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Xraf
12-02-2013, 06:53 AM
If you were building a new youth baseball field what features would you make sure you put in?

baseball007
12-02-2013, 07:00 AM
The ability to have both 60 and 70 foot bases.

Proper dirt mix on the mound and home plate (this should be different than normal infield dirt).

Recessed dugouts (yeah it's not a must but the kids LOVE it)

$tinky
12-02-2013, 07:05 AM
Dugouts that were not so easily accessible by parents.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 07:07 AM
If you were building a new youth baseball field what features would you make sure you put in?

Lights, 300' fence, the ability to handle all levels from 46/60 - 60/90, bleachers that are nowhere near the dugout, sunken dugouts so 'good intentioned" parents can't talk to their kids, 2 sets of batting cages that could be used year round,irrigation system,snack bar with announcers booth ...

The Uncoach
12-02-2013, 07:20 AM
Synthetic turf on the entire field. . .minimizes rainouts.

Bedhead514
12-02-2013, 08:15 AM
Artificial turf playing surface is a must. Field can be made playable in 15-20min after a very hard rain.

daque
12-02-2013, 08:43 AM
Lights, 300' fence, the ability to handle all levels from 46/60 - 60/90, bleachers that are nowhere near the dugout, sunken dugouts so 'good intentioned" parents can't talk to their kids, 2 sets of batting cages that could be used year round,irrigation system,snack bar with announcers booth ...

How would you do this on the same field?

scorekeeper
12-02-2013, 08:49 AM
How would you do this on the same field?

You beat me to it! ;)

The only way to do it without making the field “goofy”, is to use a skinned IF and portable mounds. I have no problem with that, but lots of people do.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 09:26 AM
You beat me to it! ;)

The only way to do it without making the field “goofy”, is to use a skinned IF and portable mounds. I have no problem with that, but lots of people do.

Yep, the skinned IF isn't ideal but if you went with artificial turf it wouldn't matter. Some of the portable mounds today are very good and they are zero maintenance for the most part. I get tired of fixing the mound in between innings because the pitchers plant holes aren't the same!

scorekeeper
12-02-2013, 09:37 AM
Yep, the skinned IF isn't ideal but if you went with artificial turf it wouldn't matter.

How so? Seems to me that someone would be pulling or and putting down the fake turf every time there was a field change.


Some of the portable mounds today are very good and they are zero maintenance for the most part. I get tired of fixing the mound in between innings because the pitchers plant holes aren't the same!

You’re correct. There are a lot of good products out there. Trouble is, there’s always going to need to be some jockeying with the mound because each size field requires a different mound height. Its not an insurmountable issue, but its an issue none-the-less.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 09:46 AM
How so? Seems to me that someone would be pulling or and putting down the fake turf every time there was a field change.



You’re correct. There are a lot of good products out there. Trouble is, there’s always going to need to be some jockeying with the mound because each size field requires a different mound height. Its not an insurmountable issue, but its an issue none-the-less.

SK, we got to a play a couple games this Spring on one of the new fields that Cal Ripken is donating around the country. It was artificial turf everywhere. Even the infield and around homeplate and the backstop were covered in brown colored turf. It used a portable mound and the distances were clearly marked which made set up quick and easy. One of the nicest fields I've ever been on at the youth level. The kids loved it and there wasn't a bad hop to be had anywhere.
Very fast field though like those in the 70's that rewarded hard hit grounders.

daque
12-02-2013, 10:12 AM
A skinned infield but instead of a portable mound, relocate the home plate. Of course that means multiple foul poles which would not be necessary with a portable mound. How well do they hold up?

scorekeeper
12-02-2013, 10:26 AM
SK, we got to a play a couple games this Spring on one of the new fields that Cal Ripken is donating around the country. It was artificial turf everywhere. Even the infield and around homeplate and the backstop were covered in brown colored turf. It used a portable mound and the distances were clearly marked which made set up quick and easy. One of the nicest fields I've ever been on at the youth level. The kids loved it and there wasn't a bad hop to be had anywhere.
Very fast field though like those in the 70's that rewarded hard hit grounders.

I have to play just a bit of the Devil’s Advocate here. I had the unfortunate experience of helping maintain a field like that, and while it was beautiful and a true joy when it was new, it was a maintenance nightmare. Many people believe that turf in indestructible and lasts forever, and its just not true. After less than 100 games, we found we had to start replacing turf.

