The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

New playground opens at South Anchorage Sports Park !

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) A place to play without limits. After years of planning, an all inclusive playground in South Anchorage is open.

From sensory sensitivity to mobile disabilities, the playground at the South Anchorage Sports Park is a completely custom design.

“It’s actually been under construction since 2015,” Maeve Nevins Lavtar, the project manager said.

It doesn’t matter if you’re three or 30, finding a place to swing, spin and climb is hard to resist.

“That feeling that we don’t have to keep looking over our backs and that ability to go from bike riding to climbing, sliding, swings, it’s nice to have everything,” Andria Semmler said.

Semmler traveled in with a group of moms and toddlers from Eagle River Wednesday to check out the city’s newest park.

The park officially opened on Tuesday, “It’s so different than any other park we have in Anchorage and the kids seem to really love it,” Kasey Callison said.

The playground is an all inclusive design. “It’s a playground for everyone to come to,” Lavtar said.

From the ADA accessible parking lot, to the circular path and every piece of equipment — this is a space specifically designed for those with disabilities in mind.

A giant red rope mountain, standing two stories high is in the center of the playground. Lavtar said the design is inspired by Ptarmigan Peak, which can be seen on a clear day at the park.

The park features green domes called crazy cocoons.

They’re a space for children in need of a break. “A lot of children, especially when they have autism, with this much activity they can feel anxiety so they can go in there and get there time out and feel like they’re getting a hug in a nice safe place,” Lavtar said.

A modern, double level merry-go-round is the only one of its kind in the country. The turf that blankets the park comes with a shock absorber built underneath.

A double slide with rollers and benches at the bottom seemed to be the most popular piece of equipment on Wednesday.

Lavtar said the slide is different than most,”in this playground it puts them on a level playing fields so they’re able to race each other.”

The playground is only one phase of projects coming to the sports park.

Lavtar said, new LED lighting, asphalt upgrades, two dog parks and a nearly one-mile trail are also part of the improvements included in this portion.

The park is open from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily.

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The Hitter, The Pitcher, and You !

 

“A groundskeeper’s goal is to allow hitters and pitchers to focus on their job at hand and not worry about the surface beneath them…”

We are all groundskeepers and turfgrass managers at many different levels of baseball. All of us – myself included – spend a great deal of time working on how to grow grass and manage infield dirt to achieve the highest level of playability possible on our fields. However, the reality is that in baseball the most important aspect of the game is the interaction, the confrontation, of the hitter and the pitcher. That pitch-by-pitch matchup is what drives the game. Everything else follows in its path.

Recently, I was fortunate to be part of a conference call that included Dr. Trey Rogers from Michigan State University. He stated that one of the first things he tells his students is there is not one perfect turfgrass. I agree, Dr. Rogers is 100% correct in his assessment. So let me offer this to you: when it comes to mound and home plate clay, there is not one perfect type of clay. Beacon Athletics makes a great effort to offer the finest bagged clay options on the market. Over the past two decades I have sampled clay from pretty much every major distributor in the country. We are fortunate that there are many quality options available regionally and nationally when it comes to mound and plate clay. The variables that impact these products are climate and weather.

“Climate” refers to the general meteorological trends in your area. “Weather” is about what is happening where you are right now. Some products perform better in moist conditions while others are more suited for a drier climate. Regardless of the product, I feel it is important to stock the clay that is ready to use in a few different ways. Going into a home stand, have a supply that is moist and ready to go, some with a moderate amount of moisture, and some that is very fine and screened but slightly on the dry side. This will allow you to have options from day to day when evaluating weather conditions as you work those areas. On a dry and sunny day, you can use the wetter clay to pack the mound and plate, then let the sun bake it a bit, letting it set prior to putting the tarp back on. If you have a cloudy and humid day, the drier clay will perform fine as you pack it into a moist base.

When a hitter steps into the batter’s box and a pitcher sets himself on the pitching rubber, our goal as groundskeepers is to allow them to focus on their job at hand and not worry about the surface beneath them. When it comes to these areas, think moist and very firm. Provide a surface that allows the player to get his feet settled in and get to work. The pitcher needs to focus on the catcher’s glove, and the hitter needs to find the release point of the pitcher and focus on the baseball. We do not want them worrying about the clay beneath them at that point. But what about the overall context of the environment for both the hitter and the pitcher? What is that like and what can we do to improve it as groundskeepers?

