Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rose Bowl update!

The Rose Bowl Stadium will be the scene of a lot of activity over the next week or so and I've got an update for you.
The Rose Bowl game will pit the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Oregon Duck on January 1. The field they will play on was installed in early December. (Pictured above)
While the Rose Bowl is being played the fine people at West Coast Turf will begin cutting sod for the field that the January 7th National Championship will be played on. It's going to take over 100,000 square feet of sod to do the job. It will take overnight work harvesting and laying the sod to get it ready in time. The Rose Bowl staff will not be taking up the turf from the January 1 game, they will simply overlay the new turf on top. The new turf will be cut at a thickness of one and-a-half inches to ensure it will not come up during the Alabama/Texas game. Money quote:

We have been working with the Rose Bowl since the Super Bowl in 1993. We’ve specialized in sports fields for nearly 20 years, so we’re ready for this situation,” said West Coast Turf spokesperson, Tom Stafford. “They are perfectionists over there (at the Rose Bowl), and are well known for excellent field conditions. But this project is extra special for them. We’ve monitored this sod for months.

"Three years ago we used the same ‘overlay’ technique at University of Phoenix Stadium for a similar situation with the Fiesta Bowl game and then the BCS Championship there a few days later. The guys at the Rose Bowl watched us do that successfully, and we all decided it’d be the right choice for their big game. We’ve been here before and are confident we’ll have a surface to be proud of come January 7th,” Stafford said.

Full article here.

Until next time, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Classic time lapse!!


The weather forecast for the game is not looking good. High will be around 40 and it may rain.

Until next time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Main Street

The Cleveland Browns replaced the 'Main Street' of their field recently. It doesn't look as they replaced the end zone. They don't use it much. HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

Until next time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick hit!

The Chargers were back to their usual end zone yesterday.

Their midfield was back to the team's 50th anniversary logo.

And they had some holiday cheer!!

Until next time!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sneak Preview


Courtesy of Chad Ochocinco, here's the field for the Charger/Bengal game in San Diego today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Classic is two weeks away!!!

The rink and ice are in place at Fenway Park!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Happens To Old Stadiums?

What becomes of our old stadiums?

A recent piece in the Guardian brought this up. It discussed several football grounds around England and what's become of them since they stopped being used. The most interesting use of an old stadium is on the north side of London. Arsenal built a new stadium and decided to turn their old one! Check out the picture above: It was taken from an apartment that was once an end-line stand. The apartments aren't really family friendly, there are no three bedroom apartments. They're pretty cool and they ought to be since a one bedroom unit will run you upwards of $300,000.

I started wondering about old stadiums here in the states. There have been a bunch lately, and I don't have a lot of time today, so I stopped at two.

Forbes Field in Pittsburgh was home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers until June of 1970. It was torn down and the land is now used by the University of Pittsburgh. The stadium may be (mostly) gone but it is memorialized in a few places. Home plate from the stadium is near its original location. It's under glass in the floor for all to see.

Metropolitan Stadium was in Bloomington, Minnesota. After its demolition, the Mall of America was built on the site. Again a couple of parts of the stadium have been memorialized. Home plate is still there (now in a theme park.) The longest home run in stadium history was slugged by Harmon Killebrew. It was an astonishing 520-foot tape measure blast to deep left-center. The shot landed in the bleachers and the spot it hit has been forever memorialized by a stadium chair marking the spot.

Until next time!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

School Days

It's not all pro sports around this blog. I do find some nifty items concerning college and even high school sports to pass along.

First, here's the link to a nice New York Times piece about Union City High School having virtually no place to build their new stadium (two schools, Emerson and Union Hill were combined to form Union City High) so they built it on top of the school! Check out the picture above, you can see the Empire State Building across the Hudson River.
The kids love it. Money quote:

“It was like walking through the gates of Disneyland: Jaws dropped and eyes were all over the place,” said Joe Rotondi, the head football coach, adding that so many players were looking around during the first practice in July that he had to stop and give them 10 minutes to walk around.

Friendswood High School, southeast of Houston, is having problems with their FieldTurf. In the summer of 2006 the surface was installed and since then has requred 300 repairs! Money quote:

The district claims the company hired unqualified day laborers off the street to lay the artificial turf and that crews did the installation in a rush. Workers still were putting down turf an hour before the 2006 season’s opening football game, district officials have said.

School district officials are considering litigation. FieldTurf Tarkett needs to make this right. If there is one group of people you don't want upset with you, it's football fans in Texas!

