One of the beautiful things about baseball is seeing the crisp emerald green grass covering the field. Some teams have artificial turf instead, but it is still a clean look nonetheless. With college football teams such as Boise State and Eastern Washington sporting nontraditional colored turf, could there be a red or blue field in baseball’s future?
The short answer is yes. There is one school that already has a red infield in place. The University of Northwestern Ohio, an NAIA program, sports a brightly colored cardinal turf infield and foul territory. New red turf was installed at Racer Field this past off-season and is being used for games in 2015.
Artificial turf cuts down on maintenance costs for the grounds crew and allows northern teams to play more home games. Programs do not have to travel as often due to inclement field conditions. It is a more popular trend up north, and UNOH could be the pioneer of colored baseball fields.
Choosing a color other than green for artificial turf is a fairly easy option for any team considering it – match the colors of the school. In football, Boise State has blue turf and Eastern Washington has red turf. Coastal Carolina will be the first team to have teal turf, as they currently having it installed in place for their upcoming season.
Baseball Fields No Longer Limited to Green
What are the downsides to having something as outlandish as red turf on the baseball diamond? Baseballs have red seams, so it could be harder to pick up the baseball off of the bat. This could also be seen as a home-field advantage since visiting teams will have had no prior experience with the unique playing conditions. Should a team choose to wear the same color uniforms as that of the field, it could also be difficult for the opposition to distinguish players. Again, a home-field advantage that would be a first.
A blue baseball field has yet to have been installed on any field, but a television broadcast of a game between the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers gave a glimpse of the possibilities. Although it looks like a crowd full of the Blue Man Group, the faulty camera work was surely still a good laugh for viewers.
As traditional as the game of baseball is, the odds of a baseball field switching colors are rare. You can bet your favorite team’s next World Series appearance that it won’t happen at the Major League level. Even minor league clubs would need to have dedicated support from the parent club to even consider mentioning such an idea in a meeting. The odds of this continuing at the collegiate level are higher, but still slim.
We’ll see how the Racers fare this season with their red turf and see if it has any impact on their record at home versus on the road (it is impressive so far). At the least, it would surely act as a Kodak moment for recruits and visiting teams.