Any pitcher likes to feel as if he is right on top of the hitter. The stature of the mound itself plays a role, as does the proximity of the backstop wall to home plate. As a pitcher, you like to step on a mound with a properly sized and level table to work from. You also want to feel as if the slope is to specifications or steeper. A flat slope is a very discouraging thing to encounter in the first inning of a ballgame. The height of the mound in relation to home plate can vary greatly from one field to the next. This is due to the grade of the turfgrass between the mound and the plate in many cases. At the major league level, many fields have infield grass areas that are perfectly flat, which produces a 10” high mound that is a consistent 10” above the turfgrass and above home plate. This is an excellent way to have a quality infield if you have a sand-based root zone with properly designed drainage. One grading concept to consider for your turf is to have the 10-12 ft wide area of turfgrass from the mound to the plate level, while grading the rest of the infield turf with a slight slope for rain runoff. The physical makeup of the root zone would need to have acceptable drainage characteristics for this to work, as that area is prone to traffic and compaction.

With regard to the backstop, the worst visual feeling for a pitcher is to see a clear, chain link fence behind his catcher. You feel as if home plate is 75 feet away in that case. Wherever your backstop fence may be, a pitcher likes a solid, dark wall pad in the background … the closer to the catcher the better.

The biggest home plate mistake many in the turf industry see on fields in the community is when the entire circle is graded like a dinner plate. Your goal should be for the batter’s and catcher’s boxes to be level with the turfgrass edge in front of home plate. There are two main reasons for this. First, the catcher should be able to feel he is on level ground receiving pitches and when coming up to throw. A catcher popping up to throw out a base stealer does not want to be throwing uphill, which can cause the ball to sail a bit. Second, as a hitter you want to see level dirt and turf in front of you if at all possible. Hitting from a sunken batter’s box against a pitcher high above you is not fun. As I mentioned earlier, anything we can do to help the player be more relaxed and comfortable, the better they can focus on the ball and perform well.

Finally, a word about the batter’s eye in center field. I was extremely fortunate that at my high school in the San Francisco area, the hitter’s backdrop in center field consisted of mature redwood trees. The dense evergreen growth of those trees provided an optimal batter’s eye for us as hitters. It is always unfortunate to see a field where the hitter’s backdrop is random houses or buildings of neutral colors. For the game to be played at its optimal level, hitters should have a clean, dark, solid backdrop beyond center field to help them track the baseball out of the pitcher’s hand. While a grove of evergreen trees may not always be an option, the staff at Beacon can provide you with options for a batter’s eye backdrop that will greatly improve your facility.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful and you can continue the good work you all do improving your facilities.

Larry Divito

Larry Divito

As head groundskeeper for the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, Larry DiVito has worked in professional baseball for 23 years. Beginning as the head groundskeeper for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in 1995, Larry moved to Dodger Stadium in 2002 as assistant groundskeeper. After four seasons with the Dodgers, he was named head groundskeeper for the Washington Nationals in 2006. In his three seasons there, Larry was involved with the building of Nationals Park, which opened in 2008. He moved to Minnesota in 2009 to be a contributor with the construction of Target Field, which he helped open for the Twins in 2010. As a member of the Sports Turf Managers Association, Larry spent three years on the STMA Board of Directors from 2008-10.

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It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! ( Sept. ’17 ) !

September 18, 2017   |   BeaconAthletics.com    |   Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

 “A groundskeeper’s goal is to allow hitters and pitchers to focus on their job at hand and not worry about the surface beneath them…”

We are all groundskeepers and turfgrass managers at many different levels of baseball. All of us – myself included – spend a great deal of time working on how to grow grass and manage infield dirt to achieve the highest level of playability possible on our fields. However, the reality is that in baseball the most important aspect of the game is the interaction, the confrontation, of the hitter and the pitcher. That pitch-by-pitch matchup is what drives the game. Everything else follows in its path.

