Baseball turf is something we all probably appreciate when we go to a game, but what kind of grass is it, exactly? Surely it isn’t the same sod we go out and purchase for own own lawns. Different sports require different types of grasses, and a baseball field needs grass that will look lush, withstand the punishment of cleated feet flitting about, and be easy to grow. No one wants to look out of a dead field! Different parks choose different turfs due to climate, the style of play of the team, and the personal preferences of the team field manager. Here is a breakdown of the types of turf used in Major League parks:
1. Bluegrass Good ole Bluegrass is by far the most popular turf in the Majors. Bluegrass is notable for it’s lovely, bright and shiny appearance, and for it malleability when it comes to making patterns and shapes in the field. Bluegrass is also more cushiony than other turfs, so players are at less risk of harming themselves when they take a dive. One negative aspect of Bluegrass is that it takes an extremely long time to take root, sometimes as long as a year. That why in March of 2000, the Detroit Tigers fired 3 employees for walking on the precious new bluegrass floor of Comerica Park.
2. Bermudagrass Bermuda turf is more hardy than other types of grass, and is seen more often in dry, hot areas. It establishes quickly and holds up to the wears of a season very well, and also provides good traction (no one wants to see a slick turf.) The biggest disadvantage to Bermudagrass is that it will go dormant and turn brown sooner than other grasses and can be killed off during harsh winters.
3. Ryegrass/Bluegrass & other miscellaneous blends It’s rare to find a field that is exclusively one type of grass. 4 parks explicitly use a combination of different turfs, each providing certain benefits. Perennial Ryegrass commonly used in blends because of its ability to stay green through the colder months. Turf managers must be careful that the ryegrass does not overtake the other turfs, as it creates a more slick surface.
4. General Sports Turf Several companies offer their own unique blends of grasses for use in athletic complexes, and a couple of major league parks use just that. These grasses combine together to offer fields that are green, soft and have good traction. Some ballparks even use different turfs for the infields and outfields
5. Astro Turf When you read this, you’re thinking of the awful artificial playing surface that took over the sport as more and more teams moved to multi-sport domed stadiums in the 60′s through the 80′s. Well, the Astro Turf used at Tropicana Field and the Rogers Centre is synthetic, but it’s a much closer approximation to grass than the company’s earlier iterations, complete with artificial blades and a cushioned under-surface.
6. Paspalum Minute Maid Park uses a type of Paspalum, a grass most commonly seen on golf courses. It’s similar to Bermudagrass in texture and is most often seen in warm, coastal areas. It grows quickly, deals with the shade well and has a great, rich color.
So, the next time you’re at a ballpark, you can impress your friends with how much you know about the ground the ballplayers are treading. Here is a list of all the ballparks and which type of turf they use.
Dodger stadium: Santa Ana Bermuda Grass
Turner Field: Hybrid Bermuda Grass
Coors Field: Bluegrass / Ryegrass blend
Yankee Stadium: Kentucky Blue Grass
Rogers Centre: AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D
Rangers Ballpark: Infield, Hybrid Y2 Zoysiagrass, Outfield, Tifway 419 bermudagrass
Chase Field: Bull’s Eye Bermuda
Oriole Park: Kentucky Blue Grass
Safeco Field: Kentucky Bluegrass / Perennial Ryegrass blend
Progressive Field: Kentucky Bluegrass
Angel Stadium: Bluegrass
Busch Stadium: Kentucky Bluegrass
Citizens Bank Park: Kentucky Bluegrass
Petco Park: Bull’s Eye Bermuda grass
Great American Ballpark: Bluegrass blend
AT & T Park: Sports Turf (blend of five low-growing bluegrass hybrid turf grasses)
Miller Park: “Lo-Mo” Kentucky bluegrass
Nationals Park: Kentucky bluegrass
Citi Field: Tuckahoe Kentucky bluegrass
Comerica Park: Kentucky bluegrass
Wrigley Field: Merion Bluegrass and some Clover
Minute Maid Park: Platinum TE Paspalum
U.S. Cellular Field: Bluegrass
Target Field: Kentucky Bluegrass
Kauffman Stadium: Kentucky Bluegrass / Perennial Ryegrass blend
Sun Life Stadium: Prescription Athletic Turf
PNC Park: Tuckahoe Bluegrass
Fenway Park: Bluegrass
Tropicana Field: AstroTurf® GameDay Gras
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum: Bluegrass