Another year of baseball is coming to an end. It was full of some great international events with the Opening Day in Japan to WBC qualifiers. Some new fields in Panama , Mexico Germany along with several other fun projects. This blog only captures the few things i have time to add during the year but as with anything there are a ton of things that go on behind the scenes to make these international events happen. A major THANK YOU to our brickman sportsturf team for helping to make this past year successful as well as our host of awesome vendors that provide products for us at many of these
Turning our sites to 2013 …. and let me say it looks to be just as exciting as 2012. We will have a hand in operations for the WBC first rounds in Taiwan , Japan and Puerto Rico. New parks going up in Amsterdam, Hermosillo and Taipei and some fun stuff I cant really comment about in a few other countries. In 2012 We sent guys to 8 different countries this an logged over half-a- million miles between the group. This year seems to have never stopped!
At this time of year it gives us all a chance to reflect on our lives and to be thankful for what we have. Family, friends our troops in Afghanistan and many others. Hoping everyone had a great 2012 and also a wonderful New year.
The new ballpark in Hermosillo, Sonora is coming around. To say its going to be close is typical in ballpark construction but the G.C. and architect are working very hard to make it happen. When the venue and field is completed, it will rank in the top class of baseball stadiums in south america. The Sea Spray Paspalum turfgrass looks pretty nice and is a local turf so they will be able to re-sod as needed. We will be starting the mounds an bullpens this week. With about 6 weeks before the 2013 Caribbean World Series we should be in pretty good shape with the field.
Based on all the comments from folks in Taiwan and Panama the ground crews have done a wonderful job with the renovations and field maintenance operations of Rod Carew Stadium, Panama and New Taipei City Stadium, Taipei. In Taiwan they renovated all the mounds added 50 tons of clay to the infield and overseeded.. At Rod Carew a totally new field was constructed as the old one had become slow to drain. The Zoysia turf at Rod Carew is only 3 weeks old. But holding up ok.
Great job to the guys in both sites.
The field has really started to come together in the past week. Pandeportes, Rod Carew Stadium Staff and many have really chipped in to make this venue shine. Its an old park with a few upgrades it will be able to handle a lot more rain than in the past. Today it rains ( as it does everyday) and after removing the rain cover there was no water on the grass. Worked perfectly. The turf is only 3 weeks old but should be ok for this 6 game tournament. MLB network will cover a few of the games.
As part of the planning for the upcoming WBC in Panama, the federations in Nicaragua and Colombia will be hosting mini-camps in their countries in order for their team to train before the WBC event. Pitching mounds, infield, bullpens and equipment repairs highlighted the key areas of improvements at each ballpark. Chad Kropff was in Colombia and Kevin Moses in Nicaragua for the past week helping the local crews with the renovations.
New Taipei City stadium also known as Xinzhuang stadium is preparing for the WBC qualifier. New pitching mounds and bullpens along with new grass and a renovated infield surface will provide an improved playing surface. The ballpark is familiar to big events it has recently Hosted the MLB All Star Tour and past World Baseball Cup tournaments. A smaller ballpark that seats about 12500 the venue will also feature some updates in the locker rooms and batting tunnels. Don’t forget to check out the games later this month. They begin November 15th. New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. www.worldbaseballclassic.com
2013 WBC renovations at rod Carew are about 2weeks from being completed. Then it’s time to watch the sod grow and detail the field for the games. What we have completed is the sodding of the field and now working on the details of the field. Infield renovations with the new clay and rebuilding the mound and plates are next.
Everyday it has rained extensively and unlike previous post rain field surveys, now you can’t find a puddle on the field after a big rain. That alone is very exciting.
Over the past couple months i have spent some time checking up on some ballparks for the upcoming winter league in Puerto Rico. The Winter League has a rich tradition in the PR. In addition to the WL they have very strong local Double A clubs supported by small communities around the country. The development of ballparks for this league is really something. Stadiums in Kayay ( top photo) , Yauco ( below), and Mayamon have recently been completed. 2000 to 4000 seat venues.
With the first round of WBC qualifiers over we can now shift to the next set in Panama and taiwan. But first I need to thank Martin and his 18U baseball team (which was also our ground crew) for doing a great job during the tournament. Those kids not only helped with all the field duties but carried the flags during the ceremonies, worked the MLB road show, helped in the locker rooms etc…. They would definitely be my choice for MVP of the tournament. Baseball wise, Team Canada dominated the tournament with both pitching and hitting. Germany had a good club but the boys from up north were just to powerful.