It started after less than 50 games with the areas around home plate and the 1st base line. Next came the area around 1st base, followed by the F6 and F4 areas. By the time we had to mess with the F5 area, we had to redo the home plate and 1st base line again. Now it may be that the company originally installing it was poor, but as far as I know the same materials used on the CR fields was used.

I also have to say that the board in charge of that field was a bunch of jerks. They wanted the field PERFECT for every play of every game, and spent tons of $$$$$$ to do that. I stopped after less than a year because it was fruitless trying to get uses of the field to do the things necessary to keep it nice. I was a volunteer and not willing to donate 15-20 of my time every week to monitor what was going on, along with the sweeping, blowing, hosing, and other things necessary to keep the field pure.

I sincerely hope your experience is much different, but I’m not sure that the state of the art of the products available is quite ready for the constant use of baseball, where there’s always a player in much the same place over and over, and using the high use areas like base paths.

BTW, we had an average of 5 games a day on the thing over the course of that 1st year, and that’s a lot of use.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 10:28 AM
A skinned infield but instead of a portable mound, relocate the home plate. Of course that means multiple foul poles which would not be necessary with a portable mound. How well do they hold up?

The better ones which cost in the thousands$$$$ hold up very well. But they are HEAVY. Takes 5 or 6 guys to move them around.

BBSG
12-02-2013, 10:30 AM
Lights, for sure.
Dugouts where the parents cannot get close to them, for sure.
Turf? No way. I have seen what it can do to uniform pants. Plus, that's not baseball. Give me grass and an excellent drainage system.
Gotta have bullpens and near by batting cages.
Something overhead on the grandstands so that the parents don't fry in the sun or get soaked in the rain.
A backstop that's not so close where it's impossible to score from 3B on a WP or PB...but not so far away that it's a gimmie to score on a WP or PB.
Scoreboard that gives runs per inning as opposed to just total runs per team.
Position the field so that the setting sun does not get in the eyes of the first baseman trying to take a throw from an infielder, or in the eyes of the pitcher, batter or catcher.
A separate and fenced in on-deck area next to the dugout. (Yes, I know, on deck bat swinging is not allowed in LL.)
Foul lines clearing marked in the outfield.
Dugouts large enough for kids to hang their equipment bags without blocking views from the bench.
That's what I can quickly think of... :cool:

Xraf
12-02-2013, 10:42 AM
Does a warning track make anyone's list? Not so necessary?

Rolling screen(s) for warm up?
One thing so many coaches want to do is have their players hit soft toss into the backstop. This curls the fence and ruins it. I wish I knew of a good alternative.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 10:42 AM
I have to play just a bit of the Devil’s Advocate here. I had the unfortunate experience of helping maintain a field like that, and while it was beautiful and a true joy when it was new, it was a maintenance nightmare. Many people believe that turf in indestructible and lasts forever, and its just not true. After less than 100 games, we found we had to start replacing turf.

It started after less than 50 games with the areas around home plate and the 1st base line. Next came the area around 1st base, followed by the F6 and F4 areas. By the time we had to mess with the F5 area, we had to redo the home plate and 1st base line again. Now it may be that the company originally installing it was poor, but as far as I know the same materials used on the CR fields was used.

I also have to say that the board in charge of that field was a bunch of jerks. They wanted the field PERFECT for every play of every game, and spent tons of $$$$$$ to do that. I stopped after less than a year because it was fruitless trying to get uses of the field to do the things necessary to keep it nice. I was a volunteer and not willing to donate 15-20 of my time every week to monitor what was going on, along with the sweeping, blowing, hosing, and other things necessary to keep the field pure.

I sincerely hope your experience is much different, but I’m not sure that the state of the art of the products available is quite ready for the constant use of baseball, where there’s always a player in much the same place over and over, and using the high use areas like base paths.

BTW, we had an average of 5 games a day on the thing over the course of that 1st year, and that’s a lot of use.

I agree totally. I'm a golf course superintendent so believe me I'm all for natural turf. I've also installed artificial turf at couple of indoor sports facilities. I will say the technology has gotten a lot better but all the headaches you mention still exist. It just may take a little longer than before to see the wear.

I think we need to ask the OP what is the main purpose for this "field of dreams!"

