The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

State-of-the-Art Sports Complex Under Construction in Historic Baseball Town, City Names Sports Facilities Companies as Operating Partner. !

CLEARWATER, Fla., Aug. 10, 2021 – The City of Starkville, MS is home to the 2021 College World Series Champions Mississippi State University. The city is building on the legacy as a “Baseball Town” with the development of a state-of-the-art regional baseball destination named Cornerstone Sports Complex. The venue design led by Dalhoff Thomas Design Studio, with design team members, Neel-Schaffer Engineering, Shafer Zahner Zahner Architects and DD Consulting is currently under construction. The City of Starkville leaders selected The Sports Facilities Companies (SFC) and their team of full-service staff as their operating partner to oversee daily operations, marketing and event booking, staff development, and more.

Starkville, home of Mississippi State University, expects the $20+ million outdoor complex to open in Summer of 2022. The venue will feature 12 baseball/softball fields and one Championship Field, which allows the City of Starkville to host a wide array of events from national youth sports tournaments to local civic, sports, social, and community events. Cornerstone Sports Complex now joins the Sports Facilities Companies national network (SFMNetwork.com), bringing national attention, talent, technology, and programming to Starkville.

“The City of Starkville is proud to build Cornerstone Sports Complex and share our history with the world,” says Starkville Mayor, Lynn Spruill. “Our goal is to create a legacy through the enrichment of sports that we love here in Starkville. We hope to welcome future Mississippi State graduates who share in our city’s history of tee-ball, baseball, and pride for our Bulldogs. This complex will hold a special place in our community as we build memories, business, and life-long residents here.”

The facility is part of a master plan project known as Cornerstone Park and will be built in two phases. The Sports Complex is part of phase I of the project and will include a walking trail, playgrounds, flex space, and pay homage to the local history of Tee-ball – a sport that originated in Starkville – with 2 dedicated Tee-ball fields. Phase II is planned to include an RV park, more trails, and playgrounds.

Another historic achievement to be featured at Cornerstone Sports Complex will be the Cool Papa Bell Plaza and Statue. James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell was born and raised in Starkville, Mississippi. He was an American center fielder in early segregated league baseball from 1922 to 1946. He is considered to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Starkville will join the ranks of forward-thinking cities across the country who are realizing the potential economic and health impacts of youth and amateur sports tourism. The ever-growing travel sports/sports tourism industry recorded nearly 180 million people who traveled to a sports event in the US either as a participant or spectator in 2019 (SportsETA 2019 Annual Report). Starkville will be a premier destination for baseball/softball in Mississippi and is predicted to generate an estimated $17 millionin direct spending in year one from an estimated 250,000 visitors to the venue.

Cornerstone Sports Complex joins prominent youth sports destinations such as Legends Events Center (Bryan, TX), Rocky Top Sports World, (Gatlinburg, TN), the Hoover Met Complex (Hoover, AL) and the newly opened Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater (Albertville, AL).

CEO and Founder of Sports Facilities Companies (SFC), Jason Clement commented, “Starkville has a rich baseball history as an incredible sports destination. It is our privilege to work with Mayor Spruill and the City of Starkville as their operating partner. Together, we will open Cornerstone Sports Complex with excellence in operations, staffing, and develop key community partnerships to ensure the next generation of athletes choose Starkville for baseball and softball for many years to come.”

For event booking, career information, or sponsorship/partnership opportunities, please contact John Sparks at jsparks@sportadvisory.com for more information. For updates on the progress of the project, please visit cityofstarkville.org. For more information on professional facility management or development services, visit sportsfacilities.com or sfmnetwork.com.

The Sports Facilities Companies (SFC) are the Nation’s leading resources for the management and development of sports, recreation, wellness, and events facilities. As a turn-key solution for community leaders and developers alike, SFC services span the gamut of sports and recreation needs from sports tourism & recreation master planning, program planning, and feasibility through professional facility management services. Our 30+ managed venues and 1500+ team members, represented by the SF Network, welcome more than 25 million guest visits and produce over $250 million in economic impact each year. To learn more, please visit SportsFacilities.com and theSFNetwork.com

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The food at tonight’s MLB Field of Dreams game sounds pretty great !

