The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Amateur sports add more than $104M to Lee economy !

 

Amateur sports are almost like a stealth part of  Florida’s Lee County’s tourism economic profile.

Residents who don’t work in the hotel or restaurant industries may not realize what baseball players and swimmers and others bring to the county.

The direct economic impact of amateur sports on the county in 2017 was $65.9 million, according to a Lee County Sports Development Office study. The total economic impact including indirect spending was $104.4 million, according to the study.

How is that possible ?

So amateur sports spread over 12 months have a greater economic impact than spring training. Jim Larkin, general manager of the Crowne Plaza in Fort Myers, said the value of amateur sports is likely not well-known.

“I think when most people think of sports they think of spring training,” Mr. Larkin said.

Sports are something beyond the high-priced talent on display for a few weeks every year in spring training. It’s also amateur sports and baseball events such as Perfect Game, which is focused on youth baseball and had 41 events on county ballfields in 2017. It’s also Roy Hobbs Baseball, which is focused on adult players and has an annual four-week World Series in Lee County every fall.

It’s also fantasy camps and events such as the Florida High School Activities Association baseball state championships.

Baseball is at the heart of the amateur sports economic stimulus. Of the nearly $66 million of amateur sports economic impact infused into Lee County’s economy in 2017 about $47.7 million came from baseball. That’s roughly 71 percent of the total.

“Baseball is still the big dog,” Mr. Larkin said.

There is a simple reason for that.

“We market what Lee County has,” said Jeff Mielke, executive director of the sports development office.

Lee County has five baseball venues that are now used or were once used by Major League Baseball teams.

Terry Park in Fort Myers was the spring training home for four big-league teams between 1925 and 1987. That four-field complex is now used for amateur baseball.

The Boston Red Sox two old facilities, City of Palms Park in downtown Fort Myers and a five-field training facility two miles to the east, are now used for amateur baseball organizations such as Perfect Game and Roy Hobbs Baseball.

JetBlue Park, the Red Sox current spring home, is used for spring training only about six weeks out of the year. The rest of the year it gets heavy usage by amateur players.

That is also true of the CenturyLink Sports Complex, the spring home of the Minnesota Twins and the summer home of the minor-league Fort Myers Miracle.

Mr. Mielke said between all those facilities there are “26 Major League Baseball fields.”

That explains why nearly three-quarters of the amateur sports bonanza comes from baseball. But how many more events and games can be played at these venues ?

“We’ve about reached the saturation point,” Mr. Larkin said.

He said there are tentative plans to add perhaps five more fields and even lights to fields at the five-plex, the old Red Sox practice facility at the east end of Edison Avenue.

“That’s going to be a big boost,” Mr. Larkin said.

A county spokeswoman said there is a plan to develop eight youth fields and one Challenge Field — and that the complex could potentially have lights added.

Baseball drives the amateur sports economy engine in Lee County but it is far from the only sport. County officials hope to expand the number of sports that bring visitors to the county.

The number of amateur sports visitors in 2017 was 148,187, according to the study. Each of the 144 events accounted for an average of 1,045 room nights in hotels.

The events averaged $759,784 in total economic impact.

Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, who is also chairman of the Tourist Development Council, doesn’t see any end to this trend.

He expects even more to come from baseball because of plans at what is called in the local sports jargon the “five-plex.”

The complex opened in 1993, the same year City of Palms Park opened.

“We’re looking to constantly expand,” Mr. Pendergrass said.

That means not only in venues but also in the diversity of sports events held in the county.

One of the benefits of these sports events, according to folks in tourism and hospitality, is timing. Big numbers are posted in the summer when tourism hits a lull.

July was the biggest month in 2017 for amateur sports in Lee County in terms of economic impact, hotel room nights, event participants and event spectators.

The direct economic impact in July was nearly $15.9 million.

“It’s something we’ve been talking about for years — year-round tourism,” Mr. Pendergrass said.