Armin Wolfe Arena has now hosted to major tournaments. By taking their 1000 seat ballpark and turning it into a 5000 seat facility with separate locker rooms and office space, they were able to provide a great venue for both the fans players and staff that worked the event. We had some rain threats but nothing of great alarm. Also glad to have kevin and Dan on hand to help make this event a success.
All in total the field and venue held up well in front of 4000 people. Canada moved up a notch with a win over GB 11-1 that was ended in the 7th due to the 10 run rule. Compliments to great ground crew from Germany along with Dan and Kevin. After 9 two hour practices these guys really did a great job holding the field together.
A great first day for the two clubs at the renovated ball park in Regensburg for the World Baseball Classic. Field held up great as did the weather. GB’s Sam Dempster was excited to see the field and the upgrades. Canada’s Ernie Whitt and Greg Hamilton also had some great things to say about Armin Wolfe Arena grounds. Always good to get the first day over. Martin Brunner and his groundcrew did a great job managing the practices. With 8 practices and only 6 games it sounds a bit upside down but that’s baseball.
GB’s squad actually met yesterday for the first time with the pros that joined them. i think with the influx of pro guys for Czech, Germany and GB this will be an interesting tournament. By the way… Thanks to Dan Bonanno and Kevin for painting some awesome logos! You guys rock!
This past week was a bit of a blur. From Amsterdam to Munich to Regensburg. With the teams starting to arrive tomorrow for the WBC qualifier in Germany, I am sure they will be excited about the field upgrades and temporary facilities built for the event. Great Britain> Canada arrive tomorrow and the Czech and Germany clubs bus in for the event. All the teams are posting some big names MiLB names on the roster. The big chatter in European baseball is that the EURO baseball Championships just ended in Rotterdam and Italy came in 1st after a “unique” play off system beating Nederlands. Its pretty typical to see these two clubs be in 1 & 2 slots. Spain was right up their too. Great Britain and Czech fared well but they didn’t have the pro guys that they will have for this event.
Anyway mounds, bullpens and infield have been worked on this past week. John Deere provided us with a nice mower to showcase. Our friends at Diamond Pro and BullDog Pitching rubbers sent over some products to jazz up Armin Wolfe stadium. We even scavenged a Covermaster tarp from the 2004 Athens Olympics that was still in storage for the games since Regensburg did not have one. Pretty cool but it has no leaks after sitting for 8 years on a pallet. Our volunteer Regensburg U18 team helped spread some product today. What a great group of kids.
Rod Carew Stadium in Panama continues to make progress. Fields and facilities are being upgraded with some major and minor improvements to host the World Baseball Classic. Regensburg received a new infield and Taiwan will be seeing some new mounds and home plates as well as turf upgrades. Even the training sites are planning improvements in Managua, Santiago, Cartagena . These improvements include field clinics and training for the local staffs which establishes a higher field of play surface for the clubs to train there athletes. Its not a surprise that “better fields make better players”.
After a light morning rain the soil was perfect for laying sod on the National Mall yesterday. The 50 ft long x 4 ft wide fescue/bluegrass rolls of sod went down without a hitch. Probably some of the most beautiful fescue I have ever seen that came out of Tuckahoe sod farms. Shortly after the first few rolls were place on Panel 33 in front of the capital they turned on the big eagle rainbird irrigation heads and they performed wonderfully. The irrigation and drian lines are placed about 4ft deep which is just below the tent stake line.
This day has been a long time coming and it wasn’t without a lot of planning. The sod was laid on an engineered topsoil sand blend which will be a perfect medium for growing the grass and keeping it healthy. The National Parks services and Trust for the national mall were also on hand overseeing the installation process. The first panel which is about 90,000sq ft will be completed today and in another few weeks we will start on panel 29. Congrats to Clark construction there team on making this day finally come to fruition.
After 12 years it looks like Rod Carew stadium in Panama will get a new field. After working with a great crew and staff on this field for many years, Pandeportes and the LOC committee is replacing the field before the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier in November.
The WBC is considerd the new Baseball World Cup. The last World Cup was held here 2 years ago. During the last world cup at Rod Carew, we had several rain outs due to pour drainage of the outfield and infield turf areas. The USA vs.Canada Bronze medal game was cancelled and we almost had to cancel the final. With the rainy season ( Oct-Nov) typically dropping an average of 12 to 15 inches of rain each month, a new field with an updated drainage system was badly needed. The old system served its purpose over the years. In fact back in 2003 during the Olympic Qualifier we had similar rains fall but the field was only a few years old and handled the water pretty well.
