The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

How to Avoid These 6 Common Groundskeeping Mistakes !

You must first 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:

  1. Sweep all loose material away from the wear holes.
  2. Use water to adequately moisten the sides and bottom of the holes. Allow some time for the water to absorb into the established clay.
  3. Add fresh clean clay to the wear areas and tamp into place. Level as needed.
  4. Sprinkle some water over the entire surface of the patch.
  5. 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.

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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“NEW” Amateur Sports Added !

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

We Can Save More Money In 2022 !

* ( 26 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

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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 !]]

** “STAY SMART ** STAY SAFE” **

  • ** STAY HEALTHY **

All 5 Massachusetts Sports Complexes Purchased For $86 Million By Edge Sports Group !

EDGE SPORTS GROUP

WELLESLEY, MA.  – Albany Road – Sports Complex Investor LLC in partnership with ESG Associates Inc. (“EDGE Sports Group”) acquired five professional multi-sport athletic facilities.

Each of the facilities in the Portfolio were acquired off-market, at an aggregate price of $86.25 million.

The sports complexes provide ice rinks, swimming pools, turf fields, basketball courts, strength and conditioning facilities, various physical therapy and medical practices, and pro shops / restaurants / concessions infrastructure, totaling approximately 445,000 square feet.

The portfolio was orchestrated by, and will be professionally managed by, EDGE Sports Group a full-service athletic facility consultant, developer, and manager with over 30 years of experience in the industry.  

Purchased were:

  • Boston Sports Institute … a Steward Family Facility in Wellesley,
  • Thayer Sports Center in Braintree,
  • Foxboro Sports Center in Foxboro,
  • Boch Ice Center in Dedham, and
  • Hobomock Arenas in Pembroke.

The five facilities are well located across southern and western suburbs of Greater Boston, within I-495 and I-95, an affluent region known for its passion for youth sports, and youth hockey in particular.

The prime location of the facilities should further allow the Portfolio to capitalize on the explosive growth of the U.S. youth sports industry.

Per Wintergreen Research, this industry had a market value of $22.2 billion in 2019, $27.0 billion in 2021 (post-Covid), and is expected to grow exponentially to $40.9 billion by 2025.

The product type offers diversification from traditional real estate cycles, and the Portfolio offers upside potential as several of the properties should benefit from a to-be-implemented, more institutional, bottom-line focused approach to management through a partnership with EDGE Sports Group.

The acquisition opportunities for each facility in the Portfolio were orchestrated in conjunction with Wellesley-based EDGE Sports Group www.edgesportsgroup.com, a full-service athletic facility consultant, developer, and manager with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

EDGE was established to respond to the growing demand for recreational programming by municipalities, schools, and both private and non-private organizations; EDGE works in conjunction with these groups to create sustainable year-round athletic ecosystems to benefit users of all demographics.

Since its inception, EDGE has successfully designed, permitted, developed, and operate facilities throughout New England. In addition, EDGE Sports Group is also the operational manager of the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center and Essex Sports Center in Middleton, along with being the selected developer and operational manager for the Braintree Sports Center in Braintree and Mosaic Quarter Entertainment Complexes in Tucson AZ. 

Given EDGE’s extensive history and track record in the entire life cycle of sports facilities in the New England (and specifically Massachusetts) market, Albany Road views EDGE as the best possible consulting and management partner for the Portfolio. 

An appeal to the platform, from both firms’ perspectives, is that the athletic facility space offers diversification from traditional real estate cycles and product types. Tyler Savonen, Vice President at Albany Road, offered the following: “As an owner/operator of commercial real estate, the youth sports and recreation space is the ultimate panacea to any remote, work-from-home concern that has dominated real estate discussions since the onset of the pandemic, with no clear resolution to this day. 

The partnership and relationship with EDGE creates the opportunity to diligently add further athletic facilities in the future, increasing the size and scale of the Portfolio. 

Both Albany Road and EDGE will have a right of first refusal on each groups’ acquisition and/or or development of any additional athletic facility in the Northeast, which aligns all interests and provides Albany Road with the assurance that we will be given the chance to evaluate all opportunities in the region.

