This story is an update to the previous story I wrote about the new field.
After numerous trips out to SRF I finally was able to catch Diamondbacks live infield on the new turf practice infield. I can report that there definitely is some spray that occurs. It is most noticeable when a ball is hit sharply down into the turf out in front between Home Plate and the Pitchers Mound. However it does not splash high, just a few inches above the ground and the splash is very tightly contained around the impact area, it is not a wide splash. If the ball is a two hopper and the second hop also hits with some velocity downwards closer to the edge of the grass you can still see some splash but it is less pronounced. When the ball travels at a flatter angle and the first hop is towards the edge of the grass, you can’t really see much if any splash at all. It’s not all that different then the dirt splash you would see on a natural grass field.
The key takeaway for me is positive. Some splashing was inevitable. Where there is infill, there is splashing. But this is not the high, wide swath splash you see on older turf fields filled with rubber pellets. It’s much smaller and contained.
More importantly the ball bounces and rolls true on this field from what I can tell. It’s impossible for me to say if it plays fast or slow, only time will tell. But the ball is not skipping or scooting like it does on older turfs. It really looks as if it plays like real grass.
Asked about the turf last Saturday, Torey Lovullo had the following to say:
“I have not had a chance to watch as much of it as I’d like to. We typically are over on the other side of the facility this time of the year, until we branch off and start to do our thing and the entire player development group is here. I’ll probably have more input once I get that feedback from the guys. A few guys have said that it plays normal. It might be a little slower than a typical turf field, and more aligned with a natural surface. So that’s good news to hear. And then there are some different things that we are just tweaking here to make it play the way we want to. I know the field is going in at Chase as we speak and I’m anxious to get on to it. I want to see what it plays like and see what if feels like. I’ve been told that it feels very good and normal like a natural surface, and that’s what we’re all after”
I came away from today’s workout feeling much more confident in the decision by the team to install this turf. They are going to save a lot of water and energy. They won’t need to open the roof during the hot summer days, reducing their footprint tremendously. From a player evaluation standpoint we still have a long way to go to see how it affects them. But so far, the players seem to really like it, and there has been no negative feedback.
I’ll look forward to revisiting this topic during the regular season after we have seen some actual games on it.