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Q&A: What are those sand sprays on Tropicana Field's turf?

Sand splashes at the Trop

I notice that every time a ball hits the turf in the outfield at Tropicana Field it creates a spray of something light-colored. Could this be sand used as a cushion for the turf? I've never noticed it on any of the fields in other stadiums.

Rick Vaughn, vice president of communications for the Rays, said "the in-fill mix on the AstroTurf is sand and rubber. The rubber is applied first and the sand over the top, just like top-dressing natural grass. The sand will eventually work its way into the rubber and create less of a splash."

Team provides Rays' uniforms

The Tampa Bay Rays seem to mess up a lot of uniforms. How many uniforms is each player provided? Do players pay for uniforms? How do they clean those messed-up uniforms while on an extended road trip?

Again, we turned to Rick Vaughn, vice president of communications for the Rays, for an answer.

He tells us that every Rays player gets two of the following uniforms:

• Home (white)

• Away (gray)

• Batting practice

• Dark blue tops

• Light blue tops

The players do not pay for them; the team provides them. The team also provides the "throwback" uniforms that the players wear on special occasions.

Each Major League Baseball stadium has laundry facilities available, and the Rays' clubhouse staff washes the uniforms, home and away.

Who's that behind home plate?

My mother has noticed a couple who sits in the front row behind home plate at every Rays home game. She was wondering who they are, and if they are related to a Rays player.

We believe you're referring to Jack and Mary Critchfield, who have had seats just to the left of homeplate (as viewed from the centerfield camera) since the Rays started playing in 1998.

Dr. Jack Critchfield was the former CEO of Florida Progress Corp. (parent of Florida Power) before it was sold to Progress Energy.

And he played a key role in helping bring a Major League Baseball franchise to St. Petersburg.

Critchfield also has the honor of having a ballpark named after him, at his college alma mater, Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. You can read about it on the college website:

And you can read this 2008 St. Petersburg Times story about the Critchfields and other season ticket holders:

Q&A: What are those sand sprays on Tropicana Field's turf? 09/19/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2011 5:26pm]
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