April 2006



One of my peers told me I should do something like this for the Anniversary…and he gave me some ideas…thanks Jim!

10.  Something to do when you are not working.  (Beats Manual labor)

9.   Its easier than hand raking the field .Cubaedgingpicture_1

8.  Receiving questions in other lanuguges  even though I have know idea  what they may be asking.  Such as….( ???????????????? beijing ???????????????????????
?? HU ??)   HELP!!!


7.   Being a blogger is kind of like being a groundskeeper.  Consistent mainteance of your blog is important for it to grow and develop!

6.  You  get a great tan as a groundskeeper while blogging…where else can you work outside all summer.Tiawan_photos_7

5.   Its a chance to blog about other stuff in life besides baseball fields.       "Best Field Security"

4.  You get some real fun questions… "What kind of paint do you use to put those stripes in the field?"  Is it a latex?

3.  See #9 again…Its easier than raking the grass in your yard too!

2.  MLBLOG.com has great company benefits!   (HA )

drum roll…….

1.  Helping others improve there baseball fields through this blog is really the best part.  Its personally gratifying to give some advise that makes a difference to those that ask.  P1290232_51   

Keep blogging and happy birthday MLBLOGGERS!

Jackie Robinson Ballpark

Daytona_beach_areial Over the past 5 years we have had the honor of being the caretaker of the field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark . Its been a great relationship with City of Daytona Beach and the Daytona Cubs.  The ballpark has quite the history.  Jackie Robinson played in the stadium during the spring training of 1946 with the Montreal Royals. He unfortunately banned from playing in Jacksonville and Sanford, but not in Daytona. His professional debut and first at bat was in this park on March 17, 1946 (an exhibition game against his parent club the Brooklyn dodgers.) The rest was history and soon after this event, he would become the first African-American player to reach Big Leagues.

The stadium has been used since the early 1900’s as a professional baseball facility and has been a member of the Florida State League since the 1920’s. The stadium has underwent numerous renovations and improvements over the years due to its age and hurricanes. The history of this ballpark holds stories of both good and bad times in our countries past. To think the right field grandstand, which still stands today, was once used as a segregated viewing area due to laws imposed during the "Jim Crow era".  Daytona_field

The stadium was actually used in 1972 as the Montreal Expos Spring Training Home.  Over the years it has suffered damages due to a few big named storms.  Hurricane Donna and  Floyd did the greatest damage over the years but after the storms the city rebuilt the stadium. 

The Stadium name was changed in 1990 to Jackie Robinson Stadium in memory of Jackie Robinson.   

Its an old fashioned ballpark with a lot of charm and has a good shot at being added to the National Historic Register to keep the history of this stadium in check for generations to come. 

This past year a new scoreboard went in.  (manually operated)  A wonderful kids play area and the city plans to rebuild the field this fall which we have already started to collect info for the potential renovation.  You should check out stadium if you are ever in the area and walk through the concourse to view the plaques and history of the ballpark.


MLBLOGS Happy 1st Birthday!

Cakebirthday Its hard to believe its been a year since Mark Newman and folks at the MLB.com family asked me to take part in this blog to talk about baseball fields grass or whatever! (Enjoy the cake)

Congratulation on your anniversary of the MLBLOG  blogosphere machine!  I remember we started with about 30 or so bloggers.   It has been fun… which is exactly why I Blog!

Obviously, I would like to blog more.  I have averaged about 1 per week…and considering I travel quite a bit to places that still do not have Internet…that’s not to bad. 

I really want to thank all the readers of the MLBLOG community for your feedback on this blog.  What I have found is that I receive many more emails than actual comments on the blog which is cool. From people asking about how to fertilize there lawn to the little league baseball coach wondering what to do with his field. I bet I have received a couple hundred emails about field related issues.  I enjoy the questions and always answer back…as soon as I can. 

Trying to cover all  of the high points of the MLBlogs first year would be a tough one because there have been so many.  Obviously the World Baseball Classic made for a lot of BLOG  action and excitement. Bob Dupuy’s Classic Chronicles was awesome. The World Cup in Holland last fall was also exciting for many international readers. Had a lot of fun deciphering a couple letters from other countries.