  • The food at tonight’s MLB Field of Dreams game sounds pretty great !

Hands pulling apart a deep-fried Oreo over a paper boat full of fried Oreos
Hands pulling apart a deep-fried Oreo over a paper boat full of fried Oreos

Deep-fried Oreos at the Iowa State Fair

This week started off with a bang at The Takeout, when we not only learned of the existence of an Apple Pie Hot Dog crafted by Flavortown deity Guy Fieri, but we also got to taste a sample of the dinner-dessert hybrid for ourselves. (It earned high marks.) This unique dog was designed by Fieri in partnership with Chevrolet, and it’ll be launching today at the MLB Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa. Only 8,000 very lucky attendees of tonight’s game will be able to taste the concoction—for now.

It’s unclear whether the Apple Pie Hot Dog will eventually become available at other ballparks, or if the promotion was meant only to promote Field of Dreams. But this got us thinking about what other concession stand treats might be on offer at tonight’s game. This White Sox–Yankees game isn’t taking place at an established park, after all; a new 8,000-seat facility was constructed just for this game. (It’s unclear how the shiny new park will be used hereafter; the company that owns the site from the original Field of Dreams movie will determine exactly what to do with it.) A brand-new ballpark deserves brand-new ballpark food, right?

The MLB Ballpark app’s Concessions page for the Field of Dreams game explains that Aramark will deliver “a variety of locally-inspired concession items” so that visitors to the park can get the full Iowa experience. No only that, but the company is taking cues from the Iowa State Fair, a pinnacle of culinary innovation. It goes on:

Specialty food and beverage offerings will include Iowa State Fair fan favorites like cheese curds from Curds&Cakes and deep-fried Oreos, Field of Dreams Nachos topped with pulled pork, cheese sauce, avocado cream, corn and tomato salsa and the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich from Cornfield Classics served with lettuce, mustard, pickle on a grilled bun. Fans can also purchase commemorative items including the Field of Dreams Souvenir Cup at various concession locations.

If fans would prefer to keep their distance from one another on the concourse, QR codes and mobile ordering will be available through the Ballpark app, too. Which of these delicacies sounds the most delicious to you, readers? I say, when in the Midwest, go with the pork tenderloin. (That is, after you grab an Apple Pie Hot Dog. And, okay, a deep-fried Oreo or two.)

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We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

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1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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Turn Unutilized Land Into a Recreation Destination !

Turn Unutilized Land Into a Recreation Destination

Many communities might boast beautiful parks and open spaces, but still have unused or under-utilized land. These spaces present a unique opportunity to create a revenue-generating recreation destination.

Q: WE’D LIKE TO DEVELOP SOME UNDERUTILIZED LAND IN OUR COMMUNITY. WHAT SHOULD WE CONSIDER?

A: Partner with recreation experts to create a recreation destination that will enhance your community with activities that will excite and attract visitors.

To begin with, you’ll want to build your team of recreation experts to help create a “master plan” for your destination. Your team should include an experienced, professional planner and/or a landscape architect.

They also should understand how to create a business model that will support your plan, with ideas for generating revenues that will help your park pay for itself, and maybe even boost your overall revenues in the long term.

If you have a body of water, such as a lake, pond or old quarry, you can easily add activities to the water. Stand-up paddleboards, pedal boats, inflatable water features and more all provide a way to bring recreation to the water.

If you don’t have water, but would still like to add water activities, ask your team about building a recreation pond to suit your needs.

Whether you have water or not, you’ll want to develop land-based recreation activities. Disc golf is becoming extremely popular, and is a smart way to take advantage of underutilized space that is uneven or that features trees and water—all ideal for making a game of disc golf more challenging and fun.