I'm always looking for fields that can "grow" with the kids instead of a single use field say at 46/60 or 60/90 only.
But 46/60 & 50/70 fields can easily have grassed IF and play well at both levels.

baseball007
12-02-2013, 10:47 AM
Turf? No way. I have seen what it can do to uniform pants. Plus, that's not baseball. Give me grass and an excellent drainage system.


5-10 years ago I would absolutely agree, but with technology now I have changed my stance on this. FieldTurf is being installed on numerous elite level fields throughout the country. High D1 programs like Vandy, Louisville, Texas, Oregon State, and Creighton come to mind. This stuff replicates highly maintained professional level fields pretty good. It's not like the Astroturf of old that had no infill material and was like concrete. Our indoor facility has it and I love it. We are going to install it on our playing fields this spring.

daque
12-02-2013, 10:52 AM
I agree totally. I'm a golf course superintendent so believe me I'm all for natural turf. I've also installed artificial turf at couple of indoor sports facilities. I will say the technology has gotten a lot better but all the headaches you mention still exist. It just may take a little longer than before to see the wear.

I think we need to ask the OP what is the main purpose for this "field of dreams!"

I'm always looking for fields that can "grow" with the kids instead of a single use field say at 46/60 or 60/90 only.
But 46/60 & 50/70 fields can easily have grassed IF and play well at both levels.

We had a field tat was both 54/80 and 60/90 and a grass infield. Mound was permanent but there were two home plates. one covered with dirt during the game. No problems for catcher or umpire. The thing that looked odd was the width of the 1st & 3rd base paths which played (functioned) well. Two different colored foul poles, one taller than the other.

Trying to get smaller fields on this one would mean giving up the grass infield. But we had three fields for munchkin ball.

daque
12-02-2013, 10:54 AM
5-10 years ago I would absolutely agree, but with technology now I have changed my stance on this. FieldTurf is being installed on numerous elite level fields throughout the country. High D1 programs like Vandy, Louisville, Texas, Oregon State, and Creighton come to mind. This stuff replicates highly maintained professional level fields pretty good. It's not like the Astroturf of old that had no infill material and was like concrete. Our indoor facility has it and I love it. We are going to install it on our playing fields this spring.

From a financial perspective how does compare to a well drained grass field?

Xraf
12-02-2013, 10:54 AM
I think we need to ask the OP what is the main purpose for this "field of dreams!"

As a Little League we own our own complex. 13 fields in all for baseball and softball. 1 of the 13 fields is a 90ft base-path field, 1 is a 50/70 field.

If everything went as planned we should get a report tonight from the fundraising consultant to tell us how much $$$ we can raise to revamp the complex. If he thinks we can raise full funds then 13 fields get torn out and 14 new fields get put in. If we can't raise full funds then 13 fields get revamped.

The Uncoach
12-02-2013, 10:59 AM
I have to play just a bit of the Devil’s Advocate here. I had the unfortunate experience of helping maintain a field like that, and while it was beautiful and a true joy when it was new, it was a maintenance nightmare. Many people believe that turf in indestructible and lasts forever, and its just not true. After less than 100 games, we found we had to start replacing turf.

It started after less than 50 games with the areas around home plate and the 1st base line. Next came the area around 1st base, followed by the F6 and F4 areas. By the time we had to mess with the F5 area, we had to redo the home plate and 1st base line again. Now it may be that the company originally installing it was poor, but as far as I know the same materials used on the CR fields was used.

I also have to say that the board in charge of that field was a bunch of jerks. They wanted the field PERFECT for every play of every game, and spent tons of $$$$$$ to do that. I stopped after less than a year because it was fruitless trying to get uses of the field to do the things necessary to keep it nice. I was a volunteer and not willing to donate 15-20 of my time every week to monitor what was going on, along with the sweeping, blowing, hosing, and other things necessary to keep the field pure.

I sincerely hope your experience is much different, but I’m not sure that the state of the art of the products available is quite ready for the constant use of baseball, where there’s always a player in much the same place over and over, and using the high use areas like base paths.

BTW, we had an average of 5 games a day on the thing over the course of that 1st year, and that’s a lot of use.Out of curiosity, SK, what types of shoes were allowed on the turf? Metal spikes?

baseball007
12-02-2013, 11:06 AM
From a financial perspective how does compare to a well drained grass field?