“We are thrilled to partner with Albany Road Real Estate Partners with their strong track record of recognizing opportunities ahead of real estate trends.  This partnership will allow EDGE to not only more efficiently manage and grow this portfolio, but also pivot quickly to capitalize on future opportunities to create a growing ecosystem of family-oriented sports, recreation and entertainment centers” said Brian DeVellis, President of ESG Associates Incorporated.

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

“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 **

State College Action Sports Park Could Finally Become A Reality This Year !

Gordon Kauffman, a volunteer member of the committee working to make the park a reality, told State College Borough Council on Monday that the “aggressive timeline” aims to complete fundraising, final plans, and permitting in the coming months, with construction starting in that late summer.

If everything goes according to plan, the park would open at the end of the year.

To be located in High Point Park off of West Whitehall Road, the project will include amenities for skateboards, BMX bikes, and scooters.

Tussey Mountain has been home to a skate park for skateboards, bikes, and scooters since 2001, but community members have long sought a more easily accessible, and free-to-use, action sports park in the immediate State College area.

“There isn’t an action sports park or a skatepark here in State College and demand is very high for it,” Kauffman said.

The committee presented the current, tentative design for the park during a public input session on Jan. 27.

Jake Johnson, a professional skateboarder and State College native who opened IQ Skateshop on South Pugh Street last year, and his father, Tim, a professor emeritus of landscape architecture at Penn State, developed the concept for the current design, drawing on features from locations Jake has skated at across the United States and around the world.

New Line Skateparks was contracted last fall to bring that conceptual design to a final design and lead construction, with longtime pro skateboarder and lead designer Kanten Russell working as project manager. New Line has developed more than 350 municipal skate park projects over the last 20 years.

Current plans for the 20,000-square-foot project feature ledges, stairs, rails, banks, a mini-ramp area, a brick volcano, a quarterpipe, planting areas with boulders for seating spots, and a center courtyard with a large granite pad.

A rendering of the preliminary design for the planned Action Sports Park at High Point Park in State College. Image by New Line Skateparks

Part of the design is a plaza setting, inspired by locales like Pulaski Park in Washington, D.C., while the lower elevation is designed to be a higher speed area “so that people who want to go a little bit faster and do bigger airs can come and ride down here,” Russell said in January.

“I think this will be very popular with the bikers so that they can really have more room and bigger transitions to do their tricks down here, really pump and get some speed,” he added.

The brick and granite design is meant to fit in with State College’s aesthetic.

“We really tried to make this feel and look like it belongs in State College,” Russell said. “We definitely took inspiration from the downtown area, the living areas, the college itself.”

State College Mayor Ezra Nanes noted during Monday’s council meeting that the skatepark facility still leaves plenty of green space within High Point Park.

“The skatepark does not take up the full footprint of High Point Park,” Nanes said. “It’s in one small section. There’s a whole lot of green space all around it as well. The park is still very much a park. This is just a component of the park, which is great.”

Kaufman said the committee is excited about High Point Park because it is an existing but currently underutilized park not far from State College Area High School, is located on a CATA bus route, and has parking off of West Whitehall Road.

The shared-use path system in the borough currently connects to Blue Course Drive, not far from the park. The borough is separately aiming to secure a state grant to, in part, connect the Orchard Park greenway along Blue Course Drive to Whitehall Road.

A rendering of the preliminary design for the planned Action Sports Park at High Point Park in State College. Image by New Line Skateparks

It’s been a long road to the development of the action sports park since it was first proposed in 2013 to the Centre Region Council of Government Parks Capital Committee by BMX legend and local resident Jamie Bestwick. Borough staff began looking into the project the following year and it has been a part of capital improvement plans ever since.

In 2017, Orchard Park was proposed as a potential location, but that was met with opposition by residents of the Greentree neighborhood. An ad hoc committee was then formed and proposed several locations, including the planned Whitehall Road Regional Park

It would, however, likely be years, if at all, before an action sports component could be included in the multi-phase construction of Whitehall Road Regional Park. A subcommittee of the original ad hoc committee regrouped and ultimately identified High Point Park as the preferred location.

