Dragging Tips for a Baseball Infield


Field_drag_4x6 One the major parts of the field that requires a lot of TLC is the infield clay.  Many people watch the dragging ritual before a game but probably do not realize that its the 4th or 5th time they have dragged the field that day using a variety of drags.. You have flex drags, rigid drags, coco mats, nail drags, float board drags, harrow drags, etc..

In addition to dragging the field before the games, groundskeepers at the pro level even drag the field during the games.  There are several methods to dragging a baseball field and several factors you need to consider as to the type of drag(s) you may choose.  Types of infield clay, the moisture level and your equipment will dictate the level of dragging and best type of drag you will need.

 

Many sport complexes use the 3 wheel "sand pro" type units to pull a drag.  They are fast and very agile. Some folks prefer a small smooth tired tractor to perform this function because it tends to leave less tire tracks and ruts. We even see fields being dragged by hand in some parks.  Sometimes because that’s all they have to drag it with…also many believe hand dragging puts the best finish drag on the infield.

The 4 ft x 6 ft flex mat is probably the most used in recreation level fields.  If you need to perform a leveling task with the flex mat you can also get them ridged . A rigid drag pulls more material in the screen and does not float with he contours like the flex drags. The 3×3 rigid drags really help  the baselines as well as areas around the mound and plate stay level.  A heavier drag  or one with a leveling bar on the front is needed when the clay particles do not break up easily because the small particles from the nail dragging have dried out.

Dragging tips:

  1. Its not a race so take your time especially as your turn.   Always keep the drag about a foot away from the grass and always pull the bases when you drag.  Trying to dodge second base might be fun but you are changing the grade of the your field and causing lips when you hit the turf with the drag.
  2. If the drag doesn’t fit down the baseline?don?t pull it down the baseline! You need to rake these areas and use a smoothing board.Field_drag_big_circle_1
  3. Initially do a small circle pattern across the entire field then make a center line drag from end to end. 5thinning_drag_1
  4. Alternate patterns and dragging direction on a daily basis from Clockwise to counter clock wise.
  5. Select the finish drag that provides the smoothest surface.
    1. Coco mats are common for final dragging because they basically brush the clay and do not move material like the big drags. Feild_drag_1
    2. Some flex mats have a leveling bar on the front that helps to remove small bumps from the workouts.  
    3. Before dragging make sure you have proper moisture and have used a ?nail type? drag to remove the deep rutsDscn0299.
    4. Give the field a little water after the drag to stabilize the surface.
    5. At some of the allstar games you have seen designs in the clay areas.  This material is calcined clay and is a lighter color than the rest of the infield.  It may appear to be a ridge but it is a soil conditioner used regularly for infield maintenance.Soil_conditioners   

6 Comments

I think we need to create a DVD covering the basics of field maintenance. I remember grabbing rakes and removing large rocks from the field.

We didn’t have “clay” we had “dirt”. It was dustball. And we loved it!

Ah the memories…

-MLBfan321

P.S. Thanks again for taking the time to blog about things we take for granted when it comes to baseball.

stay tuned we are working on a piece to post that covers a wide range of maintenance operations. thanks

At the pro level..what are they using to drag a field during the game.Those drags look like they are very light compared to the flex steel which are a bit heavy.

Hi,
Coco Mats work really well as you mentioned. We just purchased a dozen from http://www.cocomatsnmore.com size: 6.5′ x 4′. The finish is better than the flex mats. Just make sure you get the 1.25″ thickness on them. They have a rubber backing which prevents the fiber from coming apart. Thanks for the tips!

-Kevin

I help maintain a little league field. We have magnetic bases and I am trying to determine if while dragging I should take just the bases off the magnetic stem or take it all off and put a plug in before dragging. Your thoughts?

More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly. Do you think so? http://www.nicetick.com
Jordan

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