LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Slugger Field began installing a new playing surface Tuesday for the Louisville Bats to begin play on in 2014.
The new field will be NorthBridge Bermudagrass, a turf developed by Oklahoma State University in 2007.
"NorthBridge Bermudagrass is a far superior product compared to other playing surfaces," said Louisville Bats president Gary Ulmer. "The Bats want nothing but the best playing field for both its players and fans to enjoy. We went for the strongest, highest-rated crossbreed of turf available."
The installation will take approximately three days as the Bats' grounds crew install 100,000 square feet of sod onto the playing field. Approximately one dozen truckloads of turf are being shipped from Meadowspring Turf Farm in Charles City, Va.
"The new turf thrives in the summer, maintaining its color and lusciousness," said Louisville Bats head groundskeeper Tom Nielsen. "It grows faster than other turfs and repairs itself quickly. The old playing surface, a combination of bluegrass and ryegrass, grew the best in the spring, but became harder to maintain in the summer months."
Grass specialists developed this crossbreed to be able to grow earlier in the spring, whereas typical bermudagrasses only grow and thrive during the summer. The new turf is highly compatible with the Ohio Valley's unique weather demands and temperature fluctuations. NorthBridge Bermudagrass is used at the Kansas City Royals' Kauffman Stadium and football stadiums such as the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium and the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field.
Louisville Slugger Field's old playing surface was removed last week in preparation for the new turf. The old turf was grinded and given to Metro Parks to be used as topdressing.
The Bats have played at Louisville Slugger Field on the corner of Preston and Main streets since the start of the 2000 season. The Louisville Slugger Field playing surface is being replaced for just the second time since the ballpark's opening. The last field was installed in the fall of 2008.
The 2014 season will mark both the Bats' 15th season in downtown Louisville and team's 15th season as the Triple-A affiliate of the National League's Cincinnati Reds.
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