For the kids in our Badges for Baseball program, summer camp seems like a faraway dream that just isn’t coming fast enough. This year, we’ll have a new surprise in store for them!
When we originally built Cal, Sr.’s Yard, our youth-sized replica of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, we built it with a natural grass field and dirt infield. Now, don’t get us wrong—these fields look amazing to kids used to playing in parking lots and small gymnasiums. However, in our efforts to be good stewards of the resources we’ve been given (whether it’s your donations or the environment), we recently installed synthetic turf at Cal, Sr.’s Yard.
Construction started on February 7th and—two snowstorms, a few days of nonstop rain, high winds, and 13 mislabeled rolls of turf later—Cal, Sr.’s Yard was open by March 10th. Thank you to the Facilities team at Ripken Academy and Ripken Design for persevering to make this happen!
The new synthetic field offers a few distinct advantages over the previous grass surface and infield dirt surface. It will take far less labor to turn over from game to game and will reduce the amount of chemicals and fertilizer used at the complex. It also makes rain-outs much less likely. After the 3” of rain in that Aberdeen received in early March, the field drained and was playable within an hour. That same amount of rain would have previously canceled a whole weekend of games. It also looks great!
The field features AstroTurf’s top-of-the-line Gameday Grass 3DX—the same product that is being used in new MLB Stadium installations. This surface is designed to look, feel and play like natural grass, providing our kids with a professional playing experience not available on youth fields anywhere else in the country!
Thanks to Dan Taylor and Steve Fairbaugh for contributing to this story!
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