Recently, I was fortunate to be part of a conference call that included Dr. Trey Rogers from Michigan State University. He stated that one of the first things he tells his students is there is not one perfect turfgrass. I agree, Dr. Rogers is 100% correct in his assessment. So let me offer this to you: when it comes to mound and home plate clay, there is not one perfect type of clay. Beacon Athletics makes a great effort to offer the finest bagged clay options on the market. Over the past two decades I have sampled clay from pretty much every major distributor in the country. We are fortunate that there are many quality options available regionally and nationally when it comes to mound and plate clay. The variables that impact these products are climate and weather… Continue reading this article from Minnesota Twins head groundskeeper Larry DiVito on Ballfields.comThe Hitter, The Pitcher, and You

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

ProFlex Hose — SAVE $36-$56

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours!  Our most durable and longest lasting hose. This premium 1″ ID PVC hose looks and feels like rubber but the PVC material adds great durability. Long shank machined brass fittings for professional performance. Working pressure up to 150 psi. — Reg. $175 – $285  NOW $139 – $229 (valid for 50′ or 100′ thru September 30)

Deluxe Fast Retrieve Measuring Tape — SAVE up to $26

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours!  Ultra-fast rewind is three times as fastwith metal planetary gearing — no more stripped gears. No stretch with double-nylon coated steel blade. High-visibility orange polycarbonate case. Limited lifetime warranty.  — Reg. $55-135 NOW $45-109 (valid for 100′, 200′, or 300′ thru September 30)

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — 3×7 Softball Batter’s Box Liner — SAVE $195!  — Batter’s box liner, easy to use. Only the softball 3′ x 7′ remains… Brand-new condition. Only one left. First come, first served! Batter’s Box Liner

Great Deals for September!

Click for great deals and superior value from the Beacon Store. We’re highlighting selected products from The Ultimate Ballfield Resource. Our motivation is to help you work smarter with innovative products and to help you make your ballfields more playable and safe. We’ve been helping America maintain and improve its fields since 1948. And remember, if you’re not happy, we’re not happy. If something’s not right, we’ll refund your purchase price and pay for the return shipping. We guarantee 100% satisfaction. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. 

View September Specials –

Get the Ultimate Ballfield Resource…

If you need it for your field, you’ll find it here. Request your copy today. Our 2017 catalog is a complete listing of products to keep you rolling with everything you need all season long.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

SODA_AD_17
www.sadlersports.com/soda

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Warren County lodging tax to finance $15M sports complex !

The lodging tax that funds the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau will be pledged to pay off debt on a $15 million sports complex to be built west of Lebanon.

This morning, the county commissioners agreed to pledge the 3 percent lodgings tax, as well as 1 percent recently added, to fund the Warren County Sports Park at Union Village.

New England Way is across Greentree Road and near the proposed Warren County Sports Park at Union Village.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! ( Sept. ’17 ) !

September 18, 2017   |   BeaconAthletics.com    |   Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

Fall can be a great time to revisit some areas of your field that have maybe never gotten the attention they deserve. One of those areas might be your warning track. Getting it right for the age of the players using your field is important for playability and safety.

The warning track should be wide enough to give players a 3-step warning (at a full-speed run) that they are approaching a barrier. Their first step onto the track alerts them with a different texture under their feet. Their second and third steps allow players to decelerate before making contact with the barrier. With that in mind, the width of the warning track is determined by the oldest age group using the field…  To make sure you’re getting it right, continue reading on Ballfields.com with our how-to: Building the Warning Track…

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

Phantom Indoor Batting Cage — SAVE $230

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours!  Features an easy setup in as little as 2 minutes and when it’s down,  it’s down – there’s nothing left hanging. Standard hitting tunnel size is 14’W x 14’H. — Reg. $2,295 – $2,595  NOW $2,035 – $2,335 (valid for standard option only – not the combo — thru September 30)

Bolco Major League Style 175-MLB Base Set — SAVE $36

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours!  Molded one-piece heavy rubber.Universal aluminum stanchion fits 1½” & 1″ anchors. — Reg. $235  NOW $199 (thru September 30)

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — Softball Batting Cage Net — SAVE $699!  This is our Standard Batting Cage Net which is held to the strictest quality standards. This softball-sized net (55′) is used and repaired. It features hems and grommets on all sides with a door flap. Amazing value… Used condition. Softball Batting Cage Net

Great Deals for September!