Other land-based options include air-filled trampoline-like jumpers, pedal karts, and even splash pads, which offer aquatic activities but without the need for lifeguards.

You can further enhance your recreational offerings with site amenities that will keep your guests comfortable, enabling longer stays (which means more revenue for you). Remember to include shade with shelters, shade structures or trees, with plenty of options for sitting.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Commercial Recreation Specialists
877-896-8442
www.crs4rec.com

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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

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

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Johnny Downs Sports Complex ready to go for Dixie World Series !

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB)After nearly 19 months, the Johnny Downs Sports Complex in Alexandria is ball field ready just in time for the Dixie League World Series starting this weekend.

28 teams are traveling from 11 different states to compete in the tournament. It’s estimated that over 3,000 people will pack into the complex as four different world series tournaments will be played through Wednesday. The teams playing in the world series will be the first ones to play on the new fields.

In December of 2019, an EF3 tornado ripped through Alexandria and heavily damaged the Johnny Downs Sports Complex as it passed right over the facility. After the park sat quiet for over a year, the Alexandria City Council finally voted to approve a nearly seven million dollar renovation project to add turf, new lights, dugouts, scoreboards, press boxes and batting cages.

Dr. Keith “Skip” Fox, the President of Dixie League Softball in Alexandria, said, “I know it took a lot of work with all the rain we’ve had since January but when I first went out and did my walk through a couple of days ago, the first word that came out of my mouth was ‘amazing.’”

Construction crews were able to complete the four softball fields in time for the tournament, but the four baseball fields will not be finished until November. Games will still be able to be played while construction is going on at the baseball fields. Fox said he doesn’t believe it will affect any of the planned tournament games over the next week.

Below is a scheduled list of the dates and times for the Dixie League World Series games.

Alexandria will host four more world series tournaments in 2022 and seven more in 2023.

2021 Dixie SweeTees Traditional World Series Bracket

2021 Dixie SweeTees X-Play World Series Bracket

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We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

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1-800-622-7370

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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Police investigating fight, stampede at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster County, Pa. !

Police are investigating a fight at a basketball game, which led to a stampede that injured 12 people on Sunday afternoon at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex.

The chaotic incident shut down the huge sports complex in in Manheim, Lancaster County. The facility had been hosting a big basketball tournament with teams from across the Northeast.

Police said some of the people at the tournament got into a fight. Others reported hearing gunshots. The incident sent hundreds of people running for the exits. That stampede left 12 people injured. Six of those injured had to be taken to the hospital.

After things calmed down, police searched the Spooky Nook complex and did not find any evidence to suggest a shooting actually happened.

East Hempfield Township Police released the following statement Sunday afternoon:

“Police have cleared the building after conducting searches of all areas and completing interviews with Spooky Nook Sports staff and visitors. Officers have reviewed some video and at this point the investigation continues. There has been nothing to confirm the initial report of a gunshot being fired. We do not have witnesses or evidence to support the initial calls to 911 for shots fired at this time.”

There is surveillance video from inside the complex and police are reviewing it. They are also looking for witnesses who could help explain what happened. If you have any information that could help investigators, you can call the East Hempfield Police Department at 717-898-3103 or submit a tip online here.

Woman captures chaos on camera

WGAL spoke with a woman who was in the midst of the mayhem.

Suzanne Jordan, of Las Vegas, was on the sidelines of her daughter’s tournament basketball game. She was livestreaming on Facebook Live when other players suddenly started leaping over chairs, sparking a stampede.

Jordan stayed put and kept recording, not knowing what was going on. You can see the footage in the video player above.

“I didn’t hear any gunshots, but I kind of grabbed my bag, grabbed my daughter’s bag and then just kind of waited to see what was going on. Everyone was crowded at the exit, and I think that that’s where most of the people got hurt because they were just running over people,” Jordan said.

