First and foremost, Congrats to the Boston Red Sox on their 2013 WCS victory as well as my good friend David Mellor and his groundcrew. It was a great series.
Although the series has just ended field renovations have been underway in numerous places preparing for the 2014 season. Its a busy year for us with renovations in Lancaster and Tennessee. Also ongoing new construction in Amsterdam at the Pioniers new complex and in Australia as they prepare for the ABL season openers next next week. Not to mention a major renovation at the SCG for the 2014 MLB Opener. Hoping mother nature is good to all the contractors.
We built the field in Lancaster back in 2005. It has been used for everything from ice rinks to soccer , football to concerts you name it, this field has seen it.
Lancaster was still “looking” OK , but after a field sees 8-10 years of high use it needs to be resurfaced because rain water begins to drain more slowly through the profile due to all the organic matter that develops over the years. The main reason it has performed so well has been the great turf managers that have taken care of the field. Anthony DeFao and Josh Viet…Two guys in 10 years. The field’s successful performance over the years reflects their hard work and dedication. The ODP group has always supported our efforts in in building and managing their fields.
Finishing touches in Hoofddorp on the Pioniers new sport complex. The main stadium field is going to be a real gem. The folks in Amsterdam had a big storm recently and some of the warning track mix washed onto the field. In an effort to remove the very small gravel they broke out the vacuum cleaners. That’s commitment!
The Tennessee Smokies new natural grass surface is another big upgrade. This field has also been around for several years and used similar as Lancaster for special events.
SCG renovation taking shape after a heavy topdressing of the newly installed “cooch” grass ( bermuda). Although not a pretty photo this looks really good to turf managers.
One end of the pitch is being graded to be more like a baseball infield in preparation for the 2014 MLB opener. They removed about 45000 sq ft of grass and slightly leveled the area where the infield will be placed in front of the new grandstand. The grandstand also had permanent dugouts installed as part of the total renovation. The SCG is not touching the cricket wicket so those hallowed grounds are safe. The SCG crew is awesome. What a great group to work with.
After multiple trips and site reviews to Australia
we are finally bringing an MLB
game down under! Not only a game but an opening series. One of the challenges of selecting a site for the games was finding a venue that could be transformed for the event. After todays media frenzy that can be checked off the box. ( Photo above is looking from center field back to homeplate of the new seating section.)
Cricket Grounds ( SCG) in New South Wales
is the spot! With dimensions of 335 down the lines and 405 to center it meets the requirements and the cricket pitch has a history of playing baseball..even though it was 100 years ago. Also the natural Bermuda
over seeded rye grass
that we will play on is common to spring training facilities and the SCG
staff manicure it to the 9’s. With a bit of grade tweaks and fencing design it will be just fine for an MLBfield.
Having met with the head curator for the SCG , Tom Parker we came up with a sound strategy for making the pitch work. He has cricket until March 1 and that gives us a couple weeks to flip the field. Afterwards he has a week or so before the AFL
We are making clays locally for the infield and shipping in mound clays. A complete warning track
will be installed along with bullpens, batters eye and backstop. A lot of work for a couple weeks but the folks the SCG have lot of experience with multi use venues so everything will be fine. The venue will also be showcasing a new 170 million dollar grandstand behind homeplate
The winningest ticket in baseball. Not only the best venue in the world but the best beer. Can’t wait to hear MLB’s thunder down under!