Click for great deals and superior value from the Beacon Store. We’re highlighting selected products from The Ultimate Ballfield Resource. Our motivation is to help you work smarter with innovative products and to help you make your ballfields more playable and safe. We’ve been helping America maintain and improve its fields since 1948. And remember, if you’re not happy, we’re not happy. If something’s not right, we’ll refund your purchase price and pay for the return shipping. We guarantee 100% satisfaction. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. 

View September Specials –

Get the Ultimate Ballfield Resource…

If you need it for your field, you’ll find it here. Request your copy today. Our 2017 catalog is a complete listing of products to keep you rolling with everything you need all season long.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

SODA_AD_17
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Council member questions skatepark injury liability !

Since New Castle Action Sports Park, the city’s new skateboard and BMX bicycle facility, recently opened for business on S. Main Street, there have been a few injuries to some of those persons making use of the facility.

New Castle EMS Chief Josh Russell said his department has been dispatched to the “skate park” a few times, but most of those injuries have not been serious

“I don’t think it represents a public danger or nuisance,” Russell said. “For the number of people that have been participating there, I think the number of incidents we’ve had have been minimal.”

The EMS chief said his department has responded to less than a half-dozen injuries at the facility and most of them have been minor. He also suggested those persons making use of the park wear helmets and other protective gear and exercise due caution.

New Castle City Council member Lynn Perdue broached the subject of injuries at New Castle Action Sports Park at the most recent meeting of the council when he asked who is responsible if someone is injured at the facility.

“I’ve been asked a lot about injuries at the skatepark. Who is responsible for that?” he asked.

City attorney David Copenhaver immediately responded by saying the injured person is responsible for his or her own injuries.

“There’s a sign up, and state law is very clear, it’s skate at your own risk,” Copenhaver said.

He went on to say the State of Indiana has what it known as an extreme parks law that exempts cities from responsibility for injuries as long as certain conditions are met.

“As long as your skatepark is properly designed by an expert, and it’s posted that you skate at your own risk, and it’s properly maintained, and ours is brand new, that a person skates at their own risk,” Copenhaver said. “If they don’t want to assume that risk then they shouldn’t get out there and skate.”

Perdue then asked if the city should be carrying a secondary insurance policy on the action sports park and Copenhaver indicated that wasn’t necessary since the skatepark enjoys the same insurance coverage and protection as do the other municipal parks.

After years of discussion about possibly building a new skatepark and BMX biking facility, and following several months of the parks board and mayor actively seeking the funds and making plans to construct one, a large crowd gathered Aug. 12 on S. Main Street for a ribbon cutting and community picnic at the site of a new facility designed for skateboard and trick bike enthusiasts.

The new $275,000 facility was built primarily with food and beverage funds appropriated by the Henry County Council and a considerable amount of in-kind support in the form of funds, labor and materials from the city, local businesses, individuals and the welding program students at the New Castle Career Center.

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It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! ( Sept. ’17 ) !

September 11, 2017   |   BeaconAthletics.com     |    Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

School is back in session and fall sports are gearing up, that means it’s painting season! We who maintain baseball and softball fields stumble along all season painting a handful of lines at most, but it’s those who maintain football and soccer fields who are the true painting pros out there with all of the painting they need to do at this time of year. The professionals and colleges paint weekly for bright, vivid and stunning athletic masterpieces.

Lower levels of play struggle to get their fields painted due to tight financial budgets, lack of sufficient time to get on the fields to paint, or issues with having knowledgeable and capable people available to perform the layout and painting tasks.

These situations deserve the consideration of using Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) to help paint last longer on your fields. When mixed at the proper rate with diluted field paint, PGRs can allow painted field lines and artwork to last anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks longer on the turf surface before repainting is needed.  Continue reading on Ballfields.com to learn about the advantages of PGRs in the article: Making the Painting Season Less Painful

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

Battyshack Bat & Ball Holder — SAVE $10

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours!  This bat and ball holder mounts easily to the fence and features heady-duty molded plastic construction. Holds up to 5 baseballs or 6 softballs and 12 bats. Includes handy dry erase lineup / batting order card. — Reg. $49  NOW $39 (thru September 30)

GH Field Hose (50′ or 100′) — SAVE $26-$40

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours!  Improved design this hose handles a working pressure up to 150 psi. Constructed with a smooth PVC inner tube. Offer for 50′ or 100′ hose for 1″OD. — Reg. $125-$199  NOW $99-$159 (thru September 30)

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — Standard Backstop Padding — SAVE $145!  — Going fast… Only one option remains: Royal blue 4’H x 10’W. This padding was returned only for being the wrong size. Brand-new condition. Standard Backstop Padding

Great Deals for September!

