ordering baseball dirt, answer these questions:
What kind of dirt do you already have?
Is it any good?
Do you just need to add more?
Or do you need to make significant changes to the dirt mix?
Are you trying to correct any problems?
See the dirt
analysis and correction
sections for further information.
Ask the players
some questions or note your own observation:
- Is the field dirt
area firm enough or do you slip in it?
- Are the bounces
about right or do they seem to die or bounce too high?
- Are there some
'bad bounce' areas that need attention?
- Is there a lip
at the infield grass line that causes trouble when fielding grounders?
tackle the job:
Can you get delivery?
Can you get equipment to spread, till, and roll it?
Do you have experience driving equipment? It's easy to learn, but experienced
help does make it go faster.
Can the delivery trucks get access to your field?
sample dirt mixes and products:
a mix of decomposed granite and 1/8 inch crushed brick
topdressing: (high school size used 5-10 yards; little
league use 3-5 yards)
1/3 sand, 1/3 compost, 1/3 top soil;
another standard mix is 70% topsoil and 30% compost;
topdressing sand - ask for G8 topdressing sand (golf course quality)
filling in holes around the fence areas or general fill needs:
reclaimed sand from a cement plant. They wash out the cement trucks and
often give away 10 tons of the stuff. It has small pebbles. Definitely
not something for topdressing turf, but great stuff for filling in holes
or getting rid of puddles outside the playing field.
infield skin: (high school size 10-20 or more yards;
little league size 5-10 yards)
50% crushed red brick, 20% clay, 30% soil
professional mix: 60% clay, 40% tichert #2 sand
mound: a high school size mound built from scratch needs 5 tons
of material topped with infield mix; realize that only the top five inches
really needs to be clay - the innards can be cheaper stuff. Use 100% clay
or unfired clay bricks topped with infield mix
field conditioning products: see the Turface
box, and catcher's box: use unfired clay bricks; dig out about
3 inches deep, place the bricks, tamp, and cover lightly with infield
mix. high school size areas will take 200 bricks.
Note: I don't list decomposed granite for the
mound or the playing field. This stuff is cheap, but is bad to play on:
bad footing, bad for moisture management, does not hold up under competitive
play, and players get skinned up sliding on it. What do you expect from
grinding up rocks and putting it on the field?
Suppliers I've used
and am satisfied with:
unfired clay bricks - Muddox
baseball mix (infield and warning track) - Cascade Rock,
Central Home Supply
baseball mix (infield) - TNT Trucking: the choice of
many pro teams
pure clay used in baseball mix - TNT Trucking
topdressing mix - Cascade Rock, Central Home Supply
topdressing quality sand - Granite Construction
reclaimed sand - Livingston Concrete
Other suppliers recommended by pro teams:
clay - Hasty's Sand and Gravel
warning track 1/8 in. crushed lava brick - C&L Trucking
Tips & Hints
- Choose a dirt mix
that does not stain white uniforms too much. Some of the more red mixes
are horrible on uniforms and almost impossible to get clean. More than
one pro team has changed its mix just so they can get their uniforms
- Never mix dirt
types! Put sand on the infield turf, clay on the mound, clay/sand mixture
on the infield dirt.
you have dirt pits, keep the clay, sand, and crushed brick separated.
Mistakes to avoid
- Just because the
park district or the supplier calls it 'baseball mix' doesn't mean it
really is. Some of the bogus mixes will either blow away or players
will get skinned up sliding on it.
too loose (and ugly)
tells you what
you have now
clay, tilling, rolling, and
topping off with
dirt requires equipment
of clay add to
the crushed red brick
have their dirt
products well arranged
of 3 yard
piles of dirt to mix in
and after in
days or weeks