Results tagged ‘ Sportsturf ’
The 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto will finish up this weekend at the President’s Choice Ballpark in Ajax, Ontario. It started July 6th with practices and ends July 26th. For the first time they have both men and women’s baseball/softball competitions. We have witnessed some tremendous games played on some pretty nice fields maintained by some really awesome people. The “people” are town of Ajax staff, TO2015 competition staff and volunteers and that’s what makes these events so special. Everyone working together! The volunteers are really special and range in age from 17-70. Starting early in the am helping with all the field duties from pulling the big tarp to dragging the hose around because they want to be a part of the games. They work just as hard as everyone else and love just being at the ballpark! The heart of a volunteer is HUGE! We couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks Jack and Randy for bringing them together!
On the sport side, Team Canada took the Gold medal in men’s baseball and USA won Silver with Cuba winning Bronze. Women’s baseball is wrapping up this weekend which is looking like another Canada vs. USA showdown. Same with USA women’s softball who are 5-0 going into the medal rounds this weekend.
The complex is composed of 2 natural bluegrass baseball fields and 4 natural grass softball fields. One baseball field was existing and was totally reconstructed with new dugouts and bullpens. The premier field was a soccer pitch which was transitioned in an overlay process to be the main stadium this past spring. It will remain a baseball field as a legacy to the event. I don’t foresee the town ever turning it back into a soccer field after seeing team Canada win the gold medal on the field and plant a “Toonie” at 2nd base.!!! (That’s what Canadian teams do when they when big games. I’ve seen it before. They run to a grassy area and dig up a piece of grass and push the 2 dollar coin into the soil for…luck.) At softball we had 1 premier field, 1 competition and 1 practice field. The 4th field was used for staging of locker rooms. These fields were upgraded with a few bells and whistles for the games as well. We had a good time working with the town staff with training etc…before the games.
As for how the fields were designed and built, we pretty much used every baseball field product from every distributor in America and Canada on this project. We had 3 or 4 different soil conditioners. 3 different clay’s A couple different tarps. All kinds of equipment and materials. We could’ve had a trade show!!! The photo above says it all, great crew and staff. Our guys Eric, chad and Joe were amazing as usual but the Competition team and overlay team made it work. Thanks to Bob O. for the vision and congrats to Canada on winning the Gold medal!
All in all a successful event…eh!
This past week MLB held there 4th field maintenance clinic in the Dominican Republic at the Kansas City Royal’s academy location in Boca Chica. We had over 55 attendees representing all 30 MLB clubs that operate academies on the island. These clinics are geared towards improving field maintenance techniques and helping the turf managers with issues at their academies. The clinics are FREE so MLB covers the costs of travel/meals and we pick up a couple sponsors to offset the costs.
This particular clinic focused on developing consistent maintenance techniques around turf management, infield clays and equipment maintenance. We had some great speakers, helpers and sponsors from around the globe. Sandro Moroni from Italy came over to provide some translation assistance and help with the turf discussions. Ken Curry came down from Canada to talk about covers and the padding that they provide at Covermaster. Rene Asprion chatted about mounds, soil conditioners and clays that diamond pro provides around the world. Eric Ogden did a great talk on infield skin conditioning. Good guys helping To make fields safer by sharing their knowledge and skills with others .
One of the coolest aspects about this particular clinic was having 10 former Dominican professional baseball players who were recently released attend the event. It’s part of MLB’s commitment towards helping these former players with careers after baseball. MLB’s Dominican Republic office creates educational resources for academies such as teaching English courses, life skills on how to live in the USA , how to manage your finances, etc… These classes take place after daily workouts at each of the academies.
So now even after their baseball playing days are over, MLB continues to help these young men find a new career. They are introducing other careers in baseball like umpiring and stadium operations etc.. That’s just awesome!
Also, a big thank you to Alex and Ishmael and the entire DR office that made multiple trips to the fed ex office to pick up Rene’s “special” FedEx package and return it for his brochures. (Inside joke). Rafael you have a great group of folks in that office!
Back in 2005 I started Blogging for MLB.com. My good friend Mark Newman thought a grounds keeping blog might be pretty unique to provide information to folks around the world related to taking care of sports fields and or your homelawn. I’ve been asked some fun questions about my blog ( that I write out of the love for educating folks about the sportsturf industry). Looking back at 2005 when I started at a few of the early blog stories , I came across one that highlighted some facts about natural grass. A lot has happened in 9 years but one constant has been the evolution of better, stronger and more durable turfgrasses for our baseball fields.
During this crazy spring weather where we are seeing temps go from 80 degrees to 30 with snow OVERNIGHT, i take my hat off to all the natural grass turf managers that get those fields ready everyday for the teams. It’s a tough job and the average person has no idea what happens behind the scenes on a daily basis. Not to mention the stress of making sure the field is safe for your players day in and day out. Salud!
