The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Here are all the new food offerings at Soldier Field for the Bears’ 100th season !

Here are all the new food offerings at Soldier Field for the Bears’ 100th season !

Here are all the new food offerings at Soldier Field for the Bears’ 100th season
Souvenir nacho bowl, which will be sold at Bears games this season. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

At first glance, the Hot Bob sandwich — one of the new food offerings available to Bears fans at Soldier Field concession stands this season, unveiled by the team Monday — is just an ordinary school-cafeteria sloppy Joe.

But take a bite and you’ll soon realize there’s just enough ghost chile in the seasoned beef with fried onion to take it to the head of the class of 2019 additions to the stadium menu.

The Hot Bob sandwich (beef seasoned with ghost chile and fried onions) was previewed Monday at Soldier Field.
The Hot Bob sandwich (beef seasoned with ghost chile and fried onions) was previewed Monday at Soldier Field. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

Hot dogs, pizza and chicken tenders are sure to remain the big sellers at Bears games, as always. But every year concessionaire Aramark attempts to jazz things up with new items.

In addition to the Hot Bob, new items include the Lightlife’s plant-based burger and what’s touted as the Lake Shore Drive Hoagie, which is based on a South Side favorite, combining gyro meat, Italian Beef and corned beef with Tzatziki sauce, giardiniera and tomato.

Lake Shore Drive Hoagie, a version of the Jim Shoe sandwich, with sliced gyro meat, corned beef, Italian beef with a mix of Tzatziki sauce, giardiniera relish and tomatoes on a sesame hoagie roll.
Lake Shore Drive Hoagie, a version of the Jim Shoe sandwich, with sliced gyro meat, corned beef, Italian beef with a mix of Tzatziki sauce, giardiniera relish and tomatoes on a sesame hoagie roll. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Lightlife's plant-based burger, which will be sold at Soldier Field at Bears games this season.
Lightlife’s plant-based burger, which will be sold at Soldier Field at Bears games this season. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

Like some Bears games, not everything turns out as hoped.

A Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich introduced to great fanfare last year enjoyed an initial surge in interest, but appetite for it dropped off by season’s end. It’s not available this year, supplanted by a crispy chicken sandwich with bacon that will have to prove it can fly.

Here are photos of more of the food available at Soldier Field this Bears season.

A crispy chicken sandwich with bacon, white cheddar, herb remoulade, pickles, lettuce and tomato will be sold at Soldier Field this season.
A crispy chicken sandwich with bacon, white cheddar, herb remoulade, pickles, lettuce and tomato will be sold at Soldier Field this season. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
a slow-roasted prime rib sandwich, which will be sold at Soldier Field for Bears games this season.
a slow-roasted prime rib sandwich, which will be sold at Soldier Field for Bears games this season. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Prime rib and turkey pastrami, which will be sold at Soldier Field for Bears games this season.
Prime rib and turkey pastrami, which will be sold at Soldier Field for Bears games this season. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Aramark chef Tom Elder addresses the media at Monday's food preview at Soldier Field.
Aramark chef Tom Elder addresses the media at Monday’s food preview at Soldier Field. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Barbecue wings, which will be sold at Soldier Field for Bears games this season.
Barbecue wings, which will be sold at Soldier Field for Bears games this season. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

A Labor Day Salute to Groundskeepers. !

A Labor Day Salute to Groundskeepers. !

“I salute you ! Beacon Athletics salutes you !…”

With the Labor Day holiday approaching, I wanted to take a few minutes and extend a personal shout-out to all the hardworking ballfield groundskeepers.

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, the fantasy of a “part-time groundskeeper” has been exposed — that idea of showing up for work at 3 pm to mow the grass and paint and chalk the fields before the evening game is not realistic. There is now a much better public understanding and appreciation of the hours upon hours you spend maintaining your fields no matter the weather, no matter the day. Many of you worked through many weekends and summer holidays, while missing countless family events and activities. Many worked seemingly endless days in a row with only a handful of hours of sleep each night.