Jordan’s daughter, Grace, and her teammates ran out of the building but were OK. The team was up 22 points with 10 minutes to go when the game was cut short.

Jordan said she is wondering what Spooky Nook may do to help the situation.

No one from the sports complex would go on camera Monday. A statement on Spooky Nook’s Facebook reads, in part, “We continue to prioritize the safety and security of anyone who comes into our facility and will continue to take steps to ensure just that.”

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We Can Save You Money In 2021 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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Since 1981”

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Effective shade, cost-effective budget. Shade for Dugouts. !

Dudley briefs Rotarians on sports complex project !

Jim Dudley
Jim Dudley, chairman of the McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission, talks Wednesday to Paducah Rotarians at the Carson Center, as Rotary Club of Paducah President Clay Howerton (pictured at right) looks on. Dudley shared information about the McCracken County sports complex project.

The planned McCracken County Sports Complex served as the main topic of discussion Wednesday for the Rotary Club of Paducah, as McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission Chairman Jim Dudley gave an overview of the project and shared what’s next.

The sports complex, using the former Bluegrass Downs property and Stuart Nelson Park in Paducah, has a projected cost of around $43 million. Once built, the complex would host recreational sports events for community and tournament play, including soccer, baseball and softball.

In his presentation, Dudley told Rotarians the project is a 105-acre development. He also described the regional draw of such a sports facility, noting the many cities and states within a five-hour drive.

“All those people, if you have the right type of tournaments and you have the right complex, will come here for a weekend, spend the night at a hotel, shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants, increase our tourism,” he said.

He went over planned features, funding sources (including naming rights), revenue sources (fees, concessions, field permits, advertising and sponsors, etc.), playing surfaces, the economic impact, staffing and other details.

There isn’t an exact opening date, but it’s “probably sometime in 2024.”

The sports complex will have lighted fields for baseball and softball, and rectangular (soccer) fields of tournament size, along with amenities, such as a renovated Bluegrass Downs grandstand, restrooms, concessions and parking.

Dudley said one of the features is a plaza that honors Dr. William Stuart Nelson, who grew up in Paducah and graduated from Lincoln High School.

Nelson, a World War I veteran, was the first African American president of Shaw University in North Carolina and Dillard University in Louisiana. An advocate for nonviolence, Nelson worked with Mahatma Gandhi and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

“We want to be able to really showcase everything he’s done as a true ambassador of Paducah and really honor his life,” Dudley said.

Dudley said the next step includes finalizing a memorandum of understanding with the city and county. It’s also in the process of releasing a Request for Quote for operational development services to help in opening the sports complex on time and on budget, as he noted you have to “start selling this facility” 18 months before it’s open and get tournaments booked.

“The next phase of design work by PFGW (Peck Flannery Gream Warren) Architects and their team will include further design development of the master plan, completion of construction documents for bidding and construction of the facility and administration of the construction contract,” Dudley added.

Several officials were in attendance Wednesday, including Paducah Mayor George Bray and McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer. After the meeting, both officials gave The Sun an update on the memorandum of understanding.

At a June 24 joint meeting, the Paducah City Commission and McCracken County Fiscal Court agreed to partner together on two projects: the sports complex and needed upgrades for the 911 system’s infrastructure. The projects are both listed in the city commission’s top 12 priorities. Both sides are working toward putting together the agreements.

Clymer said they are getting down to the details and it’s a matter of “getting the language right,” but it’s essentially a done deal.

“We’ve seen a first draft of it and I think both the city and county are still looking at it,” Bray said, on the memorandum of understanding.

“I don’t really see a lot of changes from the first draft, just a couple things that we’ve got to work through. We originally had wanted to get it on the agendas for next week’s meetings. I’m not sure we’re going to have it in the final form by then, so it might be two weeks after that, but everything’s going well so far.”

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

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

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada

Since 1981”

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[[ Available In SODA Store Online !]]

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Give Me Some Water… !