Mr. Larkin said July used to be considered a “lackluster” month for local hoteliers before the amateur sports boom.

Only one other month other than July topped $8 million in impact in 2017. That was November when the impact was measured at $11.6 million.

Amateur sports events in July accounted for 10,263 hotel nights, according to the study.

John Naylor, a former general manager of the Pink Shell Resort & Marina on Fort Myers Beach, knows how much the impact of amateur sports has grown in Lee County in the past quarter of a century. He recalls starting up a fledgling program to boost sports tourism in 1992.

“Our goal was to drive 2,500 room nights in the off-season,” Mr. Naylor said.

The only month in 2017 that didn’t produce at least 2,500 room nights was September with 2,152.

Mr. Mielke recalls that not that long ago a year with 100,000 room nights was considered a good year.

In 2017, that barrier was cracked by more than 50,000, with a total of 150,670.

Nobody likely knew it then but 1992 was the dawn of a new era in sports tourism. CenturyLink, which was originally called the Lee County Sports Complex, had just opened in 1991.

City of Palms Park and the “five-plex” were opened in 1993 and then in 2012 came JetBlue.

When JetBlue opened that also meant City of Palms Park and the “five-plex” were available for amateur events 12 months out of the year.

No matter the month the athletes and their families spend money.

“They’re buying gas here,” Mr. Pendergrass said. “They’re paying the gas tax, which helps with roads. They’re buying lunch and dinner.”

Lee County’s Sports Development Office has a $1 million budget, according to Mr. Mielke. He said those funds come from the bed tax. That means property taxes on Lee County residents does not fund his office and its mission.

He added that attracting 144 events last year wasn’t done solely by his four-person department.

“We are tied at the hip to parks and rec,” he said.

Lee County’s Park and Recreation Department maintains the facilities that helps attract sports organizers and keeps them coming back year after year.

There are some obvious events that won’t work in Lee County. It doesn’t have snow or mountains so snow skiing is out.

On the other hand, Lee County is blessed with serene and warm waterways well suited to other events.

“We’re trying to get more diverse, get more watersports here,” Mr. Pendergrass said.

That includes events held on frozen water.

The Eastern U. S. Synchronized Skating Championships were held in January at Germain Arena. Mr. Mielke said about 2,000 skaters participated. They came from up and down the East Coast, from Florida to Delaware to Massachusetts and other states.

He said organizers expressed an interest in returning in the future.

Mr. Pendergrass hopes to not only build more facilities but also upgrade facilities such as the 40-year-old Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers so it could attract a more sports events.

“Long-term, I’ve said to staff, I haven’t said publicly, I’d like to see us do more things at the Civic Center,” Mr. Pendergrass said. “It’s kind of behind the times. … Long-term, bringing that up to date, either re-modeling or re-building so you can bring more events.”

That no doubt sounds good to Mr. Mielke.

“We’re focusing on adding indoor sports,” Mr. Mielke said.

Indoor or outdoor, the economic impact of amateur sports may continue growing in Lee County. 

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Concussions in Youth Sports: Who’s Liable ?

   Paul Anderson paul.anderson@marquette.edu) is director of the sports law program and National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School.

Joseph’s mother, Debra Pyka, sued Pop Warner claiming that it knew of the harm related to concussions in youth football and did nothing to inform Joseph or his family. Pop Warner eventually settled the case, leaving its potential liability unclear.

Much of sports concussion awareness is related to class action lawsuits against the NFL and NCAA. However, while there are thousands of college and professional football players in the United States, there are millions of kids playing youth and high school football — 3.5 million and 1.1 million, respectively. As a result, the number of actual and potential concussions suffered by youth football players is exponentially higher.

Due to a lack of understanding of concussion symptoms and the problem of underreporting, the exact number of concussions occurring in youth and high school sports is difficult to pinpoint. However, a 2016 study by FAIRHealth found a 500 percent increase from 2010 to 2014 in concussion diagnosis for those under the age of 22, with 46 percent of those diagnoses occurring in the 15-to-18 age range.

