D-Backs Become Third MLB Team To Move To Synthetic Turf Field
The D-backs have plans to "ditch their grass field and install a synthetic turf field," joining the Blue Jays and Rays as the only MLB teams to do so, according to Kevin Zimmerman of ARIZONASPORTS.com. D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said, "I like baseball on grass, especially if it’s safe and it’s healthy. We have tried and tried, it’s been dangerous, it’s been hard and fast, and it’s been uncomfortable in the building. There’s so many reasons." Zimmerman noted the team will use the Shaw Sports Turf B1K grass, which was created "specifically for baseball" and will "play consistently, won't divot and will help players from slipping." Hall said that it will "sit on a shock-absorbent lining to make it easier on players’ knees and feet." The team will "outfit Chase Field with the new turf" by the '19 season and will also "install it at some fields" at Salt River Field at Talking Stick, the team's Spring Training home. The decision to swap live grass to turf "came after failed attempts at finding grass that grew well in the desert." The team "spent the last year researching the Shaw turf," and it "visited the Georgia-based company" and Auburn Univ. to test it. The team expects a 90% savings, or "two million gallons, in water consumption" (ARIZONASPORTS.com, 10/12). The new surface will "allow for cooler conditions throughout the day in the ballpark" (AP, 10/12).
MORE TO COME: In Dallas, Evan Grant noted the move "makes it all the more likely the Rangers will consider a similar surface" for Globe Life Field, set to open in '20. Rangers officials "visited Chase Field and Houston's Minute Maid Park in July this season while the club was on a road trip to the two cities to see firsthand the challenges of maintaining grass in the environment." Rangers officials have "maintained that no decision on a playing surface has been made." They are "not expected to make a decision" until sometime in '19. With the D-backs going to the surface, it "may give the Rangers a bit of time early in the year to examine up close how the surface plays" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/13).