The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

The BEST whisker anchor plug you will find !

Black Foam Whisker Base Plug

The BEST whisker anchor plug you will find. Strong & durable, the snug fit keeps infield debris out of your base anchors. Buy them individually or in a Beacon Bucket with either 15 or 30 base plugs, a handle, lid, and featuring bilingual tips for base maintenance. The Black Foam Whisker Plug fits 1.5″ anchors (whisker colors vary).

Richland County looking to build a sports complex to attract huge travel tournaments !

IMG_9937.jpg

Richland County Recreation Commission director Lakita Watson welcomes participants in the Atlanta Braves Country Battles travel baseball tournament at Kelly Mill Sports Complex in Elgin in April. The commission and Richland County Council are considering the prospect of a travel sports complex in the county that can host large tournaments and attract visitors from throughout the country. Provided/Richland County Recreation Commission.

Richland County Recreation Commission director Lakita Watson talks about the agency’s plan for a large sports complex during a meeting at Doko Meadows Park in Blythewood on June 3.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

COLUMBIA, GA. — More than 90 youth baseball teams poured into northeast Columbia in April to participate in a travel tournament affiliated with Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves.

The visitors spent about $275,000 while here competing at Kelly Mill Sports Complex in Elgin. Richland County Council chairman Paul Livingston attended and offered remarks to the participants; the event was by all accounts successful and well received.

“That’s a four-field complex,” said Scott Powers, director of Experience Columbia SC Sports, which markets the area’s sports offerings to visitors. “Imagine what we could do with an eight-, 10-, 12-field complex.”

Richland County officials have imagined what such a space would mean for the area and are beginning to explore where such a layout would be built and most importantly, how it would be funded. The county has received separate requests from private groups via Livingston for millions of dollars in county hospitality tax money raised from restaurant meals and grocery purchases to help build similar features.

The public Richland County Recreation Commission, seeking a new direction with agency head Lakita Watson, has determined such an offering is needed and is moving forward with seeking public input and partners to get it done.

A Charlotte-based consultant hired by the commission has already confirmed that such a complex would be successful, Watson said. Next steps will be to talk with county officials about potential locations, ways to pay for the work and possible private partners.

County decision-makers have already received requests from a private organization for $4 million in public money for a volleyball complex and another from the nonprofit S.C. Kings Foundation for $9.5 million in tax dollars to help build a sports complex in Irmo.

County Council, instead of considering the individual requests, decided to consider the idea of a travel sports complex more generally, beginning with a committee.

Livingston said some on council has always felt like the county’s hospitality tax funds could best be used toward a few grand projects instead of dozens of smaller grants to organizations whether the effect is perceived to be less felt.

The county spent millions to renovate Columbia’s Township Auditorium this way. And while the improvements helped draw big-name acts such as John Legend and Avett Brothers to the concert venue, the county unsuccessfully attempted to use hospitality funds for a destination farmers market off of Shop Road and a water park on county property on Farrow Road.

He said he doesn’t know the direction the discussion will take with council on a sports complex “but it at least warrants a discussion.”

“I support getting back into that,” Livingston said. “I support trying to get a really nice destination site for our community.”

Watson envisions a complex with indoor and outdoor facilities that can accommodate numerous tournament competitions at the same time. The site should be in a visible area with the infrastructure in place to easily get people in and out, and preferably on land the county already owns to avoid the additional cost.

Asked about the prospect of the sports layout setting off a fight for which council member can secure the complex for their district, Watson said a list of objective criteria should help determine the ultimate location and avoid jurisdictional spats.

The necessary space is much larger in scale than a typical recreational park tailored to a specific community, Powers said. A baseline project could easily cost $25 million to $30 million, he said.

The payoff could come in the form of visitors who come from all over the country to compete in tournaments, spending money in hotels and restaurants and driving demand for new hotels around the facility. Travel sports was a $45 billion industry in 2019, Powers said.

Columbia, once fairly competitive with other regional destinations, has fallen behind in recent years as travel sports have boomed, Powers said.

The capital city could learn from similar cities like Rock Hill that don’t have the beach or mountains to attract visitors but have made sports tournaments the draw. The city of Rock Hill, south of Charlotte in York County, has Cherry Park and Manchester Meadows soccer complex — amenities that bring in millions in economic impact.

The Braves tournament at Kelly Mill had to spill over to two fields overseen by the Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission. A 60-team travel basketball tournament in March brought in $400,000 in outside spending but occupied five Richland County Recreation Commission gymnasiums throughout the area.

“It’s all come back to whose got the money? Where is the money going to come from?” Powers said. “I guess that’s the biggest nut we have never been able to crack, is how are we going to fund that?”

And while he has professed the area’s need for such a sports complex for more than 15 years, Powers said he’s not suggesting elected officials open the public’s wallet and that the best option will likely include significant support from the private side.

The county recreation commission’s ability to borrow money for big projects has been curtailed for the next 10 years because of previous financial choices that tied up the agency’s debt.

The commission is unique in that its board is appointed by the state but receives its operational funding and limited money for park improvements from the county, Watson explained during a public meeting in Blythewood on June 3. Money will also be needed to eventually improve or replace aging county pools like Trenholm Park — a recent survey showed county residents would like an indoor pool, and such a facility is part of Watson’s long-range plan.

