FRISCO, Texas (Feb. 12, 2018) - Not only have the Frisco RoughRiders played at Dr Pepper Ballpark for 15 years, they've played on the same field for 15 years. Literally, the same field.
For the first time since moving into the stadium in 2003, the RoughRiders will have a new field to play on in time for the 2018 season. The entire grass playing surface has undergone a complete renovation aimed at improving footing, drainage and aesthetics.
"The ballclubs need a firm surface to play on," said David Bicknell, Senior Director, Sports Turf and Grounds Manager. "They can't risk injury to any of the players, so we have to have a surface that after a rainstorm we can get back out there pretty quickly and not have any risk of injury to the players."
Since the inception of the ballpark, the field had undergone a number of physical changes. Contamination of new grass affected the look of the field. Edges and transitions from dirt to grass underwent natural alterations with the passage of time.
Bicknell and his grounds keeping staff did an excellent job of extending the lifespan of the original field before renovation plans were finalized.
The actual field removal and installation was a massive project, which included temporarily removing the seats in Section 104 to give crews access to the field level. The renovation team of 8-12 strong worked daily for about three weeks to remove the infield and outfield grass, along with more than 1,200 cubic yards of soil. That was followed by importing close to 1,500 tons of golf sand and laser-grading the surface smooth.
The field was replanted with an improved variety of Bermuda grass called Latitude 36, which is grown on a grass farm in McDade, Texas. Latitude 36 was developed as a cold-hardy Bermuda which offers high traffic tolerance and exceptional visual appeal. The fully renovated field will drain at a rate of approximately 10 inches per hour, up from about four inches per hour for the former playing surface.
"Any rainstorm will be no match for what we can handle and quickly get back out to play to keep the games going," Bicknell said. "Aside from that, it will be a very smooth surface. It'll be very true and consistent hops, no lips anywhere, just very clean transitions dirt to grass, and give ballplayers a lot of confidence to go out there and make plays."
The new field will actually debut with the Frisco College Baseball Classic presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at the Star. Dr Pepper Ballpark will host the four-team event March 2-4, featuring Texas A&M, Baylor, Louisiana Tech and Cal-Berkley. Additional information and tickets for the Frisco Classic are available at friscoclassic.com.
The RoughRiders will open the franchise's upcoming 15th Anniversary Season on Thursday, April 5 at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Season ticket, group and hospitality packages are now available by calling (972) 731-9200, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting RidersBaseball.com.
About the RoughRiders
The Frisco RoughRiders are the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers and play their games at beautiful Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. The team was founded in 2003 and has finished first among all Double-A franchises in attendance in each of the last 13 seasons (2005-2017). In August 2014, the RoughRiders were purchased by an ownership group led by Chuck Greenberg. The new ownership group, together with the city of Frisco, has spearheaded numerous major franchise improvements over the past three seasons, investing nearly $8 million in a wide array of facility upgrades and improvements, including a new state-of-the-art HD video board, sound system, Bull Moose Saloon, InTouch Grille, Riders Outpost Team Store and the newest and biggest creation, the 174-foot Choctaw Lazy River. The upgrades made prior to the 2015 season earned the Riders and the City of Frisco "Best Ballpark Renovation" of 2015 by Ballpark Digest. The same publication also honored the Choctaw Lazy River as the best ballpark improvement over $1 million for the 2016 season. More than 140 former RoughRiders players have gone on to play Major League Baseball, including All-Stars Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, as well as current Rangers stars Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Nomar Mazara. For more information on the Frisco RoughRiders and Dr Pepper Ballpark, please visit RidersBaseball.com or contact Art Garcia at AGarcia@RidersBaseball.com or Ryan Rouillard at RRouillard@RidersBaseball.com.