That's a good question. This was the way it was pitched to us from the proponent group. Keep in mind we are a Cal Ripken league, 50/70 field with 225' OF fence.

It's going to cost $130k to do the infield only. $5-10k per year to maintain. FieldTurf uses a 8 year warranty but they claim so far most have lasted 10+ (keep in mind it hasn't been around much longer).

Currently on our natural grass setup, we are spending $5k every other year to re-sod the infield. And close to $20k per year on field conditioner and chemicals. The outfield will still be grass but we only re-sod the three wore spots and use much less and weaker chems.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 11:07 AM
As a Little League we own our own complex. 13 fields in all for baseball and softball. 1 of the 13 fields is a 90ft base-path field, 1 is a 50/70 field.

If everything went as planned we should get a report tonight from the fundraising consultant to tell us how much $$$ we can raise to revamp the complex. If he thinks we can raise full funds then 13 fields get torn out and 14 new fields get put in. If we can't raise full funds then 13 fields get revamped.

Then I wouldn't go with artificial turf because within 10yrs you will have to do them again and I would imagine this is a long term investment for your LL. I think in the very near future LL is going to have to go 50/70 for 11&12yr olds so I would keep that in mind when redoing the fields. May want to make all of them capable of expansion.

baseball007
12-02-2013, 11:12 AM
Out of curiosity, SK, what types of shoes were allowed on the turf? Metal spikes?

Yes you can use anything from tennis shoes to metal. Some facilities have a local rule against metal but Fieldturf says it's fine.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 11:12 AM
That's a good question. This was the way it was pitched to us from the proponent group. Keep in mind we are a Cal Ripken league, 50/70 field with 225' OF fence.

It's going to cost $130k to do the infield only. $5-10k per year to maintain. FieldTurf uses a 8 year warranty but they claim so far most have lasted 10+ (keep in mind it hasn't been around much longer).

Currently we are spending $5k every other year to re-sod the infield. And close to $20k per year on field conditioner and chemicals. The outfield will still be grass but we only re-sod the three wore spots and use much less and weaker chems.
Why are you re-sodding every other year? Do you not have irrigation?
If you were to use a mixture of bluegrass/fescue and maintained it properly it shouldn't go bad like that.

baseball007
12-02-2013, 11:22 AM
Why are you re-sodding every other year? Do you not have irrigation?
If you were to use a mixture of bluegrass/fescue and maintained it properly it shouldn't go bad like that.

It was at one time bluegrass and fescue. We inexplicably went to bermuda a few years ago and it's been a nightmare.

We have a few problems...we are a very very popular and competitive league. Our field for major division gets tons and tons of use. It's hard to maintain, especially in drought conditions...and quite frankly, we have volunteers that are 1) lazy, and 2) uninformed when it comes to proper maintenance.

Nemosupremo
12-02-2013, 11:33 AM
It was at one time bluegrass and fescue. We inexplicably went to bermuda a few years ago and it's been a nightmare.

We have a few problems...we are a very very popular and competitive league. Our field for major division gets tons and tons of use. It's hard to maintain, especially in drought conditions...and quite frankly, we have volunteers that are 1) lazy, and 2) uninformed when it comes to proper maintenance.

Fieldturf might just be your best option then as long as everyone is aware that it is a 10yr investment. The stuff is nice to play on but most people don't realize that it still needs to be watered on a regular basis and also needs to be treated regularly for the prevention of bacteria. Also chewing gum can be a mAjor headache especially after it melts into the turf on 100 degree days!

scorekeeper
12-02-2013, 11:53 AM
5-10 years ago I would absolutely agree, but with technology now I have changed my stance on this. FieldTurf is being installed on numerous elite level fields throughout the country. High D1 programs like Vandy, Louisville, Texas, Oregon State, and Creighton come to mind. This stuff replicates highly maintained professional level fields pretty good. It's not like the Astroturf of old that had no infill material and was like concrete. Our indoor facility has it and I love it. We are going to install it on our playing fields this spring.

Thereís no doubt the new Artificial turf is great in a one team situation. Heck, in a high use year a college program may play 100 games on its home field. When you talk 100+ games a month, things donít pan out quite so well. Another thing I wasnít aware of until I asked, was its quite normal to have to replace AT every 5th year. UT can afford to do that, but Podunk Valley might find it difficult to come up with the $250-500K every 5th year.