Click for great deals and superior value from the Beacon Store. We’re highlighting selected products from The Ultimate Ballfield Resource. Our motivation is to help you work smarter with innovative products and to help you make your ballfields more playable and safe. We’ve been helping America maintain and improve its fields since 1948. And remember, if you’re not happy, we’re not happy. If something’s not right, we’ll refund your purchase price and pay for the return shipping. We guarantee 100% satisfaction. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. 

View September Specials –

Get the Ultimate Ballfield Resource…

If you need it for your field, you’ll find it here. Request your copy today. Our 2017 catalog is a complete listing of products to keep you rolling with everything you need all season long.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

SODA_AD_17
www.sadlersports.com/soda

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SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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New concession food for Texas A&M stadium includes three-pig nachos and more !

 New concession food for Texas A&M stadium includes three-pig nachos and more !

Football fans who descend on Kyle Field this season will have several new foods to snack on — including a pork-laden nacho dish dreamed up by executive chef David Picou.

Thursday, Picou offered an exclusive sneak peek of the mouthwatering meats and sweet sips to local media representatives and Texas A&M Athletics staff members. Some tried-and-true dishes remain, including Slovacek Sausage Company’s locally processed hot dogs, which will be sold for $4.

“The hot dog is delicious, as well as being one of the best concession-stand hot dogs I’ve ever had,” Texas A&M marketing assistant Tim Michl said Thursday. “It’s up there with what they serve at professional games’ stands.”

For Aggies who will be watching the game from select, premium seating, such as members of the All-American Club, diners can continue to enjoy brisket sandwiches and slow-smoked pulled pork sandwiches on sweet rolls.

“We really stick with what made us,” said Picou. “We smoke all of our meats in-house. I smoke 700 to 800 pounds of pork a week, and 400 to 600 pounds of beef brisket a week. This year, we’re going to have sweet tea-marinated smoked pork ribs.”

The sweet tea pork is a new dish available exclusively for members of the Legacy Club. These ribs will have been marinated in tea for 24 hours before game day, and topped with peach tea barbecue sauce.

Members of the Legacy Club aren’t the only ones who will be offered a new treat on game day, however. Fans at all levels will have the ability to experience Picou’s latest invention, the “3-Pig Nachos.” Instead of tortilla chips, the nachos use fried pork skins and covered in pulled barbecue pork, in-house made queso, smoked sausage “croutons,” in-house made salsa and Picou’s Dr Pepper-flavored barbecue sauce. The nachos can be purchased at the game for $12.

“We did this a couple years ago with the baseball stadium, and back then it was a huge hit,” Picou said.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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An $800 Million “Sports Park” Resort Approved In Las Vegas !

Las Vegas, NV – Guess this will answer not only the “what can The kids do in Las Vegas” questions, but also the “we’re not gamblers what can we do during the day” questions. (Although the project includes a casino).

Too ambitious? Bad location? Will it actually happen?

“Plans call for a man-made white-water rapids lake, three cable wakeboarding lakes, an indoor mountain biking track, an indoor skydiving attraction and a pool with water slides and “dunk tank towers.”

It also would feature an activity tower with rock climbing and bungee jumping, zip coasters throughout the park and a 640-room hotel-casino with convention space, restaurants and two rooftop swimming pools, county documents show.”

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Officials kick goal to open first of new soccer fields at Sports Park !

O’FALLON, IL.  – The soccer fields being built at the Family Sports Park as part of the Destination O’Fallon project reached a big milestone on Thursday, as city and county officials came together to dedicate the first field to be completed.

Mayor Herb Roach, various elected officials, and local children take part in kicking the ceremonial first goal to open the first soccer field completed as part of the Destination O’Fallon project.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Parks and Recreation Director Mary Jeanne Hutchison thanked and praised the work of the many contractors and developers that worked hard to ensure the opening took place near the end of the summer.

The field that opened Thursday is the first of eight all-weather lighted fields to be built.

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