Experience with Baseball Field Construction
posted on June 3rd 2005 by Troy Frazier
When a school or community goes to build a new baseball field, they rarely understand the importance of certain details. Normally new baseball fields coincide with school levees or new community parks. Members of the community and the people voting on the school levees are going to be looking at that field as their children play on it for hours. If the field looks bad --or worse yet-- isn't playable, the public will be very disappointed with how their money is being spent. The following article acts as a perfect example of how a new baseball field construction can go horribly wrong.
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I found the above story on the web. This community is too far away for Frazier's Field Repair to help, but we hear this story from some community in Ohio every year. I sent an e-mail to the author of this piece to ask for his consent for its use, and did not hear back from him. Hopefully I've correctly cited the piece. I choose to repost the piece here in case the link gets moved to an archive. (update: it has been archived and removed now.)
The first step in avoiding disaster is to involve baseball coaches in the construction of the field. Coaches are the ones that will spend nights away from their family keeping the field in shape, and they are the ones with the experience and knowledge needed to get a new baseball field going. From the beginning to the end one or more coaches should be asked about every detail that goes into the new baseball field. Do not trust that the construction company and their architect will know what they are doing.
The next thing to consider is the construction company. Construction companies think a baseball field is a simple job, and give it very little attention. As the above article says, "The way the field was designed; it was like it was an afterthought or just half thought out." That is exactly how most construction companies view a baseball field. Most baseball fields are built as part of a larger construction project like building a new school. The first thing to check is whether or not the construction company has built a new baseball field before. If they have, call the administrator of that field, and inquire about their work. If you can't get a good reference for their field work, insist on the job being subcontracted to a company that has experience with athletic fields.
Ideally you should have a company that specializes in athletic fields do the work on a new baseball field, or at least offer consulting on the architect's baseball field plans. Companies like Frazier's Field Repair think about baseball fields all year, and that's what it takes to get a proper field. It's not as simple as it looks, or as most construction companies think. About a quarter of all the work Frazier's Field Repair does is correcting the work of construction companies that think all they need to do is cut out some grass somewhere around the school.
Now that you have a team of people that know what needs to be done, you are much more likely to get what you want in the end.
Good Playing Conditions