planned for games is  the Osaka dome.  I remember last time it was for the 2004 MLB all-star series.   It was good seeing old friends and more importantly seeing the mound and homeplate improvements they had made.    They did an amazing job at matching the infield clay around the base pits with the synthetic turf color.

DSC06259The 4th planned venue is in Sapporo  and it is also a domed ballpark.  Again this is another impressive dome with huge foul territory and a synthetic turf surface.   The outfield wall is about 20ft tall and the distance to the fence is respectable at 330 down the lines and 400 to center.  This venue has the ability to open the center field wall and “float”  in a regulation size natural grass soccer pitch.    The size of the building is massive.  I was told by the local management that the entire Tokyo dome can fit inside this dome!

MLB Opener in Japan 2008
The Main venue for the games will be in Tokyo at the ever so popular and well-known “big-egg” .     The big news for this venue is it has a new synthetic turf surface which was really needed.  The amount of events this facility sees is truly impressive. Always great to see and work with our friends at Yomuri and the grounds staff in the Tokyo dome.

Looking forward to the tour and  working with our Japanese friends.

Constructing a Baseball Infield


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

Technically, the term infield skin refers to segments of the baseball field that contain clay, specifically the areas around the bases and base paths. The keys to quality infield skin are good materials, proper moisture and consistent maintenance practices. With 70 percent of the game played on the infield, having a consistently firm, smooth playing surface is essential.

Infield construction

Infield mixes are made from various combination’s and percentages of sand, silt and clay. People consider the general standard for an OK infield to be 60 to 70 percent sand, 30 percent clay and 10 percent silt. Particle size also makes a big difference in these materials. Infields vary greatly by regional conditions, commercially available mixes and the preferences of the sports field manager and their facility and teams.

The nail drag scarifies the surface and digs deeper to further loosen the infield mix. With any drag, be careful not…

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Is it time to rebuild your Baseball Homeplate area?


Originally posted on MURRAY COOK'S FIELD & BALLPARK BLOG:

Planning to rebuild your homeplate?  If it looks like this well I think you waited to long.  I see to many fields and once in a while i run across one that makes me cry.  Im not going to mention where this field is but obviously there is a problem with both safety and playability.

Preparing to build a field starts with homeplate.  The entire ballpark is determined by where the back tip of homeplate is located.   orientation is always discussed as an issue and what MLB recommends is a direction fo North-Northeast which works fine for ballparks North of the 3o latitude. Homeplate areas vary in size typically they are 26 ft in diameter however many make them larger to 30ft to reduce turf wear and tear.  Again 26ft is a recommendation. The actual home plate is made of rubber and has five points.  A regulation home plate is a 17-inch square with two corners of the…

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How to Build a Professional Pitcher’s Mound


could steeper mounds reduce arm injury?.  Check out this story by mlblogger Tracey and a history of the mound

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140719&content_id=85244940&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb&tcid=tw_article_85244940

How to Build a Professional Pitcher’s Mound.

How to Drag your Baseball or Softball Infield


How to Drag your Baseball or Softball Infield.

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