Debra Pyka’s lawsuit on behalf of her deceased son is not unique. When a child suffers a concussion and its debilitating effects, parents often search for someone or some organization to be liable for their child’s harm.
Blame game
Some have argued that sports participants who cause others to suffer this type of harm should be liable. This is not likely, as a participant’s duty is to use due care to not increase the risks of participation in sport, and these days there is virtually no sport in which concussion is not an inherent risk of participation (Knight v Jewett, 3 Cal. 4th 296 (1992)). Some states even have statutes that provide immunity to participants for negligent conduct in sport. In Wisconsin, for example, sports participants would be immune from liability, as no cases have argued that another participant could or did intentionally cause a concussion (Wis. Stat. §895.525(4m)).

Coaches have also been sued when a player suffers a concussion. In 2017, Sean McNamee, a high school football player in Florida, won a $2 million settlement from the Hillsborough County School District after his fall onto field striping equipment caused a serious concussion. The court found that McNamee’s coach breached his duty not to increase the risks inherent in football participation by providing inadequate supervision of the football field and by leaving the striper there. Though coaches in every jurisdiction have a similar duty, they also benefit from several immunity defenses — including public official and sovereign immunity — that can come into play if they work for a public school or other public entity.

Medical personnel have also been sued based on claims that their negligence exacerbated the harm caused by a youth sports concussion. According to recent reports, on March 21 a jury in Montana found a health system not guilty after an athletic trainer it had provided to Belt High School cleared a football player to return to the field one week after he had suffered a concussion in September 2014. The player collapsed on the sideline with a severe brain injury during the subsequent game, leaving him a paraplegic — unable to speak or care for himself. Thirteen days of testimony revealed a lack of communication among coaches and care providers, but no liability was assigned to the health system. Although some cases have found that the medical provider’s own conduct caused the harm and breached the duty to provide reasonable medical care — for instance, an athletic trainer found liable for not adequately communicating to a physician the symptoms of a concussed football player (Pinson v State, 1995 Tenn. App. LEXIS 807 (Ct. App. Tenn. 1995)) — more often than not at the youth and high school levels there exists no individual qualified to provide proper medical care. After suffering his concussion, Sean McNamee was sent to the locker room, where he was examined by a coach instead of being referred to a medical provider.

Injured high school athletes and their parents have even sued the governing bodies that set the rules and often host the actual competitions during which injury occurs. Targeted organizations have included Pop Warner, USA Water Polo, USA Soccer and the National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as state high school athletic associations in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Each suit has focused on claims that these organizations bear some responsibility because their concussion protocols are inadequate and increase the risk of harm.

Courts, however, have continued to find concussions an inherent risk and have been reluctant to find these organizations liable.

While most state statutes mandate education for athletes and parents so that they can recognize the symptoms of concussion, barely more than half of these laws mandate education for coaches — the gatekeepers deciding when an athlete should be removed from a game. [Illustration by Arnel Reynon]

Evolving law
By 2015, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had enacted youth concussion laws modeled after the so-called Zackary Lystedt Law (Rev. Code Wash. §28A.600.190), passed in Washington state in 2009 in honor of a high school football player who suffered serious brain injuries after being sent back into a game with a concussion.

While most state statutes mandate education for athletes and parents so that they can recognize the symptoms of concussion, barely more than half of these laws mandate education for coaches — the gatekeepers deciding when an athlete should be removed from a game. In addition, while every statute includes some sort of return to play (RTP) guidelines, none specifically follows any recognized medical standards for these guidelines. While virtually all statutes leave the RTP decision to a health care provider, it can be difficult to determine exactly who is qualified.

Perhaps most important, half of these state laws provide some form of immunity. Wisconsin’s law, for example, provides civil immunity from harm for coaches, officials and volunteers in certain circumstances for failure to remove a player and for improper authorization to participate (Wis. Stat. §118.293(5)). Given this immunity — and the fact that courts will rarely hold other players, coaches, medical care providers and organizing associations liable unless they increase the risk of harm — injured children are left with little hope of recovery.

