2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

New turf passes first test, faces another tonight

Published: April 16, 2014, 9:23 am, by Joe Paisley

t551_main_logoSunday’s snow and rain was the first real weather challenge for the new turf at Security Service Field. The new grass passed with flying colors thanks in part to having the snow melt with the arrival of the Monday morning sun.

That early melt and a stiff breeze, which later produced a wind chill that postponed Game 2 of the scheduled doubleheader that night, also dried the surface quickly. That was in stark contrast to last year’s 10-year-old surface. Here is the original Gazette article about the field work this offseason.

“It was definitely good to see,” Sky Sox assistant general manager Mike Hobson said.

The turf will face another challenge with a 90 percent chance of rain on Wednesday night that could allow some surface water to develop. Fortunately, Wednesday’s 11 a.m. matinee should be completed before the rains, which should give the field time to dry out before a 6:35 p.m. game on Thursday.

The playing surface continues to improve as the new sod grew and took better hold over the past 45 days growing and taking better hold. There is still a small spray of dirst when a baseball hits the turf since sand is used to fill the seams in the sod until the roots grow sideways and fill those gaps in.

“That’s to be expected any time you have new sod,” Hobson added. “The players seem happy with the field. They are on it all the time and they let us know if there is a divot or any problem that comes up with a new surface.”

Center fielder Jason Pridie said the field has held up well.

“It’s been good,” he said. “You have some of the new turf problems but nothing you wouldn’t expect.”