CLEARWATER — Astroturf being installed in the Jack Russell Stadium Complex is not only an upgrade — it's historic.
After getting a new field this year, the Tampa Bay Rays donated the old Astroturf played on since 2011 at Tropicana Field to Jack Russell Stadium.
The donation replaces Jack Russell's 20-year-old turf.
"Because of the generous donation from the Tampa Bay Rays, our youth, as well as the Clearwater High School baseball team and St. Petersburg College baseball team, will be able to train on the same field that major-league baseball players have played on over the past six seasons," Mayor George Cretekos said in a statement.
Jack Russell Field, the former spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is undergoing renovations for new locker rooms, new batting cages, new bleachers and more. The field is now home to the Clearwater High School and St. Petersburg College baseball teams.
"The Rays are glad that this turf will have a second life in our community, growing the tradition and love of baseball and sharing a part of the Rays way with the city of Clearwater," said Bill Wiener Jr., Rays vice president of Employee and Community Development.