Nearby residents did not oppose the proposal for High Point Park, which is owned by the borough and maintained by Centre Region Parks and Recreation.

Before shovels hit the ground, though, there’s more work to be done. The total project cost is about $1.3 million. The Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Community Development and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have approved two grants totaling $500,000. The borough allocated $200,000 in its capital budget and the project has received about $100,000 in in-kind donations and services.

That leaves $500,000 to be raised through private-sector fundraising and/or additional grants.

Kauffman said the committee has only just begun the private fundraising campaign in the past few weeks and has about $20,000 in commitments so far. By April they hope to have a good sense of how much will be available in order to finalize the park plans.

“I’m confident that this community is going to come together,” Kauffman said. “It’s got a history of philanthropy and I believe we’ve got the resources here to make this happen.”

He added that the initial focus has been on securing larger donations, but that the campaign will include opportunities for smaller contributions.

“We feel like if we can get a few big gifts under our belt it will help build momentum for the project,” he said. “It’s very important that ultimately there’s buy-in from the entire community and [smaller donations are] a great way to do that.”

Work toward the park has been a collaborative effort “to provide local youth a safe and secure place to practice their independent sport disciplines and socialize with peers.” The borough, which in addition to funding has provided regular staff support and the location, state, Centre Region Parks and Rec, local youth and families, volunteers, and local businesses are all a part of the process.

“This is going to take a village, so there are a lot of stakeholders involved,” he said. “It’s really a function of the continued efforts and the passion by community members to make this dream a reality.”

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

“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 **

Greater Binghamton Sports Complex owner sues contractors, insurance company over collapse !

The owner of the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex is suing two contractors and its own insurance carrier following the collapse of the under-construction building during a November 2021 windstorm.

In a $3.4 million civil action filed Feb. 8 in state Supreme Court for Broome County, Kashou Enterprises Inc. alleges contractor Colton Construction LLC and a subcontractor, Tyrrell Steel Erectors LLC, were “negligent in failing to timely and properly erect the steel framing of the building in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.”

The lawsuit also names the Hanover Insurance Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts, as a defendant.

Kashou Enterprises claims Hanover “refused to honor its contractual promise to fully compensate plaintiff for all damages related to the failure of the construction project” even though the plaintiff “was in full compliance” with all of the conditions of its policy with the company.

What’s next:Greater Binghamton Sports Complex rebuilding delayed after collapse: When will it open?

Investigation:Cause of Sunday’s collapse at Greater Binghamton Sports Complex being investigated

Kashou Enterprises attorneys Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP cites an “unusual and excessive wind event” as another “substantial factor” in the collapse of the building and the “failure of the construction project.”

The planned one-story, 100,000-square-foot sports facility in the Town of Union was under construction when it collapsed Nov. 21, 2021 during a wind storm. No one was injured. Kashou Enterprises said all work was halted after the building collapse.

Last November’s incident marked the second collapse of a structure at the Airport Road property in less than a year.

During a frigid, record-breaking winter storm in December 2020, the old dome at the complex slowly deflated under the weight of about three feet of snow,destroying the central facility that attracted thousands of athletes and their families over 15 years.

After the December 2020 collapse, Bahij Kashou transferred the sports leagues and tournaments to the Edge Sports Complex in Vestal, and got to work on rebuilding.

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

“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 **

No Smoke, No Mirrors… Just Better Soils !

Full season on tap for E’town Sports Park !

Elizabethtown, KY – A busy 2022 season is on the horizon for the Elizabethtown Sports Park staff.

From the beginning of March to the end of August, General Manager Todd Yancey they’ll have only one off weekend.

“I can’t believe it, but we are a matter of weeks away from the 2022 season already,” he said Wednesday at the Elizabethtown Tourism Commission meeting. “It’s go time again.”Yancey introduced the sports park leadership team to commissioners and delved into some new and highlighted events as they kick off the season, such as Kentucky Turf Wars — their own baseball tournament. It’s set for the middle of May and is already sitting around 40 games with more than 60 teams anticipated, up more than 20 teams last year.