Last but not least, this year is the 80th anniversary of one of the great traditions of Southern football: hedges! (Link) If it's fall in the south, then there is some action going on "between the hedges," and it was eighty years ago this fall the first hedges were planted at Georgia's Sanford Stadium. The hedges were inspired by rose bushes that used to surround the field at the Rose Bowl. Apparently rose bushes wouldn't fare well in Georgia, so they used hedges, planting them during the night just before the first Bulldog game at Sanford Stadium.

If any of you are thinking of making a trip to Athens to covertly obtain a sample, think twice: The hedges are protected by a security camera system and the hedges have a chain-link fence hidden inside. Like the Boss said: "You can look, but you better not touch."

Until next time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Meadowlands

2010 will see the opening of the new stadium for the Giants and Jets. Construction is nearing completition so the teams invited some long time season ticket holders to check it out. The stadium uses FieldTurf and the fans were given some infill to sprinkle around.
Each team will have their own custom end zone, but will have a midfield logo as well. You can see the space for it in the picture above.
The capacity is increasing by 2,500 seats but the upper deck will be somewhat higher because of the addition of a bunch of luxury suites. The concourses will be wider as well. The seats will not be Giant blue this time, but will be three different shades of gray.
There will be four large scoreboard/screens, one in each corner of the stadium. Naming rights haven't been announced.
All in all, it looks pretty spiffy.

Read more about it:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If Toronto Can Do It, Why Can't Chicago?

Pictured above is BMO Field in Toronto. It is home to Toronto FC of the MLS. The photo shows the FieldTurf being torn out. As I write crews are working on the transition to a state-of-the-art natural grass field.
I'll repeat that: Toronto FC will have a natural grass field. Kentucky bluegrass, to be specific.
It won't be easy. Full article here. Money quote:

The 7,850-square metre playing field will be the first major sports field in Canada to employ a SubAir System, which acts like a huge underground vacuum to pull away excess water. The technology, used on the greens of such renowned golf courses as Augusta National, Pebble Beach and TPC Sawgrass, also forces air from pipes underneath the soil to the surface, increasing the rate at which the field will dry.

In addition to the SubAir technology, an elaborate heating coil system that warms the soil is being installed. It will ensure BMO Field is ready no matter the conditions during the long Major League Soccer season, which begins in March and can stretch to November.


Finally, at the end of March, 2.5-centimetre thick sod will be laid. No matter what the weather, the heating, SubAir and irrigation systems will have it firmly rooted in time for the first game.

Not only will Toronto have natural grass, there are others in the north that have it too:
  • Invesco at Mile High - Denver Broncos - DD GrassMaster with SubAir
  • Dick's Sporting Goods Park - Colorado Rapids - natural grass SubAir
  • Rio Tinto Stadium - Real Salt Lake - natural grass with SubAir
  • Lambeau Field - Green Bay Packers - DD GrassMaster
So let's just stop all this nonsense about the Bears switching to FieldTurf or another artificial surface.

Until next time!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Saga of the Soldier Field Turf

Soldier Field looked terrible yesterday.

I'm not sure how I missed this, but Soldier Field was resodded in time for yesterday's game against the Rams. It cost the Chicago Park District a cool $250,000. I'm sure the grass is of sufficent quality and the crew did a good job of laying it, but, it's December in Chicago. Under such conditions, how good can it be?

There are voices in Chicago calling for a switch to artificial turf. Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune had two columns detailing the difficulty of growing grass in northern climes in December, and advocating a switch to FieldTurf or another infill artificial surface. Money quotes:

"The Bears and the Park District should definitely sit down and explore the options in the offseason," Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour said. "It would probably benefit all parties."

The park district and the Bears have done as good a job as possible of keeping the playing field manageable. But there is only so much anyone can do. There still have been divots all over the field. Cleats often don't grip right, and players end up sliding when they try to stop.

As you can tell from the title of this blog, I favor natural grass. Yes it's difficult to maintain in the north, but when it's done well, it's beautiful. Perhaps the Bears/Chicago Park District should try a switch to DD GrassMaster. DD GrassMaster is a natural turf with synthetic blades of grass about eight inches deep that the roots of the grass wrap around. The Green Bay Packers converted from all natural turf to DD GrassMaster before the 2007 season and it's worked out well for them. The Broncos are happy with their DD GrassMaster field at Invesco. If it works in Denver, it should work in Chicago. On the other hand, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia didn't like their DD GrassMaster and switched to full natural turf.

One other point to consider. The U.S. Soccer Federation is trying to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Soldier Field hosted the opening game of the 1994 World Cup, and it would be a natural for it to host games again. Artificial turf would certainly hurt those chances.

Until next time.