I grew up in California, in the San Francisco area. Over the course of the first twenty-five years of my life we experienced a major drought and some other moderate droughts, too. If you have ever lived in an area where water scarcity is a concern, your role as a groundskeeper or sports turf manager becomes heavily scrutinized in a hurry. “Why on earth are you watering dirt?!!!!” Believe me, I heard that loudly a number of times in my teens and early twenties, when I was tending to fields or working as a baseball coach in California. To the novice, the notion of watering around home plate, on the baselines and the infield dirt is about dust control. To the grounds manager on a baseball field, watering dirt is about ensuring that the entire soil profile players hit, pitch, run and field on has sufficient moisture not just on the surface, but through the surface.

If you remember anything at all from this article, please retain this: the most important time for you to improve playability on your infield is not by watering the dirt before the game — it is the water you apply six, twelve, eighteen hours or more before the game. That is when you have the opportunity to thoroughly water the soil profile of the infield skin and saturate the dirt, while still allowing time for the top quarter to half-inch to air out and be firm enough and ready for quality play.

Somewhere along the way growing up, I knew to a degree that deep moisture on infields was a good thing. However, it was not until the 2002 season, when I went to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers as Eric Hansen’s assistant that I really began to appreciate the benefits of deep watering on infield skin areas. Southern California is certainly not the toughest place to grow grass, but maintaining a quality infield skin there is a unique challenge. The lack of significant rainfall, coupled with the strong sun during the baseball season, meant the quality of the infield skin falls squarely on the lap of the groundskeeper. I spent four seasons working for Eric, and my time there led me to strongly believe that a key to quality infield skin was never letting it completely dry out. While our maintenance activities on the turf always meant there would be a day or two after a home stand when the skin area would not get heavily watered, I still made a point of trying not let it totally crack under the baking sun. There were many hours I spent watering the infield dirt at Dodger Stadium late in the day, while the team was out of town… wonderful and quiet times in an empty ballpark. I found that starting a home stand was much smoother for us if the skin areas had been receiving thorough and deep water in the days leading up to our games.

I am not a soil scientist or someone who looks to quantify everything, but I am writing this based on years of experience and observation. How the infield skin looks at the surface to your eye is just one part of the equation. Whatever your infield dirt profile depth happens to be, ensuring that the dirt is moist all the way through that profile is a critical part of your success as a groundskeeper. Adequate moisture through the skin will act to reduce the hardness of the soil profile and lead to truer bounces and improved playability of the surface. I find it very interesting that the golf industry has really embraced the use of handheld soil moisture meters for turfgrass. If you are new to your field or have multiple fields, perhaps one of these devices can be beneficial to you in keeping track of your infield skin moisture. My personal situation is unique in that for the past twenty-two years I have always gone to work at a ballpark, and had only one field to keep an eye on. During the season I am there so much that between my eyes and a rain gauge I have an idea of where my infield skin moisture is. For those of you running complexes, or skipping around town to various parks within your area, tracking moisture content is certainly a huge challenge. If you have time to water infield skin areas heavily by hand, you have an opportunity to do great things. If you do not, consider the use of automated irrigation for infield skin areas. If this is an option for you, be sure to use high-speed heads that turn in double the time of a standard turf irrigation head. Those will be less of a problem in windy conditions.

Beacon Athletics has a fine selection of nozzles for you to consider for watering your field. When I water turfgrass, I generally prefer to get as much flow as I possibly can for interval watering. Syringing or cooling is a different consideration. When we water our dirt areas in Minneapolis, the area and weather situation will dictate the type of nozzle we use. For instance, watering batter’s boxes and the mound requires a finer mist that is easily controlled at your fingertips. Watering baselines means we like to have a nozzle that has a horizontal flow rather than conical, so that we water the dirt of the baselines but not the grass. Infield skin watering requires different nozzle considerations depending on time of day, weather conditions, and proximity to game time. The pre-game watering should just be a touch up, to ensure consistency. Hopefully in the hours leading up to the game you have adequately watered the skin, so that pre-game is not a time to play catch up on water distribution.

