Sunday, March 20, 2016




The information in this document is provided as a general reference guide for the maintenance of a baseball field or facility. Professional and international baseball federations and organizations follow similar guidelines pertaining to the dimensions and needs for baseball field development. The information provided in this document should be used only as a resource in the development of a baseball playing field; this information does not represent the only means and methods of baseball field development.

Tarpaulins, also known as tarps, are used for several purposes – to protect the field from rain and to retain moisture in the mound and home plate areas when the field is not in use. In the event of rain, the mound and home plate areas should be covered as quickly as possible. A heavy plastic cover, at least 6 mm in thickness, or nylon cover is suggested. The tarp should be as heavy as possible to keep the tarp on the ground during high winds. The tarp should be large enough to just overlap the grass by approximately eight inches.
Mow a Field

The mowing of the infield and outfield grass should be completed based on the grass growing heights. A rule of thumb is mow no more than one-third of the blade of grass at any given time. Mowing the grass more than one-third at a time can result in discoloration or “scalping” of the turf, or cutting the turf too low. The following chart provides the suggested heights of common types of grasses.

Turf Mowing Maintenance

There are two types of mowers available to cut the field: 1) rotary, and 2) reel
mowers. The most common type of mower is a rotary mower. Rotary mowers
are used primarily on residential lawns. Reel mowers are more specialized and are used on higher maintenance facilitates like golf courses and athletic fields. These mowers require additional training to operate properly. Reel mowers are used to provide better quality
cutting and allows very low cutting heights. These mowers also have striping capabilities, as shown in the following photos.

Maintain the Base Paths
It is best to maintain as much of the base paths by hand as possible. Use a drag that is narrower than the width of the base paths. Make sure that the drag does not overlap the grass area to prevent the formation of a “lip” or ridge at the edge of the grass. Prior to raking the base path, remove any white chalk material with a shovel. This will keep the clay more stable and not cause a hump, or raised area, down in the middle of the baseline. Rakes should also be used on the base paths. When raking the base paths, do not rake across the path, but go up and down the baseline. Raking across the path can cause a low spot to develop down the middle of the path. Weeds in the base paths, as shown in the photo above, should be removed by hand.
Grass Selection

Selecting the type of turf needed is partially determined by geographic location. Fields located in northern U.S. use cool season turfs such as Bluegrass, fescues and rye grasses. In the southern U.S., Bermuda-type turf and Zoyzias grasses are commonly used. In Europe, Pos type turfs are used. Determining the best grass for the area is as simple calling the local agricultural or agronomic school. Thousands of varieties of grasses are available, but all grasses can be categorized in the groups noted above. No one type of grass is perfect, but there are some excellent grasses adapted to fit nearly all conditions.

Turf must have the following nutrients in order to grow and heal after wear and tear: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The formula for the accurate amounts of these products should be determined by having a soil analysis completed by an agronomic agency specializing in the evaluation of athletic turf grasses. All athletic turf should have an application of a complete balanced fertilizer throughout the year.
Field Lighting
When considering field lighting, remember that the addition of field lighting will
result in greater usage of the field and more time and funding required for ongoing field maintenance and renovations. However, if field usage is managed properly, with time allowed during the season to rest the field, field lighting can be a useful addition to the field and the programs that utilize the field. If funding allows, the installation of field lights (or the required electrical infrastructure for the future installation of field lights)
during the initial field construction stage is highly recommended.
Each field will need three bases, three base plugs and a clean-out tool to clear any soils that may enter the base anchors. First, second and third bases are 15 inches square, and cannot be taller than 3 inches. The Hollywood style base, as shown in the photo on the right, has been accepted as the base to use for baseball throughout the U.S. This style of base is tough, durable, convenient to handle and can be permanently located on the field. There is
no slipping of the base, which makes it very safe. The base can be cleaned and painted prior to each event to provide a professional appearance to the field. This type of base does not require spikes or straps. Strap down bases have been ruled as unsafe in some tournaments.

Dugouts are used to protect the players from inclement weather and to provide an area where they can rest while the opposing team is in the field. Typicaldugout structures should be designed to hold a roster of 20 players plus coaches. This would require a dugout
to be at least 60 feet long. Some dugouts are totally enclosed while some may have a low fence in front of the dugout, which is highly recommended. This will help to protect the players in the dugout from foul balls and thrown bats. Some dugouts are actually sunken into the earth by 2 or  steps. This is not required but does provide a more traditional setting. The dugout can be built at field level. The floor of the dugout must be covered with some type of rubber material to provide safe footing to players wearing metal cleats.

Outfield Fencing

In most cases, fencing for the “perimeter of the field of play” is composed of chain link fencing. For higher level of play, the outfield fencing is padded with 3- inch thick foam. This provides the player with a sense of security allowing him or her to pursue difficult plays without the threat of being injured. The average height of outfield fencing is 8 feet; however, 4-6 foot fencing is often used on recreational fields. Protective fence cap, as shown in the photos on this page, is also installed on chain link fencing on recreational fields for player safety. This product is made of plastic and is attached to the top of the

Dugouts with roofs
provide players
protection from
the sun.

Coaches’ Boxes
There are two coaches’ boxes on the field: one for third base and one for first base. The coaches’ boxes are marked with a white line. It is better to paint this line than use white chalk or lime. The first and third base coaches stand in these areas. The box is located 15 feet from the foul line in foul territory. The box is 20 feet long and the sides of the box are 10 feet long. The box is closed in the back, toward the baseline fencing, as shown in the photo on the left.
Foul Poles
Foul poles indicate the foul territory of the outfield field. However, despite the name, a ball hitting a foul pole is considered fair. These poles are normally 30 feet high and have 2 foot wing attached to the fair side of the pole. The proper location of each foul pole is identified by using a transit to find a perfect 90 degree angle with the apex of home plate. Each foul pole will be inside this angle, in the left and right field corners of the field. Poles are located
off the field of play and behind the outfield fence. In some cases, the foul poles are a part

Warning Track Materials
The warning track can be made from a variety of materials. It can be made of a rubberised
material and poured onto asphalt or constructed using red crushed brick material and or
shell rock. The goal is to ensure the warning track material is different in color and texture than the playing field surface. It is also important that the warning track material is a stone or aggregate material that is consistent in size and meets certain specifications. For example, stone used in warning track material should be no larger than 3/8ths of an inch, as shown in the photo below.
Portable Batting Cages
A portable batting cage structure is normally 10 feet high, 20 feet wide and 20 feet deep. It
is igloo-shaped (or arched) and is constructed with 2-inch aluminium tubing covered with
foam padding for safety of the players inside the batting cage. The structure is usually built
with three wheels. One wheel swivels to direct the cage and the other two are stationary. The cage is rolled and positioned very close to the field turf with no more that 3 inches between the lower rail and the grass; therefore, moving it across the field requires a smooth access on and off the field of play.

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