As I often remind people, “the grass doesn’t stop growing when the club is on the road or it’s the weekend”. Like farmers, we cultivate the soil and manage our turf crop no matter the weather or conditions thrown at us. We tend to our “living ballfields” as if they were one of our children. We suffer when they suffer. It is truly a labor of love.

I know the long hours. I know the exhaustion. I know the stress. I know the self-applied pressure for perfection. And, I know your concern for and appreciation of your own crew. Your dedication and hard work is enjoyed by millions — by those playing on your fields, fans watching a game at the ballpark, in a stadium, or on TV. It is your work that helps the rest of America relax and enjoy a break from their hard work.

From one groundskeeper to another on Labor Day – I salute you ! Beacon Athletics salutes you !

So, crack open a cold one this weekend, sit back, relax and reflect for a few minutes on all the great work you and your crew performed this season. Your work is appreciated.

View Labor Day Specials

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

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

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“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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A Special Message on Fan Safety from Beacon’s CEO !

Beacon Athletics

The ultimate ballfield resource. It’s all here.

AUGUST 2019

Dear fellow ballfield professionals,

We’ve all seen the horrific headlines, images and stories of fans being struck by errant line drives and foul balls. While fans being injured isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon, that precise fact is really at the heart of the sentiment being expressed by so many in our industry: “why is this continuing to happen?”

Answers typically vary from a reluctance to change the spectator’s view, to cost factors and the challenges of retrofitting netting to existing structures. But something has to be done. The game we love continues to stand at risk of being marred by serious, life-changing injuries to our friends, family and neighbors.

I share your concerns and we stand ready to help you answer the other unrelenting question: “what can we do?”

Now is the time to improve fan safety, and we understand what needs to be done to achieve it. We have outfitted and retrofitted facilities with netting for decades, engineering systems for all levels of play. Together, let’s get this done to ensure all fans can safely enjoy the tradition of watching ballgames for decades to come.

Sincerely,
Message from Beacon CEO
John Maher,
Owner & CEO, Beacon Athletics
608-824-1547

Contact Us          More About Fan Safety

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

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“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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Panama City Beach, FL. Sports Complex Opens Today !

Panama City Beach Sports Complex Opens Today

July, 2019


Panama City Beach’s new Sports Complex,managed by Sports Facilities Management (SFM), opens today, July 8. The brand-new $37 million complex will offer visitors on ‘play-cation’ a place to enjoy multiple sports and activities on its 13-field complex. The complex is already booked solid for the year with 48 tournaments scheduled between July 2019 and July 2020. Last week it was announced that a new Skate Park will be added to Chip Seal Parkway near the new complex, accessible to all members of the Panama City Beach community.

“Panama City Beach’s new Sports Complex will become the ultimate destination for sports in the southeast,” shares SFM General Manager of the Panama City Beach Sports Complex J.D. Wood. “We can’t wait to welcome athletes from all over the country to experience not only our new world-class facility, but our beautiful beaches and off-the-field activities as well.”

The Panama City Beach Sports Complex will feature nine turf fields, four natural grass fields, dedicated tournament buildings, two championship fields with seating up to 1,500 and over 1,000 parking spots. The complex’s flexible design will allow for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, baseball, softball and more. The final construction tasks to be completed include paving the entrance roadway, completing installation of lighting, finishing work on several administrative and concessions buildings, and landscaping.

A 2017 study projected that in its first year of operation, the Panama City Beach Sports Complex will generate $867,000 in gross revenues, or $580,000 in income after expenses. The bookings already confirmed on the complex’s calendar are anticipated to generate 37,000 room nights at hotels in the area, bringing an estimated $13.9 million into Bay County’s economy. Details of the grand opening including special festivities for Bay County residents will be announced soon.

Panama City Beach’s Sports Complex is made possible through a public-private partnership with the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, St. Joe Company and Bay District Schools. More information on the new complex can be found at www.playpanamacitybeach.com. A link of renderings can be found here. If you are interested in booking tournaments or trainings, please contact J.D. Wood at jdwood@sportadvisory.com.

