Building Diamonds & Dreams Program
Location: Five locations across the country
Sponsored by: Chevrolet, Scotts and MLB
Completed: Fall 2010
In 2010, Chevrolet partnered with Major League Baseball and Scotts to renovate five youth baseball fields nominated by their communities during a promotion called “Building Diamonds & Dreams.” FIELDS and Ripken Design were selected to complete the renovation process for the five winners, who were selected from across the United States: Weymouth Township, New Jersey; Brownsburg, Indiana; Mebane, North Carolina; Pflugerville, Texas; and Granite Bay, California.
The team inspected each site before the initial renovation began in order to establish a design and construction plan that would maximize the budget allotted for each facility. The main concentration was devoted to the infield, which many consider the most significant area of the baseball field. Improperly remodeling or selecting the wrong materials for the infield can not only negatively affect play, but can pose a safety risk for players.
The team converted the field in Weymouth to a uniquely designed natural grass infield, which had been completely skinned for many years. The Brownsburg field is known for its appearances in the Little League World Series and for producing many regional championships; its field was renovated by removing existing turf, laser grading the sub-grade, and installing new infield material and new turf grass.
Mebane’s Walker Field was notorious in the central North Carolina area for its limited playability and was utilized only for practices and special events. After the renovation, which included a stabilized infield mix and laser grading for proper slopes, it is once again a popular venue for hosting games as it was years ago.
The field in Pflugerville had been a very productive site for youth baseball, but the infield needed work. The construction crew installed new Tifsport Bermuda grass, which was overseeded and fertilized for a smoother, more acceptable surface for not only the 2011 season, but many seasons to come.
Granite Bay was the last stop on the field renovation tour. The team utilized Hilltopper mix to rebuild the pitching mound and plate areas, and installed new warning tracks in high-traffic areas. The renovation process included new bases, home plate and pitching plate. After the field was complete, the infield had a new color, and the grade was consistent and very aesthetically pleasing to the league.
FIELDS and Ripken collaborated on customizing maintenance programs for each site; fertilization, pest control, mowing practices, irrigation practices and infield preparations were detailed to improve ball bounce, provide consistent playability and produce solid defensive playing skills for the youth players. Scotts' turf experts also reviewed the plans and provided valuable information on products that will keep them beautiful and healthy for many seasons to come.