This situation may have changed in July 2017. Drew Swank had been diagnosed by a physician as having suffered a concussion after a violent hit while playing 8-man football in Spokane Valley, Wash., in September 2009. His symptoms cleared, but while playing in the following week’s game, Swank vomited and collapsed near the end of the second quarter. His parents alleged that the team’s volunteer coach berated Swank during that game, even pulling on his helmet’s facemask. He died two days later.

Faced with a state law and its immunity provision (the model for Wisconsin’s provision), the court reviewing the Swanks’ claim against the school and coach implied a cause of action into the law that can be brought to enforce educational standards and other requirements (Swank v. Valley Christian Sch., 188 Wash.2d 663 (2017)).

If other states follow this court’s lead, we may begin to see statutes containing educational, RTP and other additional standards beyond the already established duty to provide a sports experience that does not increase the risk of harm. This may finally provide some impetus for coaches and others involved to be properly trained and to err on the side of caution when any symptoms of concussion occur.

In the end, this is not a football problem alone. The risk of concussion is high in many other sports — from soccer and field hockey to water polo and cheerleading — and if courts allow enforcement of these laws, perhaps we will shift from focusing on the after effects of concussions to following standards of care that protect athletes from this harm in the first instance.


This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title “Concussions in youth sports: Who’s liable?.” Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry.

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City of Ruston, LA. hosts ribbon cutting for new sports complex !

Shreveport, LA – The City of Ruston invited the community to a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Ruston Sports Complex yesterday, May 3rd at 10:00am. The ceremony took place North of the T-ball parking lot.

The Ruston Sports Complex will include:

• 8 Youth Baseball Fields

 

• 3 T-Ball Fields

• 8 Girls Softball Fields

• 3 Adult Softball Fields

• 9 Tennis Courts

• 3 Soccer/Football Fields

 

• High School Baseball Field

• Cross County Course

• Walking Trails

• 6 Acre Lake

The Ruston Sports Complex is funded by the “Moving Ruston Forward” tax initiative and is projected to be complete by January of 2019.

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Ball Diamond Specials from BEACON Ballfields ! (May)

May 1, 2018       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com
Check out this week’s Anniversary Specials on bases!

THIS WEEK’S FIELD THOUGHTS

A well-maintained ballfield has a smooth surface, both on grass and skinned areas. But in contrast stand the bases, protruding up from the smooth surface. One wrong step, one improper slide, and injury can occur. It is up to the groundskeeper to minimize that risk.

Visit our Groundskeeper University module on bases to see how frequent base inspection and base care — along with proper maintenance to the playing surface surrounding the bases — goes a long way toward reducing the risk of player injury. This module is presented in two sections covering Safety & Base Care and On-field Maintenance & Placement. Like all Groundskeeper U lessons and modules, photo, video and audio aids help bring you up to speed.

Click to see the tips & techniques regarding bases and base care from former Orioles’ head groundskeeper and GU author, Paul Zwaska: 107. Base Placement & Care

Visit Ballfields.com frequently for tips & articles and GroundskeeperU.com for online training.

Schutt Home Plate w/ Solid Wood Core  SAVE $10

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day. A Beacon exclusive! We’ve put everything together – solid wood core, high quality Schutt rubber and at a great price. This wood core home plate is truly a great value. (Valid thru May 6, discount applied automatically)

Schutt Four-Sided Pitching Rubber  SAVE $10

Typically ships within 3–5 business days. Designed to be buried and rotated occasionally  for a longer lasting solution. This economical pitching rubber is constructed from rubber with PVC tube insert. (Valid for adult or youth model thru May 6, discount applied automatically)

Orange Cap Base Anchor Plug  Now only $5.25!