The work plan is to remove a couple feet of material which includes about 6inches of thatch of 12 year old Bermuda along with a series of geo clothe fabrics. We will be adding a new drainage system, irrigation system, 10″inches of sand for the grass, and the new sod will be zoysia Turfgrass. We used zoysia on the new fields in Aguadulce and Santiago when they were renovated in 2010 for the World Cup. They have performed very well. Along with the new field there will upgrades to the stadium drainage and locker rooms. Thanks again to Gil, Guy, Lenny, Ruben and Lauren for making this happen!
Its been another crazy summer for maintaining baseball fields around the country considering the 100 degree days, not to mention the pressures of keeping them playing safely and looking great. This blog is for a few of our guys who really make that happen on our Brickman Sportsturf team. Next blog (when I have time) I will post the rest!
Camden Riversharks hosted the Atlantic League All -Star tour this year. Sportsturf manager Isaiah Lienau and his crew.
Southern Maryland Bluecrabs ballpark Operations Manager Kevin Moses and his crew.
Long Island Ducks baseball field managed by Sportsturf Manager Eric Ogden and his crew.
Lancaster Barnstormers Baseball field . Managed by Anthony DeFeo and his crew.
Staten Island Yankees baseball field managed by Ryan Woodley Sportsturf Manager and his crew.
York Revolution baseball field managed by Rob Borman, Sportsturf Manager and his crew.
Sugarland Skeeters ballpark managed by Sportsturf manager Brad Detmore and his crew.
First, it feels a little weird not having baseball or softball in the Olympics this year after working on baseball and softball fields during the past 3. It’s really hard to believe. So what happened? I have been asked this question a lot lately. In 2005 news folks reported that the IOC decided to vote baseball and softball out of the Olympics. Baseball was eliminated by a vote of 54-50 and softball was deadlocked at 52 which resulted in removal of the sports. ESPN put out a story about a so-called secret meeting where they voted off baseball and quickly tried to vote in karate and squash to replace Baseball and Softball. That’s why there are only 26 sports in the 2012 Olympics instead of 28. http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=2103234
In 2006 a re-vote was taken and it was 46-42 against baseball and 47-43 against softball. The first Olympic sport to be removed from the games since they booted polo in 1936.
The answer to “why” depends on who you ask and what you read as to the reasons baseball and softball lost the Olympics. Some say it was politically influenced because of anti- American feelings, others say it was due to differences regarding drug testing. Some say it was due to not having the best players represent the sport. All of these theories can be debated as to their accuracy but i do know that the IOC had their eye on introducing new sports to the games and unfortunately baseball and softball drew the short straw.
In 2009 there was a 3rd IOC vote and again we were not even shortlisted to the top 3. At this vote, Baseball and softball presented separate bids. The governing body of baseball “IBAF” is working very hard to get the game back into the Olympics. This time with a potential for softball/baseball to have a combined bid. I think we have a really good shot at making it back in under the leadership of IBAF and the ISF.
The GOOD NEWS! The sport Federations are making major strides towards being included on the shortlist for the 2020 games . The reinstatement campaign is in full force and the game is growing tremendously around the world. I have seen numbers on the web where there are 2 million or 4 million even one report says 10 million kids playing little league baseball. If you want to support the game and see softball and baseball back in the Olympics you should send letters and support to the federations in your country. Send a letter to the IOC too! The more we grow the game in our hometowns around the world, the better our chances will be for inclusion into the 2020 Olympics.
As part of the USA-Cuba Friendly Game Series this week, we held the 1st MLB 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 all these guys were together and you would have thought they had known each other forever. We did a slide show to talk about materials and maintenance processes then went to the field for hands on training. Typically hands-on means most are watching but this event had all of the guys heavily involved. They really enjoyed the Sports Turf Management slides ( WWW.STMA.ORG ) as they were translated in Spanish. Such a great exchange between friends in sportsturf. Hearing stories about their fields and issues was no different than sitting in a room with my peers in the states.
They have created a pretty good clay for the island. Drains well and is designed to wick water past a certain point. Then it will firm up. On opening night of the series, we had an inch of rain and puddles of water all over the infield. With no big tarp to cover the field and we still played in under two hours.
Havana – After a crazy rain delay USA battles Cuba in the opener of the freindly series 4-3. The teams used to play each other pretty back in the early 90’s and now they started a new set of annual games. The Cuban players played are seasoned squad and the college level USA team did a pretty good job handling them. A great game on a very wet night. After an 1 1/2 rain delay we finally got the game rolling. Heavy rains fell for an hour. No tarp was available so it was back to old school groundskeeping. Awesome ground crew with Juan, Orlando and Elier.