About Panama City Beach: Panama City Beach is situated on 27 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordering clear, emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge.  With 320 days of sunshine annually and attractions such as St. Andrews State Park and Pier Park, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers.  These include championship golf courses, spas, sporting events, award-winning dining and diverse recreational activities. In addition, Panama City Beach’s Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport offers non-stop flights on Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. For more information, call 850-233-5070 or visit the official website of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.  Live HD video of the world-famous beach is now available at http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/webcam/. Stay connected with Panama City Beach on Twitter (@Visit_PCB), Instagram (@Visit_PCB) and Facebook (@Visit_PCB).

About Panama City Beach Sports Complex: The Panama City Beach Sports Complex is located within the Breakfast Point development and is the premier destination for travel sports tourism in the Florida panhandle. The facility features 13 rectangular fields including nine with artificial surfaces and two championship fields with seating up to 1,500 spectators. The flexible design allows for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football and flag football, as well as baseball and softball to be played. The Panama City Sports Complex is a facility managed by Sports Facilities Management, LLC. For more information, visit:www.playpanamacitybeach.com

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

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“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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The Danger of Artificial Turf Warning Tracks !

It’s about safety…

With the increase in artificial turf baseball and softball fields, one issue has really grabbed my attention — Warning Tracks!

Ballfield warning tracks are meant to keep players from getting hurt

Warning tracks have been a part of baseball/softball for decades. They serve a critical purpose in warning players that they are approaching a permanent fixture of some kind. When players are focused on catching a fly ball, they are looking up at the ball, not down at the field.  Fielders rely on a change of texture under foot to alert them that they are approaching immovable barriers along the perimeter of a playing field.

Artificial turf warning tracks don’t have a change of texture, only a change of color, which puts players at risk. A player engrossed in catching a ball is rarely going to think about looking down to see the change of turf color that notifies them they are on the artificial turf warning track and rapidly approaching an obstacle.  And therein lies the problem with the rapid proliferation of artificial turf ballfield.

Changing turf color just isn’t enough

Pretty much all artificial turf fields delineate the warning track by simply changing the color of the artificial turf. Unless a ballplayer is looking down when he approaches the warning track, he or she will have no other way to be warned of a potential collision with the wall. There’s no change in feel, like turf grass to warning track soil — not audible difference when your spikes hit the warning track material. It’s a purely visual difference. If I was a college or high school athletic director, I would be pressuring the artificial turf manufactures for a better solution to warn fielders of the danger. Ultimately, it comes down to those decisionmakers to look out for their players’ safety.

Ideal width of warning tracks

Warning tracks play a key role in the game and in the maintenance and upkeep of a ballfield. The standard rule of thumb for the width of a warning track is to provide a 3-step warning for a player who is running at full speed. This allows one step for the player to realize they are on a different textured surface and two additional steps to decelerate before impacting the solid object such as a fence. Since the age of a player is a fairly good indicator for length of stride at a full out run, use this chart for recommended outfield warning track widths per age group.

WARNING TRACK WIDTH
OLDEST AGE GROUP USING FIELD WIDTH OF WARNING TRACK
10 & under 8′ – 10′
11 – 12 10′ – 12′
13 – 16 12′ – 15′
17 & older 15′ – 18′

 

Warning tracks serve other purposes, too

On natural grass fields, warning tracks not only provide a safety feature to the field but they also provide a marked roadway for maintenance vehicles to travel on instead of on the grass. The correct size/width warning track also allows the foot traffic that exits the dugouts to spread out before stepping foot on the grass thereby reducing turfgrass wear. Warning tracks also reduce or eliminate maintenance of vegetation along and against walls and fences on the perimeter of the field.

But for the sake of player safety, let’s hope that turf manufacturers/installers and athletic directors pay more attention to this issue and address it before too many more faux artificial turf warning tracks are installed.

Learn About Building the Warning Track

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

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

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

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( 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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Choosing Float Drags for Your Infield Skin !

