MIDLAND, Mich. - Since the home of the Great Lakes Loons was constructed in 2006, the playing surface at Dow Diamond had remained the same. Following the conclusion of the Midwest League Championship, a field replacement process began.
Working with Nolan Thomas and Company out of Stovall, N.C., the current sod is being removed with updates being made to the drainage and irrigation systems. Along with new sod from the Tuckahoe Sod Farm in New Jersey being laid, a tarp inflation system will be installed beneath the playing surface for a more comprehensive strategy during inclement weather situations.
"It was time for a change and we're pleased with the decision that has been made," head groundskeeper Kelly Rensel said. "Some irrigation issues were starting to surface, along with it just being old grass. Starting now in the fall will allow for the roots to take hold."
Fields for the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A), Durham Bulls (Triple-A) and Dayton Dragons (Single-A) have been contracted by Nolan Thomas and Company. One of the top sod farms in the country, Tuckahoe Sod Farm has provided the playing surfaces for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, along with the Phillies.
"It will be nice to have a clean slate," Rensel said. "We'll have improved safety for the players which is always number one, plus maintenance will be a little easier and we'll have improved aesthetics."
Updates on the progress of the project will be posted on the Loons Facebook and Twitter accounts. The project is expected to take four to five weeks, with a target conclusion date of Oct. 19.
The 2016 Midwest League Champions and hosts of the 2017 MWL All-Star Game have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. For tickets and more information about the Great Lakes Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.