“We’re feeling pretty good about that one and that’s going to continue to build our own brand of tournaments,” he said.

New this year, through their relationship with USSSA Kentucky, Yancey said they’ve added a Super NIT Select 30 event, which is an invitational to get to the USSSA National World Series. This event is set for the weekend of the Kentucky Derby in May.

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

“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 – New vs. Existing Layouts !

BALLFIELD * DIMENSIONS * GUIDE

New Versus Existing Infields

DuraEdge Engineered Infield Soils have revolutionized the industry with a manufacturing process that relies on testing and computer-controlled blending. Scientifically selected soil materials are carefully metered out and mechanically combined to allow for specific infield soils.


New infield skin construction.

When designing and building a new ballfield, the most critical decision you need to make is the infield soil you will specify and install. To answer that question, you’ll need to answer these two questions first.

  • What are your field maintenance resources with regards to labor, equipment, maintenance practices and frequency?
  • Do you have access to an adequate water supply?

Answers to those questions will guide you in accurately classifying your field. A four-inch profile of infield soil is recommended for all new infield skin construction. See Engineered Soil or Native Soil? for more info and Determining Your Infield Soil Needs to estimate soil amounts.


Existing infield skin renovation.

The development of engineered infield soils has paved the way for many underperforming infields to be rescued while avoiding the cost of total replacement. This innovative process is based on science and math using a four-step process for renovation known as “TACS” — Test, Analyze, Compare, and Solve.

DuraEdge engineered soils come in seven different blends. All FieldSaver products contain 50% or less sand content. DuraEdge infield soils contain 60% or more sand content. A Beacon Athletics or DuraEdge infield soils consultant can help you decide which soil product(s) should be blended into your existing soil for peak performance.

THE “AMENDING PROCESS”

  1. Select the proper soil amendments based on TACS evaluation.
  2. Remove all lips on the field and grade as close to finish grade as possible.
  3. Using a topdresser, spread amendment soil evenly across infield skin surface.
  4. With a reverse tine tiller, incorporate thoroughly by blending to a depth of 3″.
  5. Laser grade the proper crown to promote positive surface drainage (see Finish & Surface Grade).
  6. Roll infield skin with 1 ½ ton vibratory roller to fully compact, then flood skin area
  7. Finish surface by selecting and applying a topdressing (see Topdressing Amounts).
  8. You have now permanently modified your infield skin profile based on soil science.

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

    “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 **

Challenging angles, a myriad of obstacles… no problem. !

Section of Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego to turn into sports park !

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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A section of the Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego is set to undergo a makeover.

This week, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a plan to transform one-and-a-half acres on the northeast corner of the park into a sports park, according to ABC 10News’ media partner KPBS.

With approval of the proposal, the project is now up for construction bids.

Under the proposal, a basketball court, pickleball court, T-ball field, fitness equipment, and a dog park will be installed on land on Pacific Highway and Grape Street.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told KPBS the sports park will make a difference in the community.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time and it’s really exciting to begin to see it come to fruition and ready to start seeing some dirt moving,” Fletcher told the local media outlet.

Construction is expected to begin this spring and be finished later this summer.

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

“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

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

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The 9 Essential Ballfield Tools !

BEACON ATHLETICS

Are you one of those guys who keeps a rake and shovel in your trunk? Then this post was written for you!That extra attention to detail and ‘ready-for-anything’ spirit will go a long way toward your success as a groundskeeper. No one wants to see a 10-year-old infielder take a bad hop, especially as you’re trying to teach them the importance of staying down on grounders. The tools on this list are basic tools that don’t require any gasoline or water and certainly do not require a big budget. But, every baseball league and softball league should really have these affordable tools in their shed. And, every volunteer should know the basics of how to properly use these field maintenance tools. It will save you time, save you headaches, and empower everyone to make the most of their time prepping your fields. You may even find a few of these already in your tool shed or garage. 

The following list highlights tools, but also provides links to additional resources with how-to videos and lessons at Beacon’s Groundskeeper University. (NOTE: Be sure to also checkout our article on The Most Common Groundskeeping Mistakes if you work with teams of volunteers.) 


