5 Ways To Help Your Infield Skin Rebound From Rain Quickly. !

While some parts of the U.S. could be battling a daunting drought,other parts of the country might be dealing with lots of rain. You just never know. In fact, things can change very quickly. For example, a few years back within a three week span the entire state of Texas went from a major 4-year drought to being totally drought free. It takes a lot of rain to knock out four years of drought in just three weeks. With all that rain, surely there were many having issues with trying to get their fields ready after a rain. If you have already encountered a lot of rain, or you do later this season, let’s take a look at what you can do to help your fields recoup from a rain event as quickly as possible.

1. Keep Your Infield Properly Graded

First and foremost,infield make sure that your infield is properly graded to promote positive surface drainage. Ideally, the infield should be graded so that the area around the base of the pitcher’s mound is the highest point on the infield with the surface grade then sloping away from the mound in all directions. However, depending on the lay of the land that the field was built on, the other way of grading an infield would be to “sheet drain” it. This means the entire infield is tilted in one direction; for example, the infield may tilt from the first base foul line towards left field. In either instance, both of these surface grades are only efficient at draining the water off it if the surface is smooth and consistent. In other words, there are no high spots or low spots to impede or deflect the drainage. Proper nail and float dragging are crucial maintenance practices that, when done correctly, will keep your skin surface in smooth and consistent surface draining condition.

2. Maintain Your Turf Edges

Maintaining your turf edges to prevent lip buildup will allow the water to easily pass over from infield skin to turf area without any issues. When infield soil and infield topdressing buildup in the edges of the grass, that ridge or “lip” impedes the water from freely moving off the field. The more severe the lip, the more water it will hold back onto the infield skin. Properly maintain those lips to keep them from slowing your field from recuperating.

 3. Choose Appropriate Infield Soil Material

The right beaconinfield soil materialhas a huge impact on speed of reentry onto an infield after a rain. Infield soils that are either high in silt or high in fine and very fine sand drastically effect how quickly the field is playable again after a rain. Even worse is when you have both problems! High silt and high fine sand content infield soils can take a day or multiple days to recuperate. Have your infield soil tested to check to see how your soil material lines up with the acceptable specifications. Strive for a balanced infield soil with the right amounts of medium to coarse sand and the proper ratio of silt to clay. It’ll make all the difference in the world as to how easy it will be getting the infield back into playing condition.

4. Use an Infield Top Dressing

Use a topdressing on your infield skin surface. An infield topdressing is a ¼” to ½” layer at the infield skin surface of a granular material that will not stick to a players cleat, even when wet. These materials, usually made of calcined clay, vitrified clay, expanded shale, crushed aggregate or crushed brick, tend to dry more quickly on the surface then if you just had the bare soil exposed. The topdressing will dry on the surface while your infield soil underneath is still moist, but the topdressing allows you still to reenter the field. It acts much like a mulch in a landscape bed and provides many benefits in the performance of the infield.

 5. Drag the Field Before Rain Storms

When you know a rain is coming, keep the field dragged smooth if at all possible. The water will flow more easily and rapidly off the infield if it is smooth and not pock marked with cleat marks and divots. Additionally, keep the field TIGHT! A tight field absorbs less water than one that has been deeply nail dragged, which will create pore space for water to fill and slow the drying process down considerably after the rain event.

How it rains also can have an impact in how fast your field will recuperate and come back up online for play. A long, slow light to moderate rain of a couple hours or more is very penetrating and will be deeply absorbed by your infield soil. This type of a rain usually requires longer for the field to dry from. Compare that to a heavy rain lasting 15 to 30 minutes, or even an hour. This kind of rainfall, while possibly dumping many times the amount of water than a slow rainfall did, is a violent rainfall to the soil. That violent pounding of the soil compacts it and doesn’t easily allow water to be absorbed into the infield soil. With the right weather conditions, you may be amazed sometimes how fast you can get back onto a field after one of these gully washers, provided you did everything else that we mentioned above in this article.