What about the weather? If you did not know, the National Weather Servicein your area is required to provide some type of Aviation Forecast under their Forecast Discussion tab every six hours. They also update an Hourly Weather Forecast in graph form quite regularly throughout the day. Between those two options, you can get a great picture of what your day can and will be like. In terms of your infield skin, you must look well beyond the chance of rain and potential amounts of rainfall. In addition to rainfall, the amount of sky cover, wind and dew points all play a big part in infield skin maintenance. Just over a week ago, I had a very interesting scenario going into a noon game. Reading the hourly weather graph the previous afternoon, I saw that in spite of cloud cover, the wind would be out of the North and the air was dry and cool. We went into game time at noon the next day with air temperatures in the mid 40’s, winds from the North at 5-10 mph, full cloud cover and a dew point of 22*F. I felt the field played really well that day, mainly because at 5 pm the previous afternoon I watered the infield skin really heavy to the point where there was standing water. I knew from the forecast that the dry overnight air would lead to a firm surface the next morning while the water slowly percolated down through the dirt profile. Certainly an odd situation for April 5 in Minnesota, but just an example of knowing what air and sky conditions can mean to a playing surface.

Dealing with days and games when rain is an issue is a critical part of our profession. If you expect a day or two out that you need to be ready to handle a rain event, a couple of things are important to remember. First, thorough moisture content all the way through your infield skin is a huge factor in having a field play well. When expecting rain, try and get a good, deep watering of the skin done two or three days in advance of the adverse weather. From there, you can work to dry out the upper quarter to half inch of your infield so it can handle some precipitation. The second point I want to make is that you want to be firm and tight with your dirt heading into a rain game. This does not mean bone dry and cracking. Instead you are looking to have enough moisture ahead of the game so you can roll the dirt with a lightweight roller to firm it up. From there you can add the calcined clay of your choice to improve traction and playability in the rain. My observations have lead me to believe that firm dirt with adequate, but not excessive, moisture will accept light to moderate rain better than dirt that is loose and bone dry. This is particularly important around the bases and in the base runners lead off areas. (Note: See Groundskeeper University for more about “Ways to Attack a Wet Infield“.)

We here at Beacon Athletics want you to find a way to get out and water your dirt… and we want you to enjoy it! I have one more experience that I would like to share. During my four seasons working for the Dodgers, we rarely played day games on any day but Sunday. My job now in Minnesota is a different story, as we move game times around quite a bit depending on the time of year or day of the week. I recall that during warm and sunny Sundays in Los Angeles, we had the potential of really drying out on the skin during the last few innings of those Sunday day games. In spite of that, we found that the ball would still bounce well on the skin — this is, if we had kept up all week with deep post-game soakings of the dirt after night games. The Friday night watering of the dirt at 11 pm was critical for Sunday’s playability. Knowing that post-game Saturday night would not be as heavy a watering going into a day game, we really pushed to apply a lot of water on Friday night. So we were considering weather and game times thirty-six or so hours in advance. It definitely mattered.

Just a few more thoughts: Short of absolutely flooding the infield dirt to the point of runoff, there is a technique to daily watering of infield skin areas. Even if you roto till your infield in the offseason, once your season gets going, areas where the players’ cleats work in calcined clay will hold more moisture than other areas. For instance, where runners lead off 2nd base tends to hold more water, as do the spots where the shortstop and 2nd baseman creep in to play at double play depth. The areas where the 1st baseman and 3rd baseman play back tend to hold more moisture as well. About three to four feet off all the edges will be firmer than other areas in the body of the infield dirt. This is partly due to your nail drag not working those spots in different directions, and also due to calcined clay not being worked in as much by cleats. So what is the point? Observe your dirt and water more thoroughly in the spots that dry out quicker. Think of the foul lines going past 1st and 3rd base. The first few feet inside the lines on the skin has a tendency to get real hard if you don’t really focus on putting water there. Water less in the spots that hold more moisture, like lead off areas and where infielders spend more time. If you have a low spot or two, remember to water around the low spot, not in it, as water will find a way to get there until you are able to address the grade. Most of all, just try and enjoy the onset of spring and the chance to be outside working on your fields, knowing that your fine efforts make will make kids of all ages veryhappy.