The 9 Essential Ballfield Tools. !


1. THE INFIELD RAKE

We all know rakes are important. There are many rakes to consider using, but this is one of our favorites. An infield rake can be used before and after practice or games to rake out cleat marks and divots, knock down high spots, and pull material to low spots — typically fielding position areas and sliding areas. One of our favorite infield rakes is the Double Play Rake. Use the short teeth for breaking up hard-packed clay and the long teeth for general raking and wet clay. Some prefer a straight edge on one side rather than teeth on both sides. With that in mind, the Wooden Field Rake, which has made its return after a dozen years away, is a great infield rake option. Learn more about Paul Zwaska’s sentimental favorite: Wood is Good!

* PRO TIP: Always rake down the base line towards the base or home parallel with the edges, never rake towards the infield grass. Raking towards edges will cause lips that affect the roll of the ball and cause a natural dam which in turn will hold water.

You can learn more about rakes at our Groundskeeper University lesson, “Shovels & Rakes”.


2. THE PUSH BROOM AND/OR THE LEAF RAKE

You need to control your lips. A push broom or standard leaf rake can be used fairly often to push material out from your turf edges. During games, material from the field is kicked or tracked against your turf edges. This generally results from the 1st and 3rd baseman moving into the grass for different situations. It’s also very common that material will move to your grass edge along the baselines from runners rounding the bases. Many of these chunks of material can be picked up by hand and thrown back on the field to rake but it’s the material that you can’t see that slowly builds up. That is contributing to lips forming and that’s what you need to be concerned with.

Regular use of the push broom or leaf rake can be an easy way to keep that buildup from becoming problematic minimizing lips. We have some great how-to videos on this topic, as well as an entire module at our Groundskeeper University online training tool which is devoted to addressing proper Lip Management.

Also reference these How-To Videos:


3. THE RIGID STEEL MAT

A hand drag is essential for grooming your field after it has been raked out. Steel mat drags help pull material from those high spots that were knocked down with the rake and they let you redistribute material to the low spots. If you have enough time, you’ll want to drag the field twice in opposite directions. Take your time when dragging to avoid being any closer than 6″ from cutouts and turf edges. Those areas may be better off being manicured with a broom or level board. If you have an uneven surface grade, you can try starting in the high areas of the field and end up in the low areas (usually where you will see the most standing water after a rainfall). A rigid steel mat helps cut down high spots and fill in the low spots. For minimal displacement of material, consider our Pro Rigid Steel Mat with a leading edge and angled mat.

Again, some great tips and advice for dragging patterns is available at Groundskeeper U: Float Dragging the Infield Skin

How-to Videos:


4. THE NAIL DRAG

A hand-pulled nail drag is small enough to not take up a lot of room in storage and you do not need a tractor to pull them. You’re the tractor. That’s very good news. And, even if you can only nail drag once or twice a week, you will definitely see a difference from scarifying your infield. Remember: a nail drag should be used before any mat drag is used. Nail drags by definition allow you to aggressively scarify your infield surface. It can help tremendously if you are able to nail drag after the field has received some moisture. Now, I don’t mean so much moisture that it sticks to the drag, that’ll make a mess. But, just enough moisture so you can easily loosen heavily compacted areas without digging in any deeper than 1 inch. You should complete the nail drag process with level boards or rakes to pull loose material into low spots and then finish with a nice and easy hand float drag.

While larger nail drags are great for covering a lot of ground, they are bigger, more expensive and will require a tractor or some machine to pull them. On the other hand, our X-Drag is an excellent option as a hand nail drag that you can use all over the infield skin — even in tighter areas like up and down the base paths. Just adjust the pull rope to go from a 3 ft wide drag to a skinny 2 ft wide drag.

Our Groundskeeper U lesson, Scarifying the Infield Skin, will walk you through the finer points.

