Rays switching to AstroTurf at Trop
Work is underway to replace the FieldTurf playing surface at Tropicana Field with AstroTurf's GameDay Grass 3D60H product.
According to company officials, the new turf will look and play better, and more like natural grass, than any other synthetic surface available.
Here are some of the details of the new 1.1-million square foot playing surface, according to AstroTurf's press release (which in its original version started with a TAMPA dateline rather than ST. PETERSBURG, but was corrected shortly after relase):
(ST. PETERSBURG, FL) - Attempting to improve on winning two American League East titles in the past three seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays are not only building a championship team, they are building a championship field.
The Rays announced that they have begun installation of a new, American-made, AstroTurf® field at the 1.1 million square foot Tropicana Field.
“The AstroTurf® fiber and in-fill systems contain the very latest technology and will provide our players the best playing surface available,” said Rays President Matt Silverman. “Our players had the opportunity to work out on the new turf, and their opinions contributed to our decision to install AstroTurf®.”
The Rays played on synthetic turf surfaces since their inaugural season in 1998, but the change to AstroTurf® means they will be playing on the most advanced surface in the world today.
The AstroTurf® installation at Tropicana Field has already begun and will be ready for play when the Rays open the season against the Baltimore Orioles on April 1st.
AstroTurf® is the Official Synthetic Turf for Major League Baseball and is also used by the Toronto Blue Jays.
“To receive such a designation comes with requirements,” said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball. “AstroTurf® produces a very high quality product, and we’re glad to see the Rays get a brand new, top of the line field.”
The field will be AstroTurf® GameDay Grass™ 3D60H. GameDay Grass™, in an independent study at Michigan State University and funded by NFL Charities, was determined to perform more like natural grass than other synthetic surface tested.
It also features the innovative, fully-tested Horseshoe fiber. The Horseshoe shape, an Omega or “C”, with a dual-column design, imparts unrivaled mechanical memory to the fiber. The fiber remains “upright” longer. The Horseshoe fiber continues to spring back to its original configuration, providing players with a grass-like, uniform, predictable playing field.
An upright fiber has the best aesthetics and playability.
Fibers that tend to lay over, wear out sooner. The Horseshoe is thicker and stronger, not just at the spine. This creates a more durable field.
The Horseshoe fiber is made with the “XQ” polymer. It is tough, but not on athletes. The XQ polymer has been used successfully for years around the globe, and when in combination with proper field fiber density and infill height, has never failed. The same cannot be said for the many failures associated with non-QX polymer, “spined” field fields, especially in high UV areas.
Light is properly reflected, resulting in better looking field, both live an on film.
Ball roll is similar in performance to natural grass.
Low slide resistance is assured, eliminating rug burns.
Footing is uniform and predictable.
Cleats penetrate and “release” properly for good biomechanical function.
In addition to the strength of the fiber, the AstroTurf® 3D60H system features 60 ounces of fiber per square yard, the most of any synthetic surface.
Further enhancing the durability and safety of the field is the proprietary RootZone®, a dense sub-layer of nylon fibers which act as an infill stabilizer system to prevent migration and splash of the rubber granule infill.
Many collegiate and high school teams, as well as municipalities, are making the change to AstroTurf® baseball fields, all of which have the Major League Baseball endorsement. In addition to Toronto, some of those include Wichita State, Duke, Kansas, James Madison University, and Wake Forest.
“We are proud to be working with the Rays organization,” said Bryan Peeples, President of AstroTurf®. “Our hope is that this field will be a source of pride for players and fans and that the team excels at playing on such an incredible field.”