That’s all to say the agency can’t bear the cost of a state-of-the-art sports complex on its own.

“But are there other ways? Yes sir,” Watson said. “We just need to sit down and figure out what they look like.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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

[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

The Bridge Sports Complex officially opens to the public in Harrison County !

Posted: Jun 10, 2021

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – A new sports facility in Bridgeport is officially open.

The Bridge Sports Complex opened its doors to the public on Wednesday.

Employees around the front desk at The Bridge Sports Complex
The 156,000 square-foot facility is already busy with summer camps for kids and adult sports leagues.

The complex also offers basketball courts, a nearly full-size track, a climbing area and more.

Preview: The Bridge Sports Complex
Officials for the complex said residents have been excited to see what the facility is all about.

“It’s been great. We’ve seen a lot of strong interest from people just wanting to come check out the facility, excited to finally use it. I know it’s been a long time coming,” said Andrew Kurtz, director of business development at The Bridge.

To view or purchase memberships for The Bridge, visit its website here.

  • ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

    We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

    * ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

    ( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

    1-800-622-7370

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

    www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

    www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

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

    [[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

    ** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

COMMENTARY — Call made to rekindle softball’s ‘glory days’ !

Virgin Islands softball once soared and reached the pinnacle of international competition, excellence, and prominence. However, its status and standing has declined precipitously in the past decades. As such, the softball governing body needs to take urgent action to re-elevate it to local, regional and international competitiveness and prominence. The exuberance of its glory days needs to be recaptured.

George Hancock, a reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, presumably invented softball in 1887. It was labelled “indoor baseball,” but it moved outdoor in spring 1888. Also called mushball and kittenball, the sport changed officially to softball around 1920. Softball includes three disciplines: fastpitch, modified fastpitch, and slow pitch.

Softball was organised in the United States in 1933 with the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA). Men first played the sport, but now it is more prevalent among women, growing in popularity across the US and the rest of the world. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) lists 69 countries and territories in its standing. And the International Softball Association lists 122 national federations as members.

Softball is currently an Olympic event for women. It first became an Olympic event for the 1996 games, but softball and baseball dropped after the 2008 Olympic games. The Olympics placed softball and baseball back in the games for the 2020/2021 games in Tokyo, Japan. Their inclusion for the 2024 games is uncertain.

US service members played a key role in introducing softball outside the US to other countries. Since the official softball organisation launched in 1933, many organisations have formed and many competitions have been rolled out. They include the International Softball Federation (ISF) in 1965; the first Fastpitch World Championship for Women in 1965; the first World Competition for Junior Men and Women in 1981; and the Slow-pitch World Championship in 1987.

In the VI

Closer to home, Gaston Penn learned about softball in St. Thomas. He is widely credited with bringing the game to the VI. Randolph “Mose” Malone and Archibald Francis were instrumental in engaging women in the sport in the VI. Softball was first played in Road Town at the Old Recreation Ground, now the E. Walwyn Brewley Field.

In the early days, equipment was in short supply, and the players had to improvise. For example, bats were fashioned of branches from trees in the nearby hills, and gloves were prized possessions that were generally shared. Some fields were rocky. For practice, broomsticks and other pieces of wood were used to hit rocks, sponges and tennis balls.

I remember hitting rocks at Major Primary School and sending a sharp liner into Leslie Malone’s taxi door. Hearing the impact, I dashed for cover and concealment, but the fellows ratted me out. Mr. Malone was heated, but it was all good in the end, even after a scolding at home.

Nonetheless, a strong passion for the game ensued, and the game spread like wildfire throughout the territory’s communities. The villages embraced, owned and supported their village teams. The village supporters were the 10th man when their teams were playing. They turned up and turned out to robustly support their teams. Each village and geographical area had at least one team.

Teams included the Tigers, Marlins, Astros, Jets, Twins, Bears, Animals and Vets in Road Town; the Hot Shots and Byrds in Sea Cows Bay; the Hunters in Huntums Ghut; the Blue Jays in Cappoons Bay; the Blue Wings and Red Legs in Baughers Bay; the Hawks, Roots, Atoms, Knights, Rays and Mars in East End/Long Look; the Clippers and Royals in Brewers Bay; and the Rockets in Belle Vue. Women’s teams included the Warriors, Angels, Amazons, Hawks and Lady Braves. Clearly, this list is incomplete, for many teams may have been inadvertently left out.

School teams

Moreover, in addition to league play, the government introduced softball into primary and secondary schools. At Major Bay Primary (now Willard Wheatley), we didn’t have uniforms, so we would use white t-shirts with our name and school written on them in marker. As kids, softball was the primary sport, and we played every chance we got.

Further, the school teams were the feeder/minor league of sorts for the league teams, keeping the sport solid and vibrant.

Reaching back into the old memory bank, I remember Major Bay Primary playing against a town team. Either Joseph “Scruff” Percival or Austin Todman was catching for the town team, and I galloped towards home plate, trying to score. A rough tag was applied at the plate, throwing me towards the trees behind the plate, or so Mr. Todman and Butchie Eddy narrate the story. Oh, the good old, fun days of softball.