Choosing the right float drag for your infield can be confusing. Actually, it’s smart to have a couple different types of float drags on hand so you are properly equipped for your dragging duties no matter what the conditions are. All of the float options below will leave a nice professional finish on your infield skin. To help you understand what combination of float drags may be best for you, we have assembled the following summary listing the benefits and uses of each drag.


Steel Mat Drag

Beacon Steel Mat Drag

  • Excellent for any type of infield skin surface
  • Able to pulverize soil chunks
  • Helps to “screen out” small rocks and pebbles on infield surface
  • Can help to cut down high spots and fill low spots
  • If using one large enough to tow, it is suggested to add a drag bar ahead of the drag to help redistribute any soil or topdressing piles on the infield surface

Rigid Steel Mat Drag

Beacon Rigid Steel Mat Hand Drag

  • Terrific for in-game dragging
  • Works well with any type of infield skin surface
  • Will pulverize soil chunks
  • Helps to “screen out” small rocks and pebbles on infield surface
  • Can help to cut down high spots and fill low spots

Buy Now


Pro Rigid Steel Mat Drag

Beacon Pro Rigid Steel Mat Hand Drag

  • Only for use with infield skins that have a topdressing layer on the surface
  • Reduces the amount of material transported within the drag mesh
  • Great option for in-game dragging

Cocoa Mat Drags

Beacon Cocoa Mat Drags

  • These are the best drags to use in a damp or somewhat wet infield skin situation
  • Should only be used on topdressed infield surfaces
  • Does not transport infield soil, so there’s no big pile left at the end of the drag
  • If using one large enough to tow, it is suggested to add a drag bar ahead of the drag to help redistribute any soil or topdressing piles on the infield surface
  • Smaller cocoa mats/mops are excellent for in-game dragging

Drag Broom

Drag Broom

  • Works best on infields that have a topdressing layer on the surface as this tool will not pulverize soil chunks
  • A good option when infield conditions are damp or somewhat wet
  • Lightweight tool makes it a great choice for in-game dragging

Buy Now


Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

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

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

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( 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”

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These 25 foods caught our eyes at Progressive Field concession stands, so we ordered them and ranked them for Indians fans. !

The fix for sagging, ineffective nets. !

In-Line Backstop Netting

COASTAL CHRISTIAN HS | WILMINGTON, NC

July 18, 2019
Like many schools, Coastal Christian High School was confident a local contractor would capably install their new backstop netting system. They had worked with Beacon Athletics to design the system — just like ones we have designed for schools, colleges and professional teams across the country. Our backstop nets truly deliver an MLB-quality experience. But, like any installation process, even the best design and highest quality parts rely on a contractor who shares the same commitment to quality to get you the best result.

Beacon Athletics

Unfortunately for Coastal Christian, the initial installation did not go as expected. A Beacon employee was onsite and noticed the nets were sagging, likely due to improper installation. They contacted Coastal’s athletic director, Mike Scheffel, to discuss the options. We suggested one of our ballfield project consultants could step in to help fix the problems. After a thorough review of the situation, our consultant concluded that due to their contractor installing the poles incorrectly, a new net would be needed. But the good news was he would be able to install the new net in a single day and then make necessary adjustments to bring the backstop system up to the professional quality they had expected. (Scroll down for before/after comparisons)

With the support of Coastal’s Head of School Brenda McCombie, the athletic department moved ahead with our plan for fixing the subpar installation. Within 3 weeks the new net was fabricated and our installation consultant was on-site at Coastal Christian. Not only was the new net installed correctly to our professional standards, but the consultant also trained Scheffel’s staff on how to raise & lower the netting from the ground. With the school located near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, our unique heavy-duty winch system was exactly the combination of ease and strength that Coastal needs to standup to the sometimes rough Atlantic weather.

Scheffel and McCombie were extremely happy with the result. “We were very disappointed with the way the initial installation turned out. We weren’t sure where to turn. But with Beacon’s help, we were able to work with their consultant to truly rescue our ballfield,” Scheffel “When we do our next ballpark project, we are going to make sure we include a Beacon consultant in the mix to work with a local contractor. We know now how important it is that Beacon is brought in to oversee the installation and make sure it is done the right way.”