The Uncoach
12-02-2013, 11:58 AM
Yes you can use anything from tennis shoes to metal. Some facilities have a local rule against metal but Fieldturf says it's fine.We ran into that this past season. There was a tournament location that previously had allowed metal spikes and they mut have concluded that the metal spikes were what tore up their synth turf. Metal not allowed. Frankly even tennis shoes worked pretty well on that stuff.

scorekeeper
12-02-2013, 12:04 PM
Out of curiosity, SK, what types of shoes were allowed on the turf? Metal spikes?

The RULE was tennis shoes or Turf shoes only. But I caught both coaches and kids using metal and plastic cleats, soccer spikes, football spikes, and all sorts of street shoes, including several team moms going into the dugouts, which meant crossing at least part of the field, wearing spike heels! We had one jerk who went to one of the adjacent fields to get a drag, then actually tried to drag the area that simulated infield dirt!

Iím not saying it was a lot of people who did that sort of thing, but it doesnít take much real abuse to do damage, and with the number of people using that field, believe me, it was a problem. On the other hand, a local JUCO converted about 5 years ago and its still absolutely beautiful, but only a very few special games get played on it other than the schoolís team.

scorekeeper
12-02-2013, 12:09 PM
It was at one time bluegrass and fescue. We inexplicably went to bermuda a few years ago and it's been a nightmare.

We have a few problems...we are a very very popular and competitive league. Our field for major division gets tons and tons of use. It's hard to maintain, especially in drought conditions...and quite frankly, we have volunteers that are 1) lazy, and 2) uninformed when it comes to proper maintenance.

It doesn’t matter if the field is concrete if there’s a lot of use. :(

omg
12-02-2013, 05:29 PM
If money is not an issue then it's turf. No ifs, and, or buts about that for so many different reasons.

TXDAD
12-02-2013, 05:38 PM
Irrigation is a must. I have seen some really nice looking fields where irrigation was not considered. It didn't take long for the fields to take a serious nose dive.

Roothog66
12-03-2013, 11:09 AM
Dugouts that were not so easily accessible by parents.

One of my favorite fields to coach on is in Pueblo, CO where there are fences set up that require the fans to all sit in bleachers in the outfield. You simply can't get any closer. Sure made coaching a lot less stressful.

TXDAD
12-03-2013, 02:53 PM
One of my favorite fields to coach on is in Pueblo, CO where there are fences set up that require the fans to all sit in bleachers in the outfield. You simply can't get any closer. Sure made coaching a lot less stressful.

There is a place south of Austin, TX that has the field gated off via walls that completely isolates the dugouts. The seating section is in the outfield. I've seen parents desperately try and peek over the wall to yell at their kids.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/04/ma4apagu.jpg

sunderB
12-03-2013, 03:42 PM
A backstop that's not so close where it's impossible to score from 3B on a WP or PB...but not so far away that it's a gimmie to score on a WP or PB.

I really wish MLB would do this. Plays at the plate are exciting, and it still puts a little premium on speed and quality secondary leads and a good read. I hate that someone like Prince Fielder or Big Papi can litterally walk home from 3rd on a wild pitch. I understand you need to punish the pitchers for the wild pitch, but it is so boring and could add so much more to a game.

Xraf
12-04-2013, 01:28 PM
Why are these fields set up like this? Lack of room? and the outfield seating is just a nice happenstance for the coaches.


One of my favorite fields to coach on is in Pueblo, CO where there are fences set up that require the fans to all sit in bleachers in the outfield. You simply can't get any closer. Sure made coaching a lot less stressful.


There is a place south of Austin, TX that has the field gated off via walls that completely isolates the dugouts. The seating section is in the outfield. I've seen parents desperately try and peek over the wall to yell at their kids.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/04/ma4apagu.jpg

Xraf
12-04-2013, 01:30 PM
Well the fundraising consultant isn't finished with his interviews so it looks like we'll be waiting a little longer for his report.

Jake Patterson
12-04-2013, 01:42 PM
There is a place south of Austin, TX that has the field gated off via walls that completely isolates the dugouts. The seating section is in the outfield. I've seen parents desperately try and peek over the wall to yell at their kids.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/12/04/ma4apagu.jpg

Love it! .