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Better Fields for Better Play, Issue #005 -- The Three Sacred Cows of Field Maintenance
August 21, 2007
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Dear Baseball Fan,

It reminded me of the lady next door when I was young.  She had a room full of nice furniture, but everything was covered with plastic. "Don't touch!"   "Stay off!"  That's all I remember about that room.  Some baseball fields are like that.  Are your players violating the three sacred cows of competitive play?  Let's find out.


Issue 5

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Recommended


Popular
Articles

21 Dirt Maintenance Blunders to Avoid

Make 'em a Field They Can't Refuse

Conversation with Sports Turf Manager of the Year

How I Cut Field Maintenance Time in Half

What Players Never Tell You

Infield Mixes: What Works Best Now

Make Your Mound Safe

 







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Inspiration

"You have the greatest chance of winning when your first commitment is to a total and enthusiastic involvement in the game itself.  Enthusiasm is what matters most!" -- Coach Gunter.





Your One Stop Place to Increase
Field Safety and Playability

FEATURES:
  • BASEBALL PLAYERS: are you violating these three sacred cows of competitive play?

  • FIELD MAINTENANCE: proof that a better field really does result in better play

  • LAYOUTS AND DIAGRAMS: what's all the fuss?

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Feedback: what people most often search for on this site 

  • Aerating... why the pros sometimes use solid tine vs core aerators

  • Preparing for next year - time to start planning...

The Three Sacred Cows of the Ball Field

I'm sure you've seen a really, really nice ball field.  There are three things you never ever want to do on that field unless you absolutely have to.  The three sacred cows...

  1. The infield turf.  Unless game or practice requires it, never walk or run on the infield grass.  Go around.  Ever hear a coach yell at players, "Stay off the infield grass!"  One time I saw a guy actually drive a bobcat across the infield instead of going around.  Not only did he leave two ruts, but everyone within a mile heard the coach yell at him for going on the infield grass!

  2. The pitcher's mound.  When properly cared for, this is a thing of beauty.  Smooth...  firm... in the middle of nice infield grass... inviting.  Well you better not just walk out there and leave ruts and holes.  If you aren't the starting pitcher, then stay off.  If you don't know what it takes to rebuild it after a game, then find out how to do it right or let someone else who knows what they are doing fix it.

  3. The dirt between homeplate and the infield turf.  This is just a little area right in front of homeplate.  But it needs to be smooth for proper bounces and bunts.  Never walk or run through here leaving shoe marks.  Go around behind the plate.

[Note: Most of the time we treat the field with great care.  But if you want to see a major field upgrade where we tore the field to shreds, check out this baseball field maintenance project.]


Better Fields for Better Play - Just a Slogan or Really True?

I like to think that a great field always results in better play for anyone.  Well two years I had a chance to really see the difference it makes.  A real before and after. 

A college team played on a certain field.  The first half of the season they were 1-18.  Then they played on their completely renovated field.  They went 13-3.  Same players.  Same field.  Just given a major face lift. 

Reasons for better play: better footing, true and consistent bounces, no infield lip, pitcher mound to spec, and infield turf that was full and even.

[Note: If you
are caring for baseball or softball fields, then this archive of baseball field maintenance articles has all kinds of tips and ideas for you.]


Layouts and Diagrams - What's All the Fuss?

Seems these days there are more and more youth entering into little league and PONY ball.  I'm talking about 5-8 year olds.  This age group has been neglected for a while as parents explored talking them to soccer and other activities.

Well they are back!  But these little fields have been neglected.  Where's first base really supposed to be?  How far to second base?  So, to find out, more and more parents and coaches are searching for baseball field layouts and diagrams.  For T-Ball and PONY.

And for those of us who are interested in proper field maintenance, we need to know the exact dimensions when we layout a field or buy materials.  Without the right diagram you really don't know how much you need.

Whether you are just wondering or getting ready for a major baseball field maintenance project, find your baseball field layouts and diagrams here.


Feedback: What You are Searching For

The web site gets hundreds of visitors a day right now.  Here's where you most often go:

Are you finding what you're looking for?  If not, let me know.


It's Good to Know:
Why the Pros Use Different Aerating Methods. 

Core Aerating: The Oakland A's AAA team, the Rivercats, are out of town for the week. So the groundskeepers are aerating the grass with a core aerator today.  Then they mow over the cores to chop them up and rake out any chunks left near the edges of the grass. Core aerating is done only when the team is on the road to allow time for chopping up the cores, then applying top dressing, and letting it settle in.

Solid Tine Aerating: Professional groundskeepers also use solid tine aerators. These can be used anytime and have less constraints than the core aerator - no cores to chop or let settle. 

This was just a small part of my exciting conversation with the Sports Turf Manager of the Year.  Read the complete interview and get more pro field management tips and hints here.


Preparing for Next Year - It's Time!


Maybe it still feels like the dog days of summer, but around here we are getting ready for 'winterball.'  Play resumes for age 6-18 in September and goes till mid November weather permitting. 

A little time now will put you way ahead in the spring.  Depending on your climate and fall field use, there are many things you can do now that really do make it easier in the spring.  For one, grass seed and turf maintenance is easier in the late fall than in the cold, wet spring. 

What else can you be doing? Here's how to get on top of this.

Use a ballpark audit checklist.
 

When you are done, you'll know exactly what your ballfield condition is and exactly what you need to do to fix problem areas or prevent something from becoming a problem.

I've found that a checklist is the way to go.  It also shows me where the priority areas area: safety.  I'm sure you could make up your own checklist, or just go out and walk your entire field and take notes.

 


Have a Question for Jim Reiner?  Have an Idea to Share with Readers?


Speak out.  Use the Better Fields for Better Play contact form.



All contents of this ezine are copyright 2007 by The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide. 

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