Why We Tore Up the DBAP Infield
If you’ve taken a peek at our Snapchat (durhambulls) or Twitter accounts this past week, you’ve probably noticed that there’s been some work done to the DBAP infield. Why? Well let’s ‘rip’ into it. Hehe.
First things first, you’re probably wondering why the infield grass was torn up and replaced at all. This season, the DBAP will host approximately 120 games from February to September between Bulls games, Duke baseball’s home schedule and the ACC Baseball Championship. With the addition of Duke games, the field increased its number of events significantly from February-April. To compensate for that, the field was overseeded with a higher rate of ryegrass in the infield and foul territory to give the field the best possible playing surface for that timeframe, which is roughly 40 games.
As the temperature increases and creeps to summer weather (85 degrees and above), ryegrass will die down and give way to bermudagrass. However, with the field’s increased event schedule, this week marked the stadium’s only lengthy break from events until mid-June, by which point the ryegrass would have worn down and left large dead patches on the field. Therefore it was decided to switch out the grass from the rye to bermuda because it holds up to wear and tear better than rye, and recovers significantly quicker.
(It’s worth noting the DBAP’s field has never undergone a replacement of this size, but there have been some smaller degrees of ‘switching out’ since Duke began playing a portion of its home schedule at the ballpark in 2009.)
The process takes over four full days to complete, as preparations to the field began on Sunday evening and the process is scheduled to be completed by Thursday night. In order to ensure the project was done in a timely matter the Bulls partnered with a pair of companies, with Carolina Green Athletic Field Construction providing the new turf, and Precision Turf completing the removal and installation.
Interestingly, the DBAP is in a unique geographical position that necessitates a turf transition. Durham’s location proves to be too cold a climate to grow warm season turf (bermuda) year-round, while the climate is too hot to grow season turf (rye) year-round. The team’s grounds crew deals with the transition annually in different ways, but the process selected in 2016 ensures a manageable, controlled transition between the two.
Special thanks to Durham Bulls Director of Stadium Operations Scott Strickland for help with this post (as in he provided all the information, and much of the text is ‘ripped’ directly from an email).