Evan Grant of the Dallas News reported that the Texas Rangers will open their new stadium—and it will have an artificial playing surface.
Last week the club announced a decision to go with a new synthetic product, manufactured by Shaw SportsTurf when Globe Life Field opens in 2020. The last stadium opened primarily for baseball with an artificial turf was Toronto’s Rogers Centre, which opened as SkyDome in 1989.
The Rangers believe the product, marketed as “B1K” (as in batting 1.000), will create a safer, more reliable playing field than if they tried to maintain grass in their new retractable-roof stadium. The announcement culminated nearly two years of sports science research into grass vs. next generation turf.
“I got involved in this study to make sure this was the best possible synthetic playing surface for our players to play on,” said Rangers senior medical director Jamie Reed, who oversaw the research. “I’m very confident this is going to be the best artificial playing surface in the game. It will be the safest for our players and for the fans. I’m really confident this is going to be a great product.”
The new surface will feature an organic “infill” of crushed coconut shells and sand instead of rubber pellets. It will feature a still-being-fine-tuned safety pad beneath and dirt in the basepaths. It is designed to make this artificial surface safer and more reliably playable than previous generations, perhaps even more consistent and reliable than grass. Or at least the kind of grass that could be grown in a retractable-roof stadium with a playing surface more than 70 feet below street level.
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