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Volume 26 No. 209
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Marlins To Install Artificial Turf At Ballpark For Next Season

The Marlins will join MLB's "trend toward artificial turf by installing the surface at Marlins Park" for '20, according to Steven Wine of the AP. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said that an artificial surface "solves the challenge the Marlins have had growing grass" in the retractable-roof ballpark since it opened in '12. They plan to "install the same turf" used by the D-backs at Chase Field and Rangers at the new Globe Life Field, which is set to open in '20. Five of MLB's 30 teams "now will have artificial turf." The D-backs "added it this year," joining the Blue Jays' Rogers Centre and Rays' Tropicana Field (AP, 12/4). MLB.com's Joe Frisaro noted Marlins Park has "always had natural grass." The new synthetic playing surface is "part of the Marlins' multiyear corporate partnership" with Georgia-based Shaw Sports Turf. Currently, more than 40% of NFL teams are "using synthetic-grass playing surfaces," and Marlins Park is "used for more than just MLB." The ballpark on Nov. 23 hosted the Miami-FIU football game (MLB.com, 12/4).

MOVING IN: In Miami, Jordan McPherson reports the Marlins also will be "moving a portion of the outfield wall from center field to right-center field closer to home plate." A home run to straightaway center field will now "only be 400 feet," compared to 407 feet, while the right-center fence is now 387 feet "away from home plate," instead of 392 feet. The rest of the field's dimensions are "remaining the same" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/5). In Ft. Lauderdale, Wells Dusenbury notes since Marlins Park opened, it has allowed the second-fewest combined home runs (1,007) out of any MLB ballpark, trailing only Oracle Park (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 12/5). MLB Network's John Hart said, "It was an absolute tomb out in center field and left-center field. You had to hit a cannon to get it out of there." MLB Network's Ryan Dempster: "From gap to gap, it was a graveyard. ... We like to see offense and we like to see homers" ("MLB Now," MLB Network, 12/4).