The Grass Is Always Greener

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




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9 Responses to “The Grass Is Always Greener”

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  1. hunterfan says:

    I actually found that very interesting. Thank you.

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  2. hunterfan says:

    FYI, anybody else who finds this stuff interesting (the groundskeeping aspect of baseball) might find the following interesting as well: http://www.slate.com/id/2229213/pagenum/all/#p2

    I read it a few years ago, but I found it humorous and informative.

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  3. Chris says:

    I want to know about the field maintenance in regards of the way the grass is cut and it’s affect on the game. For instance Coors Field has the OF grass cut in four directions to keep it standing upright, and the IF is cut 1.5 in longer than the OF to slow down grounders and speed up balls landing away from the outfielders.

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  4. Bethany Heck says:

    Chris, I’d be happy to dig into that for you.

    Hunterfan, thanks for the link! Glad you enjoyed the article.

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  5. filihok says:

    The very first item in the post in the NotGraphs section of FanGraphs is, so far as I can tell, a graph.

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  6. Fumiko Kuehn says:

    my lawn thanks you for this blog

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  7. Gicttrunc says:

    I keep listening for the information communicate about getting totally free on line grant applications so I have beenlooking around for the most effective site to obtain one.Thank you for your help!

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  8. Sharon says:

    How do they make the grass have lighter and darker graa on target fiels

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  9. Brandon says:

    Have problems with grass while preparing for World Series tournament in August 2014. Who would be a good contact for quick, professional information.

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