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day. Use on ground anchors when bases are not in use. Prevents dirt buildup around stake and inside sleeve. Sold as single plug. (Valid for Orange Cap anchor plug only thru May 6, discount applied automatically)

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — Bolco Firm Grip Plateau Pitching Rubber  — SAVE $10-$12!  – Tough vinyl pitching rubber with wood block filled core. Brand-new condition. NOW ONLY $30-39 (Reg. $42-49)

By Groundskeepers, For Groundskeepers.

The time and effort necessary to train new staff each year can become overwhelming, and that’s exactly why we developed Groundskeeper U. GU is the perfect online tool for teaching new staff, summer help, and volunteers. Through videos, photos, audio, and written material your staff will learn the right way with the tried and true practices taught by Paul Zwaska.

Enjoy this by-groundskeepers-for-groundskeepers resource and, when you find a lesson or technique you know others will benefit from, be sure to share it on social media and with your colleagues!

Visit Groundskeeper University

Find what you need, it’s all here.

If you there’s something your field needs, you’ll find it in our catalog. Request your copy of The Ultimate Ballfield Resource. Our 2018 catalog features a complete listing of products to keep you rolling with everything you need all season long. This is your go-to must-have resource.

Request a Catalog

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Jenks’ Titan Sports Complex Nearing Completion !

 

JENKS, Oklahoma – Monday, we got a sneak peek inside the 190,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor Titan Sports Complex in Jenks.

Construction began at 81st and Elwood nearly two years ago and now it’s within a few weeks of opening.

It has indoor and outdoor soccer fields, lacrosse fields, basketball and volleyball courts, plus a health club.

“Mom and dad can workout at the health club while their kids are practicing little kids can do their practicing while their siblings are playing out on the fields so we’ve really designed this as an all-encompassing family unit,” said Stan Liedel with Titan Sports Center.

The complex will also host tournaments for soccer, basketball and volleyball year-round.

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$50M Iowa sports complex nears completion !

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) — Work is nearly complete on a $50 million sports complex in eastern Iowa that includes soccer and baseball fields, hardwood courts and an entertainment center.

The new TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf sprawls across 76 acres, the Quad-City Times reported . It’s being developed by BettPlex LLC and its founder Doug Kratz.

The complex will open May 4 with a baseball tournament featuring more than 100 teams, said Kira Brabeck, marketing director for the complex. The bowling and entertainment center will open May 29, while the indoor sports complex and fitness center will open June 15.

 BettPlex officials and the Build to Suit construction team visited nearly a dozen other sports facilities to get ideas about what the complex should include, Brabeck said.

The complex will offer league activities for children and adults in baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, bowling and flag football.

The area also features arcade games, laser tag, concessions and a bar and grill.

“We wanted a way to keep families entertained and on site,” Brabeck said. “They never have to leave and be stressed out about missing their next game. It’s all here and it’s less stress for the families, which we wanted.”

Other development plans are also in progress that aims to bring new retail options, a gas station and a hotel to the area, said Mike Sampson, chief financial officer for the complex.

“This whole area is going to get developed,” Sampson said.

Complex officials expect the complex to draw more than 750,000 visitors annually.

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Crowding the plate: BBQ, high-end burgers and dogs among many food options at ONEOK Field !

Tulsa, OK – This is from the 1908 song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game:” Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.

This, 110 years later, could be something you hear at ONEOK Field: Should I get a loaded barbecue baked potato, a gourmet burger, a wet burrito or tabouli?

People expect choices when they come to a game, according to Cody Malone, the Tulsa Drillers’ director of food and beverage.

“That’s kind of the way the trend is going,” Malone said during an interview at ONEOK Field. “Yankee Stadium has a sushi restaurant in it and a steakhouse. We can’t do that here, but we can do Philly cheesesteaks. We can do barbecue. We can do high-end burgers and dogs. We can do good, quality food here in Tulsa. People want to come here, and they want to try new things. They don’t just want nachos and hot dogs and draft beer.”

You can still get the basics, of course. The Drillers sell more hot dogs (about a quarter of a million per year) than any other food item.

