July 2014

Is it time to rebuild your Baseball Homeplate area?


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


How to Build a Professional Pitcher’s Mound.

How to Drag your Baseball or Softball Infield

How to Drag your Baseball or Softball Infield.

2004 Athens Summer Olympics : 10 Year Anniversary

athens 2004It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago this month was the start of the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.   It actually started in  early August,  but I moved to Athens with my wife and teenage kids in tow the first week of July.    We  look back on the Olympic experience of 2004 often and this year is special.   A lot has changed since 2004.  It was the year after 9/11 and the security flying internationally was at its all time high.  Even the security for the games was the most it has ever been.

I was fortunate to see  my boys volunteer as batboys and my daughter volunteer with the sports presentation team.  The friendships made during this  event continue 10 years later not only for me but for them as well.  Angelos Dimitripolis, competition manager made it all possible.    Along with Panos Mistup0lis President of the greek federation and Tom Mazarakis.   Our operation and management team was composed of a few Americans from Brickman Sportsturf  and hundreds of local and international volunteers.


The complex was composed of 4 natural grass  baseball fields and 2 softball fields.  They were  constructed  in 2002-3 at the same time using the same materials and grass.    We were involved in the design and construction of all the fields  working closely with IBAF’s  Miquel Ortin and  President Aldo Notari .  We developed some pretty nice baseball and softball fields for the competition.  The volunteers made this event so great.  Just to many friends to name them all but via social media we still chat on facebook and twitter.     Our field staff was great.  Hats off to the Josh, Cindy, Dave , Budge and for softball Rick and Darrell.    As for the games, Cuba was the gold medal winner with australia taking silver and japan the bronze.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI recently returned to Athens back in 2012 to do an inventory on the fields and some of the unused equipment.  The Softball fields were rough but 2 of the baseball fields are still used by the federation.   Tom M. and his team take care of the fields and do a great job with what they have .   After the Olympic games they put a lot of unused equipment in storage.    A pretty cool story that has not been told revolves around how MLB, USA baseball, The Greek federation and the IBAF  worked together to purchase a lot of the unused equipment and spread it around europe to help grow the game.  Even though it was 8 years old it was still in great condition.  The greek federation used the funds from the sale to cover travel and lodging  to compete in the 2012 European Championships that year.   Just think, After 8 years the Olympic event in Athens was still helping to grow the game.

Our World baseball softball confederation WBSC led by President Fracarri is leading the charge for our sports return to the Olympics in 2020.   Make sure you support your local federations and spread the word about baseball and softball.



How to make those Fancy Stripes in the Grass!


Mow crew.JPGOk so this isnt the best mower stripping equipment!  Having fancy mowers is nice and stripping your lawn like the Pros can be accomplished by brushing your grass.   Those beautiful shades of green stripes on the fields you see at sporting events are not painted on!    (Actually, I have been asked this question by a few readers over the years).

First, Its not as hard as it looks to put those stripes in your yard..even a 7 year old can do it (under a parental eye) and I was a witness too that particular youth event as it was my son that put them in our yard many years ago with his bubble mower.

The stripes are actually made by rolling or bending the grass in opposite directions.  In pro parks they use a vertical reel type mower.   Its all about the equipment …NOT THE PAINT! Some big league parks…

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Plan Your Home Lawn Renovation NOW!


front_yard_photo_1.jpgEvery year the fall brings you good things. Along with the fall baseball classic it lets you revive your home lawntime before winter. In an effort to keep it simple stupid (the KISS principle) you should plan your renovation according to your geographical area. Different grasses + different climates = different turf programs. Northern grasses are fescues and bluegrasses while southern grasses are bermudas, St Augstine, bahia and then you have transition grasses. This is the tough one because you can have overseeded bermudas and zoysias.

Bottom line,a little work this fall can improve your lawn for the spring. Here is a list of projects you may consider for your lawn.

1. Get a soil sample and have it tested by your local extension office. This sounds tough but its as simple as it sounds. Every county has an extension agent that can send you in…

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Checking out Ballparks for the 2014 European Championship





Enjoyed visiting the ballparks last week that will host the 2014 European Baseball Championships.   Thanks to CEB President Jan Esselman and Czech Republic VP Lucie Cubikova for handling all the logistics.   Our friends in Regensburg Armin, Philip, Juergen and Martin were also a big help in getting around the country and seeing the park on a last minute check up.      The event will be held in mid September and played in 4 cities.  Regensburg Germany and Trebic, Ostrava, Brno Czech Republic.    Baseball clubs in Europe are operated much differently than the clubs and leagues we have in the USA.     Each city typically has a sports club that houses several sports.  In some cases the sport has their own field and venue.   Kids begin to use the club at a young age and work their way up in the levels.  In most cases they do not have a  high school or college baseball sport program  so the club development  fills the gap.  It’s a really cool concept as it brings the community together similar to the way our MLB academies function in the states.



It’s great to see baseball growing in Europe.  A testament to the work that the IBAF, CEB and the World Baseball Softball Federation are doing to grow our game.   DSC05801




Chad  also took a look at a pre-event training field in Paris France.  All synthetic field except mound and plate.  All of the tournament competition fields are natural grass.

Templiers Field 016Lieusaint France




 I also had an opportunity to see the new ballpark in Hoofddorp , Holland a suburb of Amsterdam.  These guys are not hosting any of  the European championship rounds  this year but i had a chance to see the progress on my return.    What a nice baseball venue!   The CLub team and city should be real proud of this park that has 5 fields and they added 2 half fields.  Ike , Joe and Chad are helping to train the local volunteers how to maintain the field. This week they are hosting an MLB clinic.


Hoofddorp ( Amsterdam)  

Also took in the opening game of the Prague Baseball Week.  Home of the Eagles. Jan Begin the man who runs the sport complex had a nice crowd on hand for the event.   ( photo below)2377