How-to Videos:


5. THE SCOOP SHOVEL

A good scoop shovel is perfect for picking up debris and chunks from the piles of material swept from your turf edges, mound and home plate area. They can also be used to gather up and ideally sift the spoils from nail or mat dragging. One of our favorites is the Sifter Scoop Shovel, but really any sturdy shovel will do. The advantage of the sifter shovel is you can sift through the good material back to your infield skin, and then toss the waste left in the shovel off to side behind your playing field. Being diligent about removing unwanted chunks, debris or rocks will help ensure you give your players a safe infield that plays true and minimize the random “bad hop” that infielders dread. Players also appreciate sliding into base without potentially painful debris or stones.

You can learn more about shovels and rakes at Groundskeeper U’s Shovels & Rakes.

How-to Video:


6. THE TAMP

A tamp is needed to pack clay into the batter’s box and pitching mound after they have been repaired. These heavy-wear areas are frequently damaged. If your park & rec department or the field managers at your facility are not regularly repairing these areas, you will need to figure out how you can keep these areas safe from hazardous holes that form after heavy usage. If your league or team does not have the ability to acquire bagged clay to correctly repair these areas, we have some alternatives. Products like our Beacon Porous Rubber Mats or the Jox Box can be installed below grade in these areas to minimize damage and prevent holes. Just drag your material back over the exposed mats at the end of your game or practice.

But if you can use bagged clay to repair your mound or batter’s box, then we have the tamp that groundskeeper’s love. This isn’t your father’s tamp. No, our SweetSpot Tamp (shown) will save your hands and back by reducing vibration with a self-articulating tamp head. That’s a fancy way of saying it saves wear and tear on your joints. It means you’re getting a flush, max-impact blow every time so you’re working smarter, not harder.

* PRO TIP: If you’re using clay it’s imperative that you cover these areas with area tarps to help them maintain their moisture. If tarping is not an option the clay will harden and chunk out.

Learn more about what goes into repairing high-wear areas at Groundskeeper U: Repairing Clay-Fortified Areas

How-to Videos:


7. THE DIG OUT TOOL

No one likes a wobbly base. Always make sure to have a dig out tool around to clean out your base anchors. Cutting down soil around the bases is key to avoid an uneven surface for your base to sit on. But so is having a clean anchor to seat your base into. Use anchor plugs to keep material out of the anchor while you’re dragging or cutting down soil. But also use a dig out tool handy for clearing soil from the anchor. The other reason you need to clean out soil from the anchor? Rotational play. A properly installed base will have a little “rotational play” so the base stanchion doesn’t wedge in the anchor. Not only is that rigid base with no give a potential safety hazard for players, it means that base might actually get stuck, or at best become hard to remove. The simple, inexpensive — but effective — dig out tool is your answer.

The Groundskeeper U lesson On-field Maintenance & Placement will walk you through what you need to know with your bases and the importance of using the dig out tool.

How-to Videos:


8. THE ACCOUNTABILITY TOOL

Okay, this tool you should already have.It’s an easy one to ignore or put off, but assigning someone to be in charge of managing your volunteers and coaches is crucial. This person will coordinate a field training day where all coaches are required to attend so they know the basics. Ideally before this meeting, you can have coaches and volunteers go through our free online training tool at Groundskeeper University to get everyone on the same page. This is strongly suggested. It makes life easier for the person in charge and will help you avoid preventable mistakes, which is definitely important after all the effort you put into your fields. A lot of headaches will be spared when your field has some consistent maintenance and you’ll achieve a predictable result so the players know what to expect from your fields. 


9. ONLINE EDUCATIONAL TOOL

One more plug for Groundskeeper University. Not as much a “plug” really, since you can use it at no charge, but we really want to make sure you are aware of this super valuable online resource. It will help you save a TON of time not having to manually train volunteers and coaches every year. Getting everyone doing things the same way it (and the right way) is critical. GU is authored by my Beacon colleague and former Baltimore Orioles Head Groundskeeper Paul Zwaska. These how-to modules and lessons are great for teaching the basics of field care and maintenance using audio, photos, diagrams, and videos with some short quizzes along the way to make sure you’re remembering what you need to know. Users can even become “certified” in the basics. Typically users only need 2-3 hours to go through all 8 lessons. Check it out. You and your team have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“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 **