 One more thing…

Let me leave you with one other piece of advice. The weather after the rain event matters just as much as how the rain fell. If your humidity is very high and has not lowered much below 75% after the rain, it will take a much longer time for the field to dry out. Sun and wind help, but there has to be room in the air parcel floating over your infield skin to take in more moisture. If the air parcel is 75% full, it won’t take much more in, but if it is only 50% full (50% relative humidity) then there is a lot of room to evaporate water from your field and be absorbed into the air parcels. The faster the humidity lowers after the event, the faster the drying process.

Make the right moves ahead of your rain events on your fields and you may come to not fear the rain as much or need to work as hard afterwards either.

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6 Tips for Opening Your Ballfields !

Spring has sprung in some parts, or is around the corner in others. Coaches will be begging to get onto their baseball and softball fields as soon as they are snow-free. You also want to be opening youinfield lip broomr ballfields as soon as possible. What is a groundskeeper to do to get his or her fields dry and playable as quickly as possible?

THESE ARE OUR 6 TIPS for those in the northern climate who are running up against the calendar to get their fields going as quickly as possible.

  1. Wait until the field has lost all frost in the soil profile before attempting any work on the skin portion. If it’s too soft to walk on, you nor anyone else should be on it. The field may look bone dry in the early morning, but as the sun heats the surface the infield skin can become a quagmire as the frost in the ground prevents the free water on the surface from draining through. You’ll know when the frost is out of the ground as the infield skin portion will drain fairly quickly and begin to dry off on the surface in the afternoon sun and wind.
  2. Once it’s dry enough for equipment, roll the infield. If your field is in the northern part of the country where you get a decent depth of frost each year (3″ or more), Mother Nature’s freeze-thaw cycle has naturally aerated your soils and opened up a tremendous amount of pore space in the soil profile. This slows your infield skin from rapidly recovering after a rain event. By rolling the infield skin surface once it has dried enough to get equipment on it, you drastically reduce the pore space in the infield surface which seals the field back up so water will run off the field more efficiently.
  3. athletic field puddle spongesClean up any winter lip build-up. Fields without snow cover this past winter were at the mercy of the winds of winter. The strong winds can blow soil, drying agents and topdressing materials into the lips of the infield skin. These lips are natural dams impeding water from moving off your infield skin surface. Be sure to clean or edge out all lips to allow water to freely drain off the surface of the infield skin.
  4. Make sure the surface of the skin is smooth and level. Fall is actually the best time to re-level your infield skin so there are no low spots in the skin which will collect water. This exercise best prepares your field(s) for rapid water removal in the spring. If it wasn’t regraded last fall, go out to the field right after a rain while there are still puddles on the infield skin and, using a rake, carve the outline of each puddle. When dry enough, nail drag the infield avoiding the low spots so you can find them, then use a level board to cut down the high spots and fill the low areas to help the water move off the infield more effectively.
  5. Keep some calcined clay drying agents around for those emergencies.But if the puddles are large or deep, then use Beacon Puddle Sponges or a Big Gulp Pump to remove excess water leaving just very shallow wet areas where drying agents can then work their magic.
  6. Whatever you do, NEVER use brooms to sweep excess water off an infield. You will only be worsening the surface grade of the skin by sweeping more soil out thereby creating an even deeper hole for water to stand in. This will also build up the lips even worse creating a bigger dam along the edge.

These last few winters have been pretty rough in various parts of the country. They have delayed the onset of spring-like weather which has set many sports field managers back in opening their fields for the spring season. If the past few winters have taught us anything, it is to always put your ballfields to sleep in the fall ready to play. You’ll find it will make your spring prep much easier and you can get the coaching staff and their team out on the fields much quicker.

Paul Zwaska (contributor)

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been a frequent contributor to Beacon’s Ballfield Blog and other resources and products. Among other contributions to Beacon, he authored Groundskeeper University, the pioneering online ballfield maintenance training venue.

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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

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

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

Westfield sports park draws 2.6 million visitors !

Grand Park
An aerial photo shows a portion of the 400-acre Grand Park sports complex in Westfield, north of Indianapolis. At right is the largest building in the complex, Grand Park Events Center, which includes three full-size turf fields in its 370,000-square-foot space. 