But the variety of concession items is such that it may take a season ticket holder all year long to get through them all, according to Malone.

“That, or they have got to be really good at eating,” he said.

Challenge accepted ?

A recent trek to ONEOK Field, 201 N. Elgin Ave., was intended to be a multi-item taste-testing expedition. But a bases loaded baked potato, topped with barbecue brisket, was such a big-boy meal that there wasn’t enough belly room left to try anything else (except maybe a few bites of ice cream served in a mini plastic batting helmet).

The mission of the expedition was revised. It became a scouting mission instead: Find things to try on the next visit, like souvenir barbecue nachos served in a batting helmet.

Malone said he and other staffers have fun coming up with new items. It’s their offseason sport.

“As food and beverage professionals, we go to food shows,” he said. “We go out to eat and try new ideas. And I’m a chef by trade so I go out and try anything I can. I spend my time going out and eating and drinking and finding new ideas or thinking of new ideas to bring back to the ballpark and try.”

He said they “practice” new hot dogs and burgers over the winter and have sessions where they “throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks.” He was speaking in the figurative sense, of course.

New wrinkles at ONEOK Field include a Greenwood Smoke Shack concession and a House Divided concession with a diverse selection of gourmet dogs and burgers. If you’re feeling adventuresome, House Divided is where you can go to try something different, according to Malone.

ONEOK Field previously served barbecue and gourmet vittles in different locales, but Malone said the goal was to refocus on quality.

For instance:

“We already offered barbecue, and I have always been proud of our barbecue, but we wanted to make it more of a barbecue restaurant experience,” he said, adding that he thinks the barbecue at ONEOK Field rivals the barbecue served at many area restaurants.

“I’m not going to name names, but there are a lot of ballparks in this country that will buy their barbecue out of a tub and that’s not us.”

Malone said the Drillers make all their barbecue from scratch.

“We have a smoker we run 24 hours a day during homestands,” he said. “We will start it a day or two before a homestand and run it through the last day of a homestand just to keep up with demand.”

You can travel the country, or the globe, on your stomach at ONEOK Field. Santa Fe Burger. Sonoran Dog. A Mexican-themed concession cart (“Tulsans love their wet burritos.”) and Siegi’s sausage carts are probably the park’s most popular carts, according to Malone.

Not every innovation is a hit. Malone said they have tried some things that didn’t work, including gelato and an Asian food cart.

“It didn’t really take off the way we thought it was going to,” he said when talking about the Asian fare. “We gave it a couple of years and it didn’t quite work, but we are always willing to try something new.”

Malone’s goal is to make visitors want to eat at the park instead of eating somewhere else before games. And he wants to make sure there is something for everyone, including healthier options (a Farmer’s Market sells whole fruit, salads and wraps), gluten-free items and vegetarian-friendly food. He said he has given his cellphone number to visitors with special dietary needs so he can help them find what they need.

There’s an emphasis on Oklahoma.

“I’m an Okie,” Malone said. “I’m a proud Okie. Oklahoma has lots of great quality ingredients. We try to source as many of those as possible to make a good quality product here at ONEOK Field.”

The park was honored as a restaurant of the month by the Made In Oklahoma Coalition in 2015. Even funnel cakes are made from scratch with Oklahoma ingredients.

“We have a 60-quart mixer back there,” Malone said. “Most stadiums, they will buy a powdered funnel cake mix and just add water and go that route. We take the time and do it right with fresh eggs and Shawnee Mills flour. We do it our way.”

ONEOK Field also offers local craft beer. Said Malone: “Oklahoma has got great ingredients to make great products, and beer is one of them.”

Frito pie: Better in the bag !

Ball Diamond Specials from BEACON Ballfields ! (April)

Apr. 24, 2018       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com
Check out this week’s Anniversary Specials on tarps!

