The Rochester Red Wings are getting a brand new field — a long-overdue project.
Frontier Field hasn’t had a new baseball diamond in about 12 years. Teams usually swap them out every six to eight.
So where did the Red Wings go to get their new turf? And why don’t they put down an artificial field given Rochester’s weather?
Brennan Somers took those questions to the team’s president and CEO.
“We tried to get the most out of the field because it is such a big undertaking, but it was time,” Naomi Silver said. “There comes a time when the root zone becomes so compacted after years of play that it’s not draining properly anymore, then you risk losing because of puddling and so on.”
The field will be made of Kentucky Bluegrass to be exact, but it doesn’t come from Kentucky. The grass is grown on a farm in New Jersey then shipped to Rochester.
Think of what’s happening as an extreme stadium makeover. It is out with the old field and in with the new starting with much-needed plumbing and irrigation upgrades.
There’s new sand, and soon, there will be a new turf.
The construction crews doing the work are some of the best. Silver says they’ve worked in other ballparks, including the majors, flipping and renovating fields for big-league teams.
Last month’s early-season snowstorm set them back a bit, so they are now working seven days a week.
“Ya know if they weren’t able to plant the turf before December, they would be able to do it right before baseball season,” Silver added. “We don’t want to take that chance because we know we sometimes have snow in early April, so we’d love to get it taken care of.”
As for real versus fake, MLB franchises like their farm teams to be the same. Rochester’s parent club, the Minnesota Twins, also has real grass.
Silver says, in the long run, it’s a wash when it comes to costs. She also says artificial baseball fields are worse when it comes to injuries.
The whole project will run about $2.2 million.