The new Texas Rangers ballpark will feature a specially designed synthetic playing surface rather than grass when it opens in 2020.
Shaw Sports Turf, which will provide the synthetic turf field, used Globe Life Park’s current grass field as one of the benchmarks for an ongoing playability study.
The club says it was convinced that the surface was the best option for the ballpark, and that its design alleviated concerns over player safety that have traditionally surrounded synthetic surfaces.
Rangers officials said they decided to go with the synthetic grass after two years of research that involved player safety, team performance and fan experience.
Rangers VP Rob Matwick said:
From our first visit with the staff at Shaw Sports Turf, we were clear that a synthetic grass surface for Globe Life Field would only be a consideration if it could deliver the best surface in Major League Baseball and address the concerns we had related to impact on the players.
Months of detailed research that included extensive input from our Baseball Operations group from both a health and performance aspect have resulted in this decision.
The Rangers say the ball will roll the same way it would on natural grass. They also claim the artificial surface will be easier on player’s legs than natural grass.
Vice President of Shaw Turf Chuck McClurg said:
The Texas Rangers are a franchise that definitely does its homework and they don’t take any decision lightly, especially this one. We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with them on this project.
Throughout their research and our discussions with them, they have placed an emphasis on player safety and team performance. We are confident that the product we deliver will be an exceptionally consistent, top-of-the-line playing surface that will mimic the best natural playing surfaces in Major League Baseball today.
The cut outs on the base paths and infield will be clay.
Texas Rangers’ decision will make it the fourth of the 30 major league teams to use artificial turf.
Toronto’s Rogers Centre and Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field have had artificial turf since they opened, while Arizona’s Chase Field is switching from grass to turf this season.