WESTFIELD, IN. — Developers of the proposed new Auburn Sports Group complex could model their business on a larger, highly successful operation in Westfield, north of Indianapolis.

Grand Park opened in 2014 and today offers 31 multi-purpose fields, 26 baseball/softball diamonds, plus numerous indoor courts and fields.

The Westfield campus drew more than 2.6 million visitors last year for sports tournaments and other events on its 400-acre grounds, a park official said.

Those visitors keep five nearby hotels filled, with more lodging expected to be built soon.

In addition to a wide variety of sporting events, Grand Park plays host to a home and garden expo and large company outings. A former director described tourism related to Grand Park as a $15 billion-per-year industry.

Along with its hotels and restaurants, the city credits Grand Park for attracting investments by other businesses such as Abbott Labs and Gordon Food Service.

Grand Park is more than twice as large as the 168-acre Auburn Sports Group site, purchased in January by local investors led by Joe and Terri Fisher. The property alongside Interstate 69 south of Auburn had served as the home of collector car auctions since it opened in 1989.

Plans for the proposed Auburn sports park include 10 indoor basketball/volleyball courts, plus a new, domed structure with six basketball/volleyball courts and a 7-on-7 football field.

Outside, plans call for eight baseball/softball fields, four soccer/lacrosse fields, more 7-on-7 football fields, a walking path and splash pad.

Auburn Sports Group’s investor partners include Rod Sinn and his son, Grant, who were instrumental in the Westfield park’s development, according to the Auburn company.

Auburn Sports Group looks to be an entirely private venture, while Grand Park was built and continues to be owned by the City of Westfield, which operates it in partnership with private organizations.

A director on Westfield’s city staff oversees park operations, and city employees manage and schedule the park’s multipurpose fields for soccer, football, rugby, field hockey and lacrosse.

Westfield contracts with Bullpen Tournaments to operate the park’s baseball and softball diamonds. In the park’s official guide, Bullpen Tournaments reports playing host to more than 5,000 teams at Grand Park during 2021.

Private companies, including the Indiana Pacers, operate indoor venues. The Pacers Athletic Center offers eight indoor courts and reports that more than 500 youth teams played there last year. The Pro X training center features batting cages, a weight room and golf simulator.

The city built and runs the giant Grand Park Events Center that opened in 2016 with three indoor turf fields and a spectator lounge, retail space, locker facilities, office and meeting space and administrative offices.

One of Grand Park’s big draws comes from its role as home of the Indianapolis Colts football training camp, which attracted fans to watch 19 open practices over three weeks last summer.

In a 2019 interview, Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said Grand Park was never intended to make money for the fast-growing city of 50,000 residents.

“We did not build it to honor baseball or soccer or to make money from day-to-day operations. Grand Park was built to create a permanent tax base of the hospitality industry,” Cook said.

“Our vision has always been to be an economic driver for the city of Westfield,” said Matt Trnian, director of Grand Park. “Just watching the hospitality industry flock to this area has been tremendous. Our objective is to bring people to the community via the campus.”

Westfield was home to only one hotel when Grand Park first opened, he said.

The city’s Grand Park operations receive rebates from hotel bookings by visiting tournament participants, who are required to stay in local lodging, according to the park’s website. The bulk of the city’s income comes from sports facility rentals, but sponsorships and concession sales also contribute toward meeting the park’s operating expenses, reported at $6 million per year.

As the park continues to grow, a private gymnastics center is under construction, and plans are in the works for a “tree park” with a zip line, obstacle and rope courses for team-building and fitness activities. The park already features green space and more than 10 miles of walking/biking trails.

Wright’s 360 Movement Academy is scheduled to open this summer with gymnastics equipment, trampolines, a dance studio and ninja course.

Westfield’s local youth sports organizations make use of the park’s fields, chiefly Monday through Thursday, with weekends dominated by visiting tournament participants.

“We’ve been proud to stay community-driven, making sure that our community athletes and organizations are well taken care of,” Trnian said.

************************************************************

“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 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 **

BALLFIELD DIMENSIONS GUIDE. !