Below are a few excerpts from the 2005 blog about some turfgrass facts.
Blue grass, Bermuda grass, Zoysia, Buffalo, Rye grass, bent grass, Tifsport, 419, St Augustine, Bahia, 318, k-31, Limousine, U-3, Tifway, Fescue, Creeping red etc… I could go on for days…Which one of these is not a real grass? U-3 is what you call three grasses in your yard and you don’t know what they are!
Breaking it down to the basics: Grass selection is based on Cool Season and Warm Season grasses and the mysterious transition zone. Cool season grasses is what you have in your lawn from about the Maryland/Pennsylvania border north and warm season grasses start in Virginia and go south South. The transition line varies across the states. There are pockets in Virginia, Maryland, Texas and even Utah that you can grow both types…which explains the “transition zone”. Picking your grass should begin with the zone you are in. From that point you can get really creative with 1000’s of varieties of grasses. The bottom line…keep it simple. Don’t go crazy with a bunch of different seed choices in your lawn. That could lead to a bunch of fungus problems. 2 or 3 varieties is OK but more than that is probably not necessary.
Here are some fun grass facts you can throw at the neighbor while you are out working in your lawn!
FACT– The first white house lawnmower. Washington and Jefferson used sheep to keep the lawn under control!
FACT– “There are over 200 varieties of tall type fescues in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware. The type everyone knows about in the store and probably the first type…was K-31.
FACT– The grass seed state is Oregon with sales over 300+ million per year.
FACT– In the 1800’s golf courses in the UK were infected with a pests called ….. Earth worms! This resulted in some of the great courses in Scotland developing along the seashores. Worms do not care for the salty/sandy soils. In the US, night crawlers are actually good for the earth!
FACT – Groundskeeping is actually Mankinds first profession: Genesis 2:15 …. The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
FACT– First lawnmower. invented by Edwin Budding in the early 19Th century. In 1870, Elwood McGuire designed a mower that made a big impact on the homeowner. By 1885, the USA was building 50,000 push mowers a year and shipping them everywhere.
FACT– A survey in 1994 listed 43 million acres of turf in the US.
FACT– The cooling power of grass! 8 average front lawns have the cooling power of 70 tons of air conditioning. (The average home has a 3 to 4 ton central unit)
FACT– Fresh Air… a 50×50 square pieces of grass generates enough oxygen for a family of four. As mother natures filter it absorbs carbon monoxide, nitrates and hydrogen fluoride and releases oxygen.
FACT– Last one – A test was conducted by dropping 12 eggs onto a dense small piece of natural grass from 11 feet. NONE BROKE! On a thin turf piece 8 broke…. and all 12 broke when dropped from 18 inches onto a rubberized track.
Its official. The H.E.M big league weekend in San Antonio held at the Alamodome featuring the Texas Rangers and the San Diego Padres MLB exhibition series in a first-ever baseball field layout was a success. The Ryan Sanders group and the Texas Rangers achieved what they had hoped to see. A great field, great crowds and an event that has been talked about for a long time. You really need to see the following link to understand what was achieved in this event the day before easter. Alamo Dome 1st ever baseball Conversion. It shows the Dome going from a arena football event to the game in 5 days. Two totally different floor layouts.
The transition teams for the exhibition match at the dome (Astroturf, Ryan Sanders Sportsturf, Alamo Dome staff, padding crew, John and his vinyl guys ) did an outstanding job with the renovation. When you do something that has not been done before, you really need a group that is focused on the final goal. Every issue that became an obstacle or a concern was approached with a positive attitude in order to come up with a solution. Safety issues were set as the main priority and operational challenges were continually defined. The grounds crew from the Missions ball club also chipped into help with the event. I will have to say there were quite a few challenges but the team that was assembled worked very well together to ensure success. Garrett and his entire crew were top notch. Reid Ryan and JJ Gottch were a great management team. They were not only great grounds guys but chipped in at the last minute to be the ballboys down the lines during each game.
The Rangers won both exhibition games and ironically it wasn’t as lopsided as people thought it would be. The right field fence is only 285 down the line. Although the guys had fun with the short porch in BP, during the 2 games it may have only been a issue in 1 home run. In fact the Ryan Sanders group made BP part of the fun for fans allowing them in to catch all the homerun balls. They also added special balls with stamps on them with the sponsor logo for prizes. Pretty cool. Another highlight was working with my “old” friend Tom McAfee who is the operations manager at the Alamodome A great supporter of baseball in the area and more importantly can still run a pretty good line! Thanks Tom to you and your team.