New infield grass at Turner Field designed to be slower

The new bright green infield grass at Turner Field is not just for show, though many have noticed the difference during the Braves’ first home stand of the season.

Braves head groundskeeper Ed Mangan planted a new kind of infield grass this season in the hopes of slowing it down for the sake of the Braves infielders. The Turner Field infield is known for being quick, and Mangan planted a thicker grass he hopes will remedy that.

Mangan said he’s been testing out a variety of grass called “paspalum” in the bullpen and center field sod farm, for a few years, and decided to try it out this season. He plans to use it only on the infield for now, but might eventually plant it in the outfield too.

Paspalum was originally found in sand dunes of South Africa, Mangan said, and is used on beach area golf courses because it can withstand a higher salt content in water. What makes it useful for the Braves is that it’s a little softer than the hybrid Bermuda “419” they’ve used for years.

“Just looking for something to take a little bit more speed out of the ball on the infield,” Mangan said. “So far so good. So we’ll see how it pans. But just walking on it, you can tell a big difference.”

Second baseman Dan Uggla said he could tell a difference walking on it – “It feels spongier,” he said – but not necessarily fielding groundballs.

“You can’t really tell that much difference in it,” Uggla said. “I think it may be a tad slower.”

Third baseman Chipper Jones, who’s been playing a lot longer on the infield at Turner Field, has noticed a difference.

“I like it,” Jones said. “It was a really fast infield. It was almost like playing on Astroturf sometimes. This will slow stuff down. It’ll take some steam off.”

21 comments Add your comment

VP

April 16th, 2012
7:41 pm

Anything to help the Braves win.

J-MAN

April 16th, 2012
8:02 pm

Can we use a humidifier like in colorado to keep Durbins pitches in the park

MikeY

April 16th, 2012
9:15 pm

Is the infield dirt different this year as well? Seems a darker shade of brown than in the past.

Don

April 16th, 2012
9:25 pm

It does look different. My complaint is that the lighter grass makes it more difficult to pickup the ball as it travels from the pitcher’s had to the plate. Especially on very fast pitches. I have been attending games for the past five or so years and this is the first time I have had this issue even through I am in the same seat. Guess they forgot the fans that are only paying for everything anyway, so who cares. :(

Ken Stallings

April 16th, 2012
10:12 pm

Dave, the grass is also expected ti withstand summer heat better. I kind of wish Mangan had just plated the grass on the whole field.

Pee Wee Coach

April 16th, 2012
10:24 pm

We play on dirt infields here in the pee wee leagues, only the outfield has grass….I struggle with outfielders letting balls by more than infielders, but if they were better maybe they would be playing infield….which is counter-intuitive since a ball that gets by an infielder is a hit and a ball that gets by an outfielder is a run, and…I have 6 people to patrol the dirt 1/3 of the field and only 3 people to field the grass 2/3 of the fair territory. Why don’t we pee wee coaches seem to learn?

Fastball

April 17th, 2012
8:20 am

I want Chipper to become a player/manager

Fastball

April 17th, 2012
8:21 am

Smoltz, pitching coach?

urban redneck

April 17th, 2012
10:35 am

greener grass tends to slow people down in general i think.

ab initio

April 17th, 2012
11:42 am

“Can we use a humidifier like in colorado to keep Durbins pitches in the park”

:D

Ralph

April 17th, 2012
2:51 pm

We need a hybrid grass with a switch so they can make it longer and softer when the opponents bat and switch it to short and hard when we bat.

Ralph

April 17th, 2012
2:53 pm

Sounds like they are admitting our defense sucks.

Chipper's Reality

April 18th, 2012
12:24 pm

When you have a senior citizen at the hot corner every little but helps.
Go Braves!

Billy Ray Valentine

April 18th, 2012
1:39 pm

Dear Don,

You’re right, the management team and Ed don’t give a hoot about whether or not you can see the ball when Kimbrell pitches or if your old eyes are having a hard time adjusting to new lighter shade of grass.
What they do care about is winning, and if a slower turf helps them win games (even 1 game) then it’s worth it. After all, didn’t they miss the playoffs last year by one game?

It’s all about winning. It’s a business.

Dawgdad (The Original)

April 18th, 2012
1:55 pm

That is kinda funny, run the same old team out there, but change the grass.

tim

April 18th, 2012
2:22 pm

Did Fulton county taxpayers pay for the new grass or did the Braves? And…what will the total costs be for the whole field…….

if it’s the taxpayers………we want our damn money back.

Alec

June 4th, 2012
9:37 am

What is the height of cut on the infield versus the outfield?

[...] that have been gripping Atlanta made the infield too dry and fast.  As a result, this year the grounds crew replaced the entire infield with a different turf capable of dealing with the climate extremes and slowing down the [...]

[...] with 5 years of drought on the infield grass. They finally had to replace it all. According to Braves beat writer Dave O’Brien, the new grass is designed to “slow down” the infield, thereby giving  fielders a better shot [...]

[...] with 5 years of drought on the infield grass. They finally had to replace it all. According to Braves beat writer Dave O’Brien, the new grass is designed to “slow down” the infield, thereby giving  fielders a [...]

Jerry

December 30th, 2012
11:17 pm

Mr. Ed Mangan
I think you and your crew do an awesome job to the field. Not many people understand what it takes to manage a field of that magnitude day in day and for TV. I have two fields I mange in very, very small town. I run approximately 120 games on them from February through July. This don’t even count all the practices. They take a beating are two of the best looking fields around. All that takes place here is on a zero budget field keep up. The one thing that I want really bad and I have looked everywhere for one but can’t afford most or either to far away to get to. That is 3 or 5 gang reel mower used that u may be ready get rid of. This would be used to take care of our softball , baseball , and football field for rec and school. I take care of school and recreation for all sports because school and town are the same kids. But if you have any means of help please let me know. Your field is beautiful and enjoy watching your field crew at work. Thank you

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