Stars players

Mario “Black” Connor, brother of Elmo “Equalizer” Connor, was the best overall complete player in VI softball history. He was a genuine all-rounder: He hit, pitched, and fielded equally well, and played every position skilfully.

Other top tier players include Aston “Flag” Barronville (who effectively made the transition from cricket to softball), David “Jacky” Todman (who completed the same transition), Rufus “Hook” Scatliffe, Irvin “Fletcher” Scatfliffe, Ishmael Scatliffe, Rupert Smith, Elton “Elibit” Smith, Elmo “Equalizer” Connor, James “Butchie” Eddy, Rene “Panchie” Julius, Eric “Hippie” Matthias, Raymundo “Mundo” Boynes, Clinton “Butch” Walters, Jerome “Lolla” Parson, Edwin “Boss” Hodge, Freddy “Jerado” Matthias, Nichol Rhymer, Roy “Panhandle” Hill, Dolph Cline, Glen Industrious, Mac Hodge, Roy “Picko” Pickering, Valence “Mantle” Malone, Rufus “Sleepy” Malone, Marvin Malone (who made the transition from cricket to softball), Elroy Franklyn, Clement “Tommy” Turnbull, Ralston “Rabbit” Daly (popularised the “in-shoot” pitch), Frank Daly, David “Flopper” Matthias, the Mercer brothers (Charles, Sam, Raymond “Mahassa,” and James “Hanbrook”), Edward “Batman” Francis, Bert “Big Man” Henley, Kermit “Web” Frett, Nolan “Dickie” Davies, Neville “Sheep” Smith, Allen “Woodrow” Smith, Raymond “Jackson” Smith, Sylvester “Bucker” Johnson, Ely Henley and Elton “Uppy” Leonard.

Female players of note included Doris “Dopu” Scatliffe, Eda Ham, Eva Simmonds, Lydia Pickering, Leola Todman, Ivana Monsanto, Bernice Smith, Gracie Hodge, Jennifer “Mela” Johnson, Patsy Thompson, Adina Nibbs, Jelisha Potter, Che’Vaunne Richardson, Bria Smith, Leonel George, Dorothy Durante, Kennisha Powell, and Pearline Scatliffe-Leonard.

This list is incomplete and may create some active discussion and controversy regarding who was included or left off. It is open for debate. It is important to note that women have had the same passion for the game as men.

Executives

Moreover, the following are just a few of the important game executives. Leading the pack is E. Walwyn “GM” Brewley, after whom the Road Town softball facility is named. He dedicated more than 40 years to softball as a player, statistician, official scorer, announcer, treasurer, vice-president, and VI Amateur Softball Association president. The International Softball Association inducted him into its hall of fame for his contributions to developing softball in the VI. Further, as the VI softball president, he was ably supported by Eileene “Ms. P” Parsons and Juliette Penn, among others. Ms. P, a cultural icon, is also a deep repository of VI softball information. Further, displaying exemplary leadership, the GM continued to serve as chief cook and bottle washer for softball even while serving as a legislator, minister of communications and works, and opposition leader.

Baseball in the VI

VI residents played baseball at a relatively low level. Nonetheless, baseball was a popular sport. Most Virgin Islanders were either a Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees fan (I was a Dodgers fan). There were a few exceptions, such as Walford “Mets” Hodge (NY Mets); Vincent “Old Father” O’Neal (San Francisco Giants); and Rundell “Skin Back” Hunt (Atlanta Braves).

During the Major League Baseball regular season, All-Star Game and World Series, every manjack had a transistor plastered to his or her ear enjoying the baseball commentary. The sweet commentary could be heard pouring out from every nook and cranny of homes, the ballpark, bars, domino tables, under trees, boats and so on.

The game was so popular that children played a game with baseball cards. For example, players held a card about three to four feet above a wall or tree and dropped it, and if dropped on another card, you won that card. The serious collectors didn’t use the cards of superstar players in the game; players cherished these cards.

Stars of the game included Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Willie Davis, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, Tommy Davis, Juan Marichal, Roberto Clemente, Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson, Elston Howard, John Roseboro, Dave Winfield and so on. I’m confident and convinced that given the demonstrated talent, skill, and prowess in softball and with training and the opportunity, many VI residents would have had successful careers in Major League Baseball.

Rise and decline

Softball burst onto the VI scene around the mid-1950s. As noted earlier, VI residents developed an immediate passion for the game. With little formal instruction and sheer talent, skill and perseverance, VI players played with a flair and took to softball like ducks to water. They were naturals. Consequently, the players and the game grew to a highly competitive level. Mr. Brewley — the battle-hardened voice of all things softball in the VI and a lived, walking encyclopaedia of VI softball players and stats — indicated that the VI, though small, was a force in the Caribbean and Central American regions and beyond. Cuba was the toughest competition in the region for the VI.

The VI placed 12th in the ISF Men’s World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1988. It played Cuba in the 1987 Pan Am Games for the bronze medal and lost 4-3.