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

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

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( 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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USA Softball and USSSA to co-host The U.S. Games !

USA Softball and USSSA to co-host The U.S. Games !

USA Softball and USSSA to co-host The U.S. Games !

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2019
OKLAHOMA CITY – USA Softball is proud to announce a new event held in partnership with the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) as two of the nation’s largest sports organizations join forces for grassroots development. USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USSSA, the world’s largest multi-sport organization, will partner to host The U.S. Games, a prestigious girls’ fast pitch tournament that will take place at USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla. on January 18-20, 2020.

“USA Softball takes pride in serving the sport of softball as the National Governing Body in the United States,” said USA Softball Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Craig Cress. “As such, it is vital for the growth of our sport to unite, rather than compete, alongside softball organizations to provide as many opportunities for individuals to play, coach or umpire the game they love. By partnering with USSSA, who shares our passion and dedication to the development of the game, it is our hope that we can foster in a new era for our sport in which the softball community stands united.”

The U.S. Games brings USA Softball and USSSA together as co-hosts of the event, a 12-Under (12U) and 14-Under (14U) tournament.  The U.S. Games will feature eight teams in each age division for a total of 16 total teams for the inaugural event. Teams will qualify for the U.S. Games through their finish at the 2019 USA Elite Select World Fastpitch Championship and USA Softball Girls’ 12U and 14U Fast Pitch Class A National Championship.

“USSSA is excited to make this announcement with USA Softball as we believe this is another step towards growing the sport of softball,” said USSSA CEO Don DeDonatis III. “We look forward to hosting the inaugural U.S. Games this January and for the opportunities this event will create for years to come.  Both USSSA and USA Softball have two of the best softball venues that can provide a unique championship atmosphere for our teams and fans. We look forward to working with USA Softball and showing how our two organizations can work together for the benefit of the game and the athletes playing it.”

USSSA’s new Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla. will play host to the inaugural U.S. Games. The complex boasts 15 AstroTurf fields including five NCAA Softball regulation fields and a Fastpitch Stadium that features 1000 seat capacity, press box and HD Videoboard. The entire complex is wired with 4K broadcast capabilities and will feature the live stream of games on the USSSALive.com platform. The complex is located 45 minutes from Orlando and 15 minutes from Florida’s Space Coast with its 72 miles of shoreline.

A future edition of The U.S. Games, 16-Under and 18-Under, will be held at historic USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, which is currently in the final phase of a $27.5 million renovation. Most recent renovations, which were unveiled during the 2019 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS), included the demolition to the outer entrance and press box area to make way for a new stadium entrance. A three-story press box also features new interview rooms with tunnels leading from the team locker rooms and a broadcast booth. The installation of upper-deck seating has begun, which will increase the capacity by an additional 4,000 seats.

About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations.  USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.

As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.

About USSSA
USSSA is headquartered in Viera, Florida at USSSA Space Coast Complex. USSSA is the world’s largest multi-sport athletic organization with over 4 million participants competing in 14 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information about USSSA, visit www.usssa.com and follow USSSA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

USSSA Fastpitch offers a place to play for every fastpitch player across the country through our sanctioned events offered for teams and individual athletes. Through our classification system, USSSA levels the playing field for our 30,000+ registered teams at the league and tournament level. USA Elite Select, the elite division of USSSA Fastpitch, offers teams a qualification process for the World Fastpitch Championship. The All American Program and Select 30 Program within USSSA Fastpitch are National Programs for individual athletes. Additionally, USSSA owns the USSSA Pride, an affiliate of the National Pro Fastpitch league. USSSA Fastpitch strives to be the most trusted resource in the game for its athletes, coaches, parents, umpires and directors.

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Space Needs of a Ballfield !

 

How much space will you need?