THIS WEEK’S FIELD THOUGHTS

With the baseball/softball season in full swing rain showers can become a regular factor for groundskeepers in many parts of the country. But, baseball field area tarps are used for more than just rain protection. In fact, the primary purpose of mound and home plate tarps is to manage moisture in the soil and clay beneath them. Tarps are put in place to keep moisture from evaporating from the mound and batter’s and catcher’s boxes. The more moisture you keep in your clay areas, the better they perform and the less wear you will experience in those areas. Protection from rainfall is actually a secondary benefit of tarping the mound and plate areas. But this is as equally important as holding moisture in. There are several different types of tarp materials available but this post really deals with the care and anchoring of these important groundskeeping tools.

Click to see the tips for your tarps from Beacon’s Paul Zwaska on Ballfields.comCaring for Baseball Tarps

Visit Ballfields.com frequently for tips & articles andGroundskeeperU.com for online training.

8oz FieldShield STANDARD Hem Area Tarps  SAVE $16-$60

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day. Lighten up, but stay tough. These pitching mound covers and home plate tarps handle easy, but wear hard. Made in the USA and high quality. Includes spurred, rolled rim grommets every 3 to 4 ft. (Valid for the 8oz tarps only thru April 29, discount applied automatically)

8oz FieldShield WEIGHTED Hem Area Tarps   SAVE $20-$80

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day. Goodbye, sandbags. No need for bags, pins, or weights. Made in the USA, high-quality pitching mound covers and home plate tarps. (Valid for the 8oz tarps only thru April 29, discount applied automatically)

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — 29′ DIA 8oz FieldShield Home Plate Area Tarp, Weighted Hem  — SAVE $100!  – This 29′ home plate area tarp has been used and is a little dirty — but pretty much like it would be after your first use or so. It’s really a great value at $100 off. Slightly-used condition. Only ONE in stock… NOW ONLY $539 (Reg. $639)

By Groundskeepers, For Groundskeepers.

The time and effort necessary to train new staff each year can become overwhelming, and that’s exactly why we developed Groundskeeper U. GU is the perfect online tool for teaching new staff, summer help, and volunteers. Through videos, photos, audio, and written material your staff will learn the right way with the tried and true practices taught by Paul Zwaska.

Enjoy this by-groundskeepers-for-groundskeepers resource and, when you find a lesson or technique you know others will benefit from, be sure to share it on social media and with your colleagues!

Visit Groundskeeper University

This is the Catalog You Need.

If you there’s something your field needs, you’ll find it here. Request your copy of The Ultimate Ballfield Resource. Our new 2018 catalog is now available and it feature a complete listing of products to keep you rolling with everything you need all season long. This is your go-to must-have resource.

Request a Catalog
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Guaranteed good eats: Sox Park offers new twists on classic ballpark food, most craft beer in the majors !

Joseph
Times business reporter Joseph Pete orders the Cuban Burger at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

The Chicago White Sox are rebuilding and are likely to lose more games than they win this season.

But it’s still an exciting time at Guaranteed Rate Field, a chance to see young talent develop as the Pale Hose tries to replicate the tear-it-all-down-and-stockpile-prospects approach that propelled the Cubs and Houston Astros to World Series titles. And of course the team has rolled out new food, amenities and craft beer this year.

Guaranteed Rate Field now offers than 100 different beers, including from beer sponsors Modello, Revolution and Goose Island, said concessionaire Delaware North Operations Manager Rebecca Spalding.

“We have the most craft options out of Major League Baseball,” she said. “We’ve led the charge with that. But that’s what fans are looking for. Craft beer is huge and it’s definitely something that’s hot right now. So we’re excited to be able to provide that.”

Last season, Sox Park replaced the Miller Lite Bullpen Sports Bar in right field with the Craft Kave, which sports more than 75 craft beers from 38 different Midwestern breweries, including 3 Floyds in Munster and 18th Street in Hammond. Fans could watch other games or horse races in the craft beer-themed sports bar, and pay a surcharge to sit outside right over the right field bullpen, with a view that feels like being on the field. It proved so popular they’ve added a Craft Kave Express location with 40 different brews on the 500 level.