Nonetheless, despite the VI’s peak, its progress has dropped precipitously in recent times. The sport is now dying on the vine with a slight pulse. And without urgent action, softball will die a painful death due to neglect.

Contributing factors

What are some of the contributing factors to the steep decline? From my vantage point, they include the following:

  1. a) centralising the game in Road Town, reducing village engagement and participation;
  2. b) competition from other sports like basketball for talent from an already small and limited talent pool;
  3. c) the decline of softball in primary and secondary schools;
  4. d) the lack of a structured and reliable feeder system for a higher amateur softball league;
  5. e) a declining pitching reservoir due to older pitchers retiring, some top pitchers emigrating, and a lack of effective tutoring mechanisms for potential, interested pitchers; and
  6. f) public underfunding for upgrading and modernising facilities.

Revitalising the sport

Softball rocketed to the top in the past and can do so again. Indeed, it can become the de jure, not just the de facto, national sport. The following are some suggestions for revitalising and breathing life back into the sport.

  1. a) government committing and allocating appropriate funding to invest in modernising softball fields across the territory;
  2. b) decentralising the sport from its current centralisation in Road Town and siting it in villages to the maximum extent possible and practical;
  3. c) participating in more local, regional and international tournaments;
  4. d) engaging more public participation in the sport;
  5. e) recruiting former players participating in the game;
  6. f) constructing and maintaining quality facilities on sister islands;
  7. g) increasing the number of leagues and tournaments;
  8. h) recruiting local and external experts to conduct training on softball fundamentals, such as pitching, hitting, fielding and so on;
  9. h) establishing a hall of fame;
  10. i) placing softball back in primary and secondary schools;
  11. j) encouraging and incentivising employers to compensate employees while engaged with the national team;
  12. k) exploring health insurance opportunities for players engaged in official league play and with the national team;
  13. l) recognising, rewarding and celebrating the national team;
  14. m) establishing Little League (B-League) as a feeder for the A-League;
  15. n) establishing a senior league for ages 55-plus; and
  16. o) establishing a public education and outreach programme.

 

Investment

Moreover, if the VI wants to be world-class and brag about top-tier competitive softball at a high level, it must act, look, behave and invest in being world-class by investing in world-class, state-of-the-art facilities. In large, advanced countries, sports are, for the most part, the province of the private sector. However, the VI is a small developing territory, and government must be the fulcrum in revitalising softball. The VI boasts of having a $1 billion gross domestic product and an operations and maintenance budget of around $400 million, so surely it can effectively afford to invest in constructing, operating and maintaining world-class softball facilities.

Given the current makeup of the House of Assembly (where many members now have a softball pedigree), many residents were giddy about softball getting more attention, support, and a strong resource shot in the arm. However, that ship has not sailed, so softball supporters are hopeful.

The VI is a small fry in the softball universe, but it can be a considerable force to reckon with, as it proved in the past. And with robust planning, it can rebound to its past glory, swimming with big fish in the softball ocean. The big question is if the decline of softball is symbolic of what is on the horizon for the VI ?

  • ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

    We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

    * ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

    ( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

    1-800-622-7370

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

    www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

    www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

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

    [[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

    ** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

How to Avoid These 6 Common Groundskeeping Mistakes !

Jun 4, 2021 · Paul Zwaska

Harness the assets that you have…
Coaches and volunteers, God love ’em. The games of baseball and softball usually can’t go on without these dedicated people who are there to either teach or just help out. Most are genuinely trying hard to do the right thing; others are just there to fill a void. It is no wonder that sports field managers cringe when they find out that the coaches and volunteers worked together to get a game in after a rain event. Instead of throwing caution to the wind and doing whatever it takes to get your game in, consider the consequences to the quality of the field surface, those who must fix it, and the other teams that are affected by your actions.

So, let’s look at some of the most common groundskeeping mistakes committed by those with good intentions, but mistakes that nonetheless create undesirable, or even detrimental, results.

COMMON MISTAKE 1: Using a broom or squeegee to push standing water off your infield skin.
UNDESIRABLE RESULT: Infield soil and topdressing are picked up along with the water and pushed off into the lip. This ends up building the lip higher, creating a natural dam, and also making the low spot, where the water collected, lower due to infield material being pushed out along with the water.

THE CORRECT ACTION: Use a puddle pump or Beacon Puddle Sponges to suck up and remove excess freestanding water in the low spots.

COMMON MISTAKE 2: Using excessive amounts of drying agent.
UNDESIRABLE RESULT: The only thing this does is waste large dollar amounts of drying agent to get games played. Excess drying agent remains on the field afterward, which can increase the speed of the field drying, but it can also help store more water at the surface in a rain event as the calcined clay drying agent gorges itself with water. This may actually slow the drying process if too much is sitting on the surface. On a field without a water source, you can actually suffer from the field getting too dry and hard as the calcined clay sucks every bit of moisture out of the infield skin.

THE CORRECT ACTION: If you walk on an infield and it is soft enough that your feet sink, it is too soft to play on. Incredible amounts of damage can occur on a ballfield when it is played on when the infield skin is too soft. Let Mother Nature do her evaporative magic first. Once the field is stable enough to walk on, then you can work to dry the low spots by removing the freestanding water first. Only then should you use drying agent to finish the drying process and it will take much less material to do so.