Beacon Athletics

When looking for space to build a ballfield or a complex of fields, there are several factors that should be considered during the planning stage. In many cases, it is not just the ball diamond that is being built. Typically there are additional features to consider such as, dugouts, bathrooms, concession areas, storage facilities, bleachers, drainage swales, parking and even buffer zones that may need to be built as well.

For the ballfield portion, the table below gives you rough estimates for the area needed for various sized ballfields allowing adequate space for field amenities such as bleachers, dugouts, fences, lights and scoreboards.

Remember, your parking lot is a piece of the puzzle that can use up a lot of space in a hurry. You can use 20 spaces as the starting point for the minimum amount of parking at a ballfield. 20 spaces will need approximately 0.3 acre. For each additional parking space you’ll need to add another 0.015 acre per space.

Baseball Field Space Needs
90 ft bases with 400 ft fence 4.5 acres
80 ft bases with 315 ft fence 3 acres
70 ft bases with 275 ft fence 2 acres
60 ft bases with 215 ft fence 1.5 acres
Softball Field Space Needs
65 ft bases with 275 ft fence 2.5 acres
60 ft bases with 200 ft fence 1.5 acres

Addressing Fan Safety

Multi-field complexes are often planned with little thought regarding protection of spectators. Sometimes fields are squeezed tight together with a bare minimum of common space between fields. Fans watching a game on one field can be subject to stray foul balls from other fields that are right behind them. These is a common issue with many multi-field complexes. Now, with recent line-drive injuries to fans at MLB ballparks, more attention than ever is being paid to protecting fans at all levels. Beacon is an excellent resource for netting options from local ballparks all the up to professional venues. We have more info regarding protective netting available for you here: Beacon Netting Solutions for Keeping Fans Safe

Beacon Athletics

There are three ways you can address multi-field safety. The first way would be to install an overhead netting system to protect the fans. A second idea would be to address this potential problem in the planning stages when simple realignment of fields can help to increase the amount of room between fields, reducing foul ball risk. Your third option involves a little bit of the first two options, and in most cases will prove to be your best overall plan.

Start by planning your common areas to be as open as possible between fields. Then, use a combination of barrier protective netting and deciduous trees. Planting trees along the common areas along with netting will greatly reduce the risk of spectator injury. Barrier netting will deflect the lower flying line drive foul balls while trees will become a living, growing ball deflection system for the higher foul pops entering common areas. The older the trees get between fields, the bigger and more dense the natural deflection system will be. Additionally, trees will also provide much appreciated shade for those hot summer days and they’ll serve as a wind breaker on gusty days. They’ll improve fan comfort and provide some foul ball protection while at the same time providing a more visually appealing park-like atmosphere.

Managing Drainage

Probably the most critical part of an athletic field is its surface drainage. There are two main styles of surface grade that commonly are used for controlling surface water removal. The first and most popular is called the “turtle back” where the base of the pitcher’s mound is the highest point on the field and elevations fall away from that point in all directions much like the back of a turtle’s shell. On this type of field, the infield is typically graded to a 0.5 – 1% slope. The outfield and foul areas should be graded at a 1 – 1.5% slope. This is the quickest and most efficient method to shed water off a ballfield.

Another, less popular option involves having the whole field tilt from one side of the field to the opposite side. This type of drainage is called “sheet flow” drainage — like a sheet of water sliding off the side of a hill. This surface drainage will work provided the home plate area is at the highest point of the slope. You want to avoid water draining toward the infield and home plate — it should always move away from the infield. Sheet flow will drain slower than the turtle back method because the water will have a longer distance to travel before exiting the field.

With all of the above in mind, try to find land for your ballfield that will require the least amount of rough grading in order to satisfy one of the above drainage styles. Drainage swales and/or storm drains along the edges of a ball diamond in “out-of-play” areas should be used to carry the surface drained water away from the site.

Get in Touch

If you would like help in planning your ballpark, let our team of engineers help guide you through the process. We’re here to help you make sure you avoid costly mistakes and see that in the end you have a great ballpark your community will take pride in.

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