Usabaseball0306 Another great project that we have been busy working on (that I haven’t had time to blog about) is USA Baseball’s Olympic Training Center in Cary, NC.  We started the project about 3 years ago. A $10 million dollar facility that is located in the heart of the Research Triangle…it will open in spring 2007. Between the Town of Cary, the County and the USA baseball staff, we have really made this facility something special not only for the premier athletes but the residents of Cary as well. More to come on this exciting project in the very near future. 

Looking forward to another fun year of blogging…With Beijing 2008 planning, The USA Baseball Facility and the Olympic Qualifier in Havanna, Cuba this year it is already a pretty busy year. 

Happy Birthday MLBLOGS!

Congrats to the Cards!


Congrats on your new ballpark …St Louis Cardinals.  I know the head Groundskeeper Bill Findley has got to be happy!  After all the past years struggling with those tough winters/springs/summers to grow grass in the old stadium …the new stadium is to have less shade areas and more sun for the turf.   

I remember talking with Bill a few years back about some of the headaches they had trying to grow grass in the old park.  They tried about everything in the book to help the turf during the year except build a new stadium.

The History of Busch stadium and its playing surface has a story of it own.  When the stadium first opened in 1966 it was natural grass.  Then in 1970 it became Astro Turf and it changed back to real grass in 1996.  The Astro Turf years really were tough on players with the heat on the field hitting 140+ during the summer. It was used by both football and baseball which needed a durable turf.  Anyway those days are gone.  Congrats again!


Panama_2_042 With the recent storms across the US many ballparks have been hit by heavy downpours of rain.  A blog reader sent me a note asking how the field drains so quickly. He mentioned a 2 or 3 inch rain at a MLB Stadium and was amazed at how quickly the water disappeared after it stopped.  (This ballpark photo was in Panama City, Panama where we held an Olympic Qualifier…actually this field was ready to go after we unclogged the drains about an hour after it stopped raining because of a pretty good drainage system and a great groundcrew.)

Here’s the short answer about how a field drains so fast:  About 20 years ago, "sand based field construction" was introduced to many sports including baseball due to the high occurrence of rain outs and poor playing conditions In many cases the fields became very unsafe for players not mention the lost revenues from ticket sales.  The concept of sand based fields has been around for many years in the golf course industry.  Golf Greens are designed specifically to drain using a protocol developed by the USGA.  Other sports have used the sand based protocol from the USGA Specification and have Modified it for other sport surfaces. 

The typical sand based field is composed of 4 layers. 

1.  Sub-grade –  this layer is normally 12 to 16 inches below the surface.  Its pretty much the native soil or fill that the field is built on.

Gravel_over_field 2. Drain and Gravel Layer –  This layer is composed of two components.  One is drain pipe. The drain pipes are installed in the sub-grade layer and cross the ENTIRE field about every 20 feet. Each have a slight fall of about 1% that allows the water to naturally flow in the pipe. These pipes connect into a larger drain pipe that runs into the storm water system.  A special gravel is then placed around the pipe and about 4 inches of the gravel is spread over the entire field. Sometime this is layer can be about 3000 to 4000 tons of gravel.

3.  Sand or what we call in the  industry the "Root zone".  This layer is normally about 10 to 14 inches in depth and is composed of a specific blend of Sand and Peat Moss.  In some areas they just use straight sand depending on what type of turf.  This material is placed over the entire gravel layer.  Again the sand is designed to "bridge" with the gravel so it doesn’t fall through and make the field uneven. This layer is somewhere between 4000 and 6000 tons of sand!

4.  The grass –   Well this layer is normally just sod or sprigs and is placed directly on the sand.  SOmetimes it is even a sand basedgrass to keep the materials consistent.

These systems have pretty much become standard in sports-field and baseball field construction if you have the budget to build one.  Basically these fields are just one big 2 acre putting green that can drain 7 to 10 inches of rain water per hour!  Field_drains

I remember when we built the Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex we had to  bring in 750,000 tons of orange grove sand to spread over the site.  Granted it was in Florida and the complex is only 100 acres…. but that amount of sand raised the entire site  about 4 feet. This was our subgrade before we built the field on top of it. 

There are a lot of variations of this system out there but the key to the fields draining is what is installed underneath the surface.

Anyway… hope that gives you an idea of how that water runs off the field so fast!