COMMON MISTAKE 3: Dragging an infield without removing bases, then pulling a drag right over the top of them.
UNDESIRABLE RESULT: Infield soil builds up around the bases slowly burying them and making them harder to remove. This also destroys the consistency of the surface grade across the infield. This is just plain lazy.

THE CORRECT ACTION: Remove the bases and place in dugouts. Install base plugs in base anchors before dragging infield. Cut down any high areas under or around bases with an iron rake or aluminum field rake.

COMMON MISTAKE 4: Dragging infield material into the turf edges.
UNDESIRABLE RESULT: When dragging the infield, if the drag wanders onto the turf edges, it deposits infield soil and topdressing into the turf edges which is then glued in by rainfall and irrigation cycles, unless cleaned out fairly soon afterwards. As this material builds up in the turf, it creates a lip which becomes a natural dam impeding the free flow of rainfall off the playing surface.

THE CORRECT ACTION: Stay a minimum of 6 inches away from the edge of the infield skin where it meets the turf. This will help to reduce the incidence of lip build-up. Additionally, use a push broom, leaf rake, backpack blower, yard vacuum or power broom to pull loose material out of the turf edges after you drag the skin area.

COMMON MISTAKE 5: Packing dry mound spoils back into the wear holes on the mound slope.
UNDESIRABLE RESULT: This is basically wasted effort, pure and simple. Water and clay are the glue that bind a soil together. Without those, no binding will take place, no matter how hard you pulverize and pound the old clay that has been kicked out of the wear areas. Additionally, if you pull the old clay laying on the surface of the mound back into place, it undoubtedly has also been contaminated with other materials, like topdressing or infield soil, which drastically reduce the binding power of the used material.

THE CORRECT ACTION: The only way to patch a clay area that produces an effectively sturdy and stable patch is by using fresh new clay and water. The process is as follows:

Sweep all loose material away from the wear holes.
Use water to adequately moisten the sides and bottom of the holes. Allow some time for the water to absorb into the established clay.
Add fresh clean clay to the wear areas and tamp into place. Level as needed.
Sprinkle some water over the entire surface of the patch.
Pull old topdressing and other material back over patch and finish groom.
COMMON MISTAKE 6: Not using tarps on the clay areas on the mound and home plate at the end of the day.
UNDESIRABLE RESULT: The clay areas are left open to the atmosphere where evaporation will pull the moisture out of the mound and batter’s box clay. Without the moisture in the clay, it fractures and chunks out of those areas very easily, drastically reducing its effectiveness of providing proper footing for a pitcher or hitter.

THE CORRECT ACTION: If area tarps are available, place the mound and plate tarps on whenever you finish a game or practice and no one else is around to use the field. It is always important to minimize evaporation on the clay whenever possible. BONUS: If water is available, add some water to the clay areas on the mound and batter’s box to replace what Mother Nature evaporated during the time you were using the field. Just don’t overdo it.

GIVE COACHES & VOLUNTEERS SOME TRAINING !
To help avoid these common groundskeeping mistakes, coaches and volunteers should only perform minimal work on a field — unless they have received some training. An excellent resource for basic game day groundskeeping skills is available through Beacon Athletics.

Beacon’s online training at Groundskeeper University is totally FREE and offers 8 modules covering the basics of ballfield maintenance, teaching the tried & true best practices. The training is geared toward coaches, volunteers, summer help or new grounds crew members — but, it is also an excellent refresher for experienced groundskeepers. Users signup for a free account (if you are a registered Beacon customer your BeaconAthletics.com login will work) and can track their progress as they finish the modules and lessons. In the end, you can take the final exam to gain certification — but you must be a logged in user to track & store your progress. We highly recommend this free training service to get everyone on the same page, doing things the right way. Visit GroundskeeperU.com.

Sports Field Managers have a tough and challenging job to do, especially at schools and park and recs where their time is limited at each field they manage. I’ve never met a sports field manager who didn’t have incredible pride in the work they do, no matter the situation that gets handed to them. The hope is that coaches and volunteers respect what these field managers do in order for the rest of us to play our games, both competitive and recreational. We hope this post helps you avoid these most common mistakes.

Want to learn more? Sign up for tips & specials.

Paul Zwaska – 
A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been with Beacon for more than two decades. Among his many accomplishments he authored Groundskeeper University, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Paul continues to seek innovative ways to help groundskeepers.

  • ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

    We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

    * ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

    ( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

    1-800-622-7370

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

    www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

    www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

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

    [[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

    ** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Town of Pecos City Selects Sports Facilities Companies as Operating Partner for Regional Sports Complex !

CLEARWATER, Fla.,-  June 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Located about an hour outside of Midland, TX, the Town of Pecos City’s vision of becoming an elite baseball destination will come to fruition as they prepare to open their new facility, Cyclone Ballparks. Cyclone Ballparks will open in June of 2021 and will feature 5 state-of-the-art baseball diamonds as well as batting cages and concessions. To achieve this vision, The Town of Pecos City has selected the Sports Facilities Companies (SFC) as the turn-key service provider to manage the ballpark.