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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New fall flag football league for 1st-4th graders coming to TBK complex !

DAVENPORT, Iowa –

The RedZone Football Academy League is coming to the Quad Cities! TBK Bank Sports Complex will host a flag football season for 1st-4th graders this fall. Registration is going on now. The first deadline for sign up is August 1.

RedZone Coach Tyler Blum, who started RedZone Football Academy in 2010 and is a former Iowa Hawkeye football player, joins PSL as an in-studio guest to talk about this exciting new, professionally-run flag football program being offered to young Quad Cities’ kids. The academy’s first flag football league was established in Iowa City. Blum has been conducting summer football camps in the Quad Cities for the last five years.

RedZone QC Flag Football League Sign Up HERE

REGISTRATION: $109 per child

  • All games are Wednesday nights (under the lights!) at TBK Sports Complex w/ 5:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. start times
  • Reg. season is Sept. 8-Oct. 6 Post-season games Oct. 13 (5-game regular season w/competitive, balanced scheduling)
  • Athletes can expect to be teamed with players from their school district, community, or region in the QCA
  • Players get a reversible NFL team jersey—theirs to keep.
  • Big games for EVERY team including an end-of-season “bowl” game.
  • This league offers professional administration, highly organized operation, & fast-paced action

ABOUT RedZone Football Academy & its programs: The mission is to encourage football players to chase their football dreams. They offer training programs to facilitate skill development, increase their knowledge of the game, use the sport to instill character, and inspire players to truly love the game.

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McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission gears up to find sports complex manager !

sports complex rendering

PADUCAH, KY. — The McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission is getting ready to work with a $2 million budget in the upcoming fiscal year. It will be made up of surplus from this year and money from the transient room tax. However, it doesn’t currently factor in design costs for the outdoor sports complex. That’s because there has yet to be a signed memorandum of understanding between the city of Paducah and McCracken County to fund the project. It’s in the works, but it still needs to be approved by both governments.

Despite the slight hold up, the Sports Tourism Commission is moving ahead with finding someone to run the complex. The ultimate goal is to have the facility open and able to host tournaments in 2024.

“We’ve got to be able to have everything lined up perfectly for opening day,” McCracken County Sports Tourism Commission Chair Jim Dudley said.

A key step in getting to that point is sending out a request for qualifications, or RFQ, for a potential manager or management company. Dudley is eager to get that process rolling.

“We send those RFQs out to see, hey, who’s interested in this, one, and then what all do they do, what can they do for our facility? What kind of guarantees do they come with?” Dudley said.

bluegrass downs
The complex is set to take over the old Blugrass Downs site.

Their RFQ lists 14 sought-after qualities like tournament development, sponsorship sales and daily operations. They want the manager to step in and hit the ground running to allow the complex to hit its full potential early on.

“It’s not just ‘Get the thing built and people will come,'” Dudley said. “We’ve got to start advertising now. We’ve got to start booking tournaments now, because if you’ve ever been in travel ball, you know that you’ll start scheduling your tournaments out six months to a year in advance.”

Another hurdle to jump in the budget is getting that final design paid for and completed.

“We left a big contingency in there for the cost of design, because we haven’t seen that price yet. We’re still fiscally conservative, and we’re doing everything we can to be smart with the money,” Dudley said. “Transient room tax is starting to go up as we see tourism go up, so that’s a good sign for everybody.”

Once the memorandum of understanding is approved the final design process can move forward. From there, the commission can start submitting construction documents and work toward breaking ground on the complex.

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