You may feel like you've entered an alternate dimension, one where nothing makes sense. But I promise you, we're still here on Earth -- the same one you've always known. The hot dogs are sizzling, baseball still features nine players to a team, but now? Well, now the field just
You may feel like you've entered an alternate dimension, one where nothing makes sense. But I promise you, we're still here on Earth -- the same one you've always known. The hot dogs are sizzling, baseball still features nine players to a team, but now? Well, now the field just may be blue.
At least, that's the case for Parish Episcopal, a private high school in Dallas.
Yes, this does have "I've hit my head very hard and I need to get to a doctor," vibes, but I assure you, it appears as it should. This was all by design.
The school can be seen as flights come in and out of Dallas' Love Field airport, so they wanted to do something to make it stand out even more. And since the football field was already blue, well, now it was time to make the baseball field blue, too.
"Their [Athletic Director] used to be assistant baseball coach at Kansas, so he probably saw the expression on my face when he said, "Can we do it blue?'" said Wayne Poage of Symmetry Turf, who installed the field. “I said, 'Hey it’s your field. You can do whatever you want.'"
So, after getting permission from Boise State -- who owns the trademark for blue fields (yes, really), Poage got to work.
He spent the next 45 days laser-grading the field and laying down limestone to turn the old grass field into the new Cookie Monster-esque surface. Shockingly, it doesn't seem to impact the players.
"It’s obviously unconventional, but I like it, it looks nice," Poage said. "They've had no problems. They've been practicing on it and they say it's just like green grass. They have no issues whatsoever."
Well, maybe not just like green grass.
This blue field will always be blue, too. It won't matter if there's wind or rain or snow or sun baking down on it. Why? Because it's not paint -- something that I originally thought. Rather, the turf is manufactured to be blue. (Get ready: All you've ever wanted to know about turf, you're about to find out.)
"We have a whole line of colors you can pick from," Aaron Klotz, who heads up the baseball and softball divisions of AstroTurf (he also coaches at Division III Adrian College). "It’s made down in our headquarters in Dalton, Ga., and it's manufactured with the colors in the quantities that are needed to do a baseball field. There’s no painting whatsoever: Batter's boxes, foul lines, there’s a logo in center field -- all that is synthetic turf and it’s cut and glued into the turf. It’s permanent. There’s no painting needed."
If you thought that every turf was the same as the next -- that the one the Blue Jays play on, or the one that Vanderbilt University uses is the same as this one -- well, you'd be right and wrong. They're both the same material, but can be customized in an endless number of ways to the specifications of the coach or team.
"We can hit some ground balls and see the speed of the ball," Klotz said. "If the coach or the client doesn’t think it’s fast enough, we can add more sand. If he wants it a little bit slower, we can add more rubber. We have the ability to use those two components -- it’s not a cookie cutter -- we put the turf down and then when we put the sand or rubber there, it’s the icing on the cake. We can do what the coach wants."
While this is the first blue baseball field we've seen, don't expect a bunch of random colors to pop up too soon.
"I’ve seen some people that want to mimic their school colors on the field," Klotz said. "We’ve done some consulting with some potential customers. But at the end of the day, [Parish Episcopal's field] is a very different one. It’s awesome, it’s unique. But the traditionalists in baseball are sticking with the green and dark brown."
Michael Clair writes for MLB.com. He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.