With their investment in the park and selection of SFC as their facility manager/operator, the Town of Pecos City is poised to realize the economic and social benefits of a growing sports tourism industry. According to a  2019 State of the Industry report from the Sports Events and Tourism Association the number of travelers for sports events has grown by 10 million in the last 5 years and is now a $19.2 billion industry.

The Sports Facilities Companies are the trusted resource for communities who want expert management for their sports tourism, community recreation, entertainment and fitness facilities. SFC will lead the organizational and business development of the property during construction and manage all aspects of daily operations after the Grand Opening. SFC’s full-service firm provides leadership and support in event booking, tournament development, branding and marketing strategy, human resources, legal, risk management, and more. The firm represents the self-titled SFM Network, the Nation’s largest and fastest growing collection of sports and recreation facilities.

Heather Ramirez, Interim Pecos City Manager, says, “This project is something the council has been dreaming about for years and we look forward to executing our vision with SFC to transform our town into a baseball destination. Cyclone Ballparks will be the catalyst for a new era in our region as we expand on our legacy of industrial and agricultural history.”

According to City representatives, the Town of Pecos City prides itself on its love for baseball and sense of community. The City will soon draw visitors and traveling teams from local areas such as Midland/Odessa, New Mexico, Dallas and Houston. The opening of Cyclone Ballparks will enhance weekend tourism as it provides out of town guests the opportunity to stay in the 20 local nationally flagged hotels and explore local restaurants, stores, and natural attractions in the area.

SFC CEO, Jason Clement, states, “Cyclone Ballparks represents more than just baseball to the city of Pecos. This facility will bring an unprecedented level of tourism to the city that will benefit local businesses and help to enrich the sense of community that local residents feel in their beloved hometown. We are honored to be selected as the facility operator for Cyclone Ballparks and we will use our time, talent, and resources to serve the City well.”

To learn more about Cyclone Ballparks in Pecos, Texas, please visit visitpecos.com. To begin your journey in developing a sports tourism destination, visit: sportadvisory.com or sfmnetwork.com.

About The Sports Facilities Companies

The Sports Facilities Advisory, LLC (SFA), Sports Facilities Development, LLC, and Sports Facilities Management, LLC (SFM) are headquartered in Clearwater, FL. Founded in 2003, SFA has served more than 2,000 communities, produced more than $10 billion in institutional-grade financial forecasts, and provided funding strategies and solutions for more than 70+ youth and amateur sports and recreation complexes worldwide. SFD serves facility owners through owner’s representation, venue planning, and procurement services during pre-development and construction. SFM provides industry-leading, results-driven management solutions for sports, fitness, recreation, and event venues nationwide. Since 2014, SFM-affiliated venues have hosted more than 100 million visitors and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact. For more information, visit: sportadvisory.com and sfmnetwork.com.

  • ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

    We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

    * ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

    ( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

    1-800-622-7370

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

    www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

    www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

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

    [[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

    ** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

 

SoFi Stadium: Here’s the food you will want to eat !

SoFi Stadium held a tasting event for their LA Eats concept in Inglewood on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. The four concepts created in partnership with well known chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are available all over the stadium and each concept is named after a city street. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
SoFi Stadium held a tasting event for their LA Eats concept in Inglewood on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. The four concepts created in partnership with well known chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are available all over the stadium and each concept is named after a city street. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

The streets of L.A. served as the launching pad for a pair of James Beard Award-winning chefs who have designed the food program at the new SoFi Stadium.

Expect inspired by delis, pizza and burger joints as well as the city’s Mexican and Asian cuisine while you take in football games from the Rams and Chargers as well as concerts in the new 70,000-seat stadium.

“The food really reflects the food that we love to eat and what we think works in a stadium,” said Jon Shook, who teamed up with SoFi Stadium to create a city-inspired menu with fellow chef and business partner Vinny Dotolo.

“We want to make sure people are happy with this and by doing something too avant-garde might turn people off in a stadium setting, so it was really about feeding the masses with the best quality,” Dotolo said.

The all-star chefs, who have been featured on the Food Network show “Two Dudes Catering,” are behind some of the Los Angeles’ most respected restaurants, including meat lover’s paradise Animal, the seafood-centric Son of a Gun and Italian eatery Jon & Vinny’s.

For their partnership with the stadium, which is the new home of the Rams and Chargers as well as a concert venue, the chefs have created the LA Eats concession program based on four different concepts all named after a notable city streets.

The concession stands are Olvera Street, Fairfax Avenue, Sawtelle and San Vicente boulevards.

“It’s everything from history to where we think food is going, but definitely driven toward stadium philosophy,” Shook said.

The four types have multiple locations throughout the stadium and serve the same menu, according to a stadium spokesperson.

Take a trip through some of the highlights of each street-inspired menu. Note that prices have not yet been announced.

SoFi Stadium held a tasting event for their LA Eats concept in Inglewood on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. The four concepts created in partnership with well known chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are available all over the stadium and each concept is named after a city street. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Fairfax

The chefs describe this as a sub, deli and cheeseburger concept serving items such as chicken salad sandwiches, vegan chili, jalapeño cheddar sausage, chips and queso, a gooey chocolate chip cookie and fusions of cheeseburgers and subs.