“It’s something no other ballpark has, and it was widely received by fans,” Spalding said. “We wanted to make it available to fans on the 500 level so they don’t have to travel as far to try all those craft beers. It’s a little bit less space, so it’s just the more popular selections.”

Craft beer lovers can choose from a wide variety of India Pale Ales, pale ales, stouts, lagers, pilsners, sours and wheats.

“We have the full gamut of beers available,” Spalding said. “We don’t want all IPAs because we know our fans like all different types of beers. Whatever your taste is in beer, we want to have that for you. Craft beer lovers also want to try new things, so we, for instance, had a jalapeno ale. It was different. Craft beer lovers want to try new things.”

The Craft Kave is planning a mug club, where participants could potentially earn T-shirts or their photos on the wall after trying enough varieties of beer.

Chicago-based Revolution Brewing also is pouring six of its acclaimed craft beers on tap in the remodeled Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap room on the 200 level, which is in an all-new location that’s accessible from the stairs at Section 157. Fans can go there to charge their phones, get free T-shirts or other prizes when they check in with the MLB Ballpark app, or snap selfies in front of a life-sized Jose Abreu bobblehead or a huge map of the surrounding Bridgeport neighborhood.

There’s a rotating draft beer menu, a full bar with wine and cocktails, basic food items like pizza, phone chargers with lockers, comfy seats for hanging out and 22 televisions. There’s an outdoor patio where fans can chill out and watch the game if they prefer the view there to their own seats.

“Revolution Brewing is an established hometown brewery that shares our passion for connecting with fans who love White Sox baseball in new ways,” said White Sox Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brooks Boyer. “We are thrilled to grow our relationship with a brand that has such a strong presence in Chicago and among our fans.”

Other new features at the park include the new virtual reality batting cage in The Chicago Sports Depot near Gate 5, which simulates a 90-second home run derby at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the new Grab-’n-Go food stand in Section 142. Similar to a 7-Eleven or Walgreens, the kiosk offers beer, pop, milk, juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, hummus, salads and wraps that are often somewhat cheaper than more traditional ballpark fare.

“It’s meant for fast transactions,” Spalding said. “Just like at an airport, it has beverages, salty and sweet snacks and healthier choices. It’s a one-stop shop for fans to get items that couldn’t find anywhere else in the ballpark. We do get requests for healthy items, and want to have that available for the fans that like it. It’s definitely a need our fans do have. People are always in search of healthy options.”

There’s also a wealth of new concessions on the 100-level and 500-level concourses, including Affy Tapple Caramel Apples, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Rods, Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches, Cuban Burgers, Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, Johnsonville Specialty Sausages and Organic Apple Strawberry Frozen Juice Cups.

For fans lucky enough to land seats in the club level, there’s also new Buffalo Chicken Empanadas; Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders; provolone-stuffed dough balls known as Knuckle Balls; and the South Side Horseshoe, a spin on the classic open-face Springfield sandwich that loads Italian sausage, giardiniera, hand-cut fries and Modelo cheddar sauce on thick-cut Texas toast.

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
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Lincoln City, NB Council approves new sports facility !

 

April 18, 2018

On Monday the Lincoln, NB city council approved a new project.  It will be west Lincoln’s very own sports facility.

Authorization was given to fund a brand new, 78,000 square foot indoor sports complex that will be able to hold eight basketball courts or 12 volleyball courts.

The nearly 12 million dollar complex will be called the Lincoln Sports Facility.

“We are one step closer to making this project a reality. Sports tourism is becoming a really big business in the United States and we believe this will attract a number of people from outside of Lincoln,” said developer Sam Manzitto.

Pending a traffic safety study, construction documents will be filed shortly. 

The location will be across the street from west gate plaza near west O street and southwest 14th plaza.

A little more than 10 percent of the funding will come from tax payer dollars, but city council members say the economic potential of a state-of-the-art sports complex will pay for itself with ease.

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
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