The standouts: 

Cheeseburger Sub

This is pretty much a long cheeseburger that’s simple and classic. American cheese tops a beef patty with pickles, ketchup and mustard between a potato bun. It can be split in two for those with lighter appetites or easily devoured by a hungry burger lover.

Veggie Burger

This burger is exactly the same as the cheeseburger sub with all the toppings, but features a veggie patty instead of beef.

Olvera

The city’s Mexican cuisine is on display with offerings such as including, burritos, tacos and shrimp cocktails.

The Standouts:

Chicken Tinga Nachos

Forget the football game, because it will require all of your attention to tackle this big plate of spicy nachos. A ton of nachos (probably not the actual weight, but maybe) are topped with green onions, black olives, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, queso and Salsa Macha, which is a salsa from Veracruz, Mexico, that’s made with a variety of dried peppers. Oh yeah, there’s also chicken tinga layered between all of the goodness.

Beef Barbacoa Burrito

The chefs reached out to El Monte-born Burritos Las Palmas for its handmade flour tortillas to wrap around their braised beef, rice and pinto beans. The slow-cooked shredded beef is tender, juicy and just slightly spicy while the tortilla is delicate and buttery.

San Vicente

Menu items include pizza, meatballs and lighter fare such as a kale salad. There’s also a hot dog/pizza hybrid parked here.

The Standouts:

Pepperoni Pizza

This is a thick chunk of pizza dripping with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and thick pepperoni with perfectly burned edges.

Stromboli Dog

This hot dog-meets-Stromboli dish isn’t only the standout in the San Vicente menu, this may be the standout of the entire LA Eats menu, just because it’s so weird. The hot dog is wrapped in capicola, mortadella, salami and provolone. Then, that’s all wrapped in pizza dough and baked in the oven. And forget ketchup, this is served with marinara sauce. The dough tastes like a warm cloud, which is fitting since the combo of the hot dog and the other ingredients is pretty much meat heaven.

Sawtelle

This is a nod to Asian fusion cuisine with options such as sesame ginger salad, vegetables with miso dip and a unique take on tater tots.

The Standouts: 

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

This sandwich looks like a salad on a bun since there’s a mountain of cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, onions, jalapeños and onions. But wait, there’s more. After a big bite through the greenery, you’ll get to the sweet soy sauce, the spicy Sriracha mayo and then the tender and juicy chicken strips.

Tsunami Tots

These may look like regular tots at first, but the Asian influences pop out in flavor bursts in every bite. The tots are drizzled with eel sauce, Sriracha aioli, furikake, plus togarashi for a bit of a spicy kick.

  • ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

    We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

    * ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

    ( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

    1-800-622-7370

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

    www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

    www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

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

    [[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

    ** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

How to Handle Full Infield Tarps. !

June 3rd, 2021

If you are sitting at a major or minor league baseball game when a rain delay is called, you’ll see the ground crew jump into action and within about 2 minutes the field has been covered — usually it’s made to look all too easy. But for those of us who have done it, we know how critical it is for everyone to work together to ensure the tarp is placed properly on the field.

Full infield tarps can be as large as 175′ x 175′ and, depending on material, can weigh about 2,500 lbs for the heavier 10 oz per sq. yd. vinyl material that some major league teams use. Lighter weight tarps like the 6 oz. per sq. yd. woven polyethylene tarps will weigh about 1,700 lbs for the same size. Lightweight tarps will cost about a third of what the heavy duty vinyl tarps will cost. There are pros and cons to the different weights of each. Light weight tarps need fewer people to operate. Heavy weight tarps handle better in the wind than light weight tarps do. But given a strong enough wind or untrained or improperly directed staff, it can get ugly quickly no matter what material it’s made of. The bottom line is a trained tarp staff and an experienced person directing make it look easy. If manpower is not an issue, I’ll take a vinyl tarp over a lightweight tarp any day. Here are some tips for dealing with full infield tarps:

Keep It Clean

Soil and topdressing add weight to an already heavy full infield tarp. Whenever you dump a tarp in the outfield to drain the water off it, allow the underside of the tarp to dry. To remove the soil and topdressing that collect on it, fold the tarp in half and then open it back up. Repeat from the opposite side of the tarp. If done correctly, you will have a nice line of dried material that originally was stuck to the bottom of the tarp now in a windrow. Using a plastic scoop shovel, scoop up the material and return it to the infield skin or discard. To wash the large tarp, flip the tarp over periodically so rain can wash the underside of the tarp.

Repair Holes

Like I talked about in last week’s blog with the small tarps, repair holes as soon as they are discovered before further damage can occur. Clean the fabric around the holes thoroughly with soapy water or a very good household cleaner and allow the area to dry completely before applying a patch. Use patches that are round or with rounded corners to prevent being snagged or caught on something that could dislodge the patch. Apply glue if needed and use a quality contact cement to apply to both the patch and the area where the hole is in the tarp. Allow cement to dry so it is tacky and then apply the patch. Be sure to patch both sides of the tarp where the hole is for the strongest repair.

Practice Wind Safety

One of the most dangerous operations a grounds crew can do is to deploy tarps in thunderstorms with strong winds. While everyone else scampers for cover, the grounds crew is thrust into action to attempt to deploy a tarp as a storm moves in. Here are a couple of cardinal rules to live by that will help keep safety as a priority.

  1. When high winds come in, keep the tarp as low to the ground as possible to try to keep the tarp from inflating.
  2. If large air bubbles get under the tarp making it hard to control, NEVER stand with both feet on the tarp trying to anchor it down. A strong enough gust can push that air bubble right at you and launch you into the air, creating space for a possible injury to take place
  3. If the wind is taking it away and you have a hold but can’t control the tarp and it wants to pull you, let it go. Don’t risk a shoulder separation. If you let go, the wind will actually rapidly evacuate the bubble and deflate the tarp. You can then grab it and move it into position. These are not situations to be goofing around or being heroic. Be sensible.

Use Speed and Air

When deploying a full infield tarp in a hurry or dumping an infield tarp full of water, the air is your friend. Run or jog with the tarp to help trap air inside the fold. The air in the fold helps prevent the top layer of tarp from sticking to the wet portion of the tarp that is on the ground. When the tarp is full of water the air will also help to lift the tarp and dump it. With the tarp suspended in air, there is little friction, so the tarp easily floats along, making it easier for the crew to manipulate and maneuver. Obviously, throw this rule out when high wind conditions exist and control can be easily lost.

Anchoring

There are many ways to anchor a full infield tarp. The most common would be using sandbags or tarp pins. More uncommon is using logs, tires and even field maintenance equipment. I have used tarp pins all through my 35+ year career, and only once has the wind ever taken that away. I prefer pins because you can carry a lot of them in your hand. This becomes important under really windy conditions. You can anchor the tarp very quickly using pins. Sand bags are all right except for the fact that they breakdown in the sun over time. You go to pick it up one day and the sand just falls out of the bottom. On top of that, you can usually only handle 2 or 3 at a time. I’m not a fan of using logs, tires, or especially field equipment to hold a tarp down. Equipment can be damaged if the tarp comes loose and slams in a piece of your equipment being used to anchor the tarp. With tarp pins, it’s just a matter of what the grommet interval is for staking and of course that is dependent on potential for high winds.

Storage

The best way to store a full infield tarp is by wrapping it around a piece of culvert piping. Most tarp tubesfull infield tarp storage use PVC corrugated culvert piping in 24” or 28” diameter sizing which typically comes in 20’ lengths. I personally prefer the double wall culvert piping for structural integrity. The piping can be put together to make longer tubes. And with that said, the longer the tarp tube you use, the less you have to fold it. And the less you fold a tarp, the less drag you create from trapped air in the folds, thus making it easier to roll-up or deploy. I recommend a minimum tarp tube length of 40’ for any infield tarp no matter the size. A tarp tube cover is also beneficial in keeping the sun from beaming onto the rolled up tarp and breaking down the material that is exposed to it at a faster rate than the rest of the tarp.

Folding and Stowing

When stowing your tarp, fully dry your tarp whenever possible to 1) lighten the weight, 2) ease of folding for stowage AND unfolding for faster deployment, 3) reduce incidence of mold and mildew, and 4) keep the smell down. Obviously drying a tarp in a game situation is not possible. Stretch out the tarp when ready to fold so there are few, if any wrinkles. Begin by folding in half. If the tarp is wet when folding, pump air into it while pulling the fold over. Once you have folded the tarp as many times as you need  to have it fit the tarp tube, roll the tarp tube down the length of the folded tarp to evacuate the air trapped inside the folded tarp. This will reduce the drag when you roll the tarp onto the tube. Finally, line up the tarp tube with the folded tarp and roll up, keeping the roll as straight and tight as possible. A loose tarp roll greatly increases drag, requiring more work to deploy it when needed.

Full infield tarps are some of the best rain insurance you can have for a field, but it requires a trained staff that is aware of the dangers and knows how to adjust to rapidly changing conditions. This is not a job for volunteers who are unaware of potential issues or dangers. Back in 1988 while I was working an Orioles-Seattle Mariners game at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, my crew was dumping a rain filled infield tarp to the outfield in front of about 30,000 fans. One of my tarp crew members, a healthy and athletic 17-year-old, suffered a heart attack right on field in front of the fans as we were dumping the heavy rain-filled tarp. Fortunately, we were able to resuscitate him after working on him for 10 minutes or so. It was later found that he had a heart murmur that had never been picked up in prior physicals. He has lived on to tell the story many times thanks to a pacemaker. We make it look easy in the big leagues, but if you are an organization that owns one, be sure to provide plenty of training and practice in various situations in handling these labor intensive products.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been with Beacon for more than two decades. Among his many accomplishments he authored Groundskeeper University, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Paul continues to seek innovative ways to help groundskeepers.
  • ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

    We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

    * ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

    ( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

    1-800-622-7370

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

    www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

    www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

    “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

    Since 1981”

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

    [[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

    ** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **