Bloomington, IN, July 3, 2013– The Hoosiers have long been synonymous with success on the hardwood, evoking images of basketballs swishing through the net followed by young men triumphantly cutting them down. This spring, the ping was king as Indiana Baseball took Bloomington and the Big Ten Conference by storm on their way to an historic season that culminated with a trip to the College World Series. And for the 2013 Hoosiers the road to Omaha was paved with AstroTurf®.
2013 was the inaugural season at Indiana’s new Bart Kaufman Stadium, a comprehensive baseball facility complete with clubhouse amenities, press accommodations, indoor batting cages and a next generation synthetic turf system provided by AstroTurf. The customized artificial field involves a combination of unique “recipes” that combine to create an innovative new infilled-turf system specifically engineered and manufactured to replicate the various surfaces found on a baseball diamond. The result is a synthetic field that matches the playability and consistency of both grass and clay. The entire playing surface at Kaufman is artificial, including the pitcher’s mound.“We received a significant number of compliments from visiting coaches and players on how the Bart Kaufman Field played during its inaugural season, especially from coaches and pitchers who were experiencing the artificial surface of the pitcher’s mound for the first time,” said Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities Chuck Crabb. “The first season confirmed our confidence in selecting AstroTurf for Bart Kaufman Field.”
While opponents may have been impressed with the AstroTurf playing surface, they were rarely thrilled with the outcome as Indiana compiled a 19-3 mark on their new home field. The Hoosiers finished the 2013 campaign with a record of 49-16 and racked up numerous accomplishments, including Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. Indiana hosted its first ever Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament and promptly won all three games at Kaufman Stadium. After outdueling Florida State in Tallahassee to win the Super Regional, the Hoosiers’ historic run was finally stopped in Omaha, but not before this Indiana squad had claimed the University’s first ever trip to the CWS.“We would like to congratulate Coach Tracy and the Hoosiers on a remarkable season,” said Bryan Peeples, President of AstroTurf. “We are honored that they chose AstroTurf, which is considered the finest synthetic playing surface in the world.”
The state-of-the-art field features different products for the “grass” areas and base paths. The infield and outfield are comprised of the AstroTurf’s GameDay Grass™ 3D Xtreme, which combines Horseshoe-shaped monofilament fibers with XP slit film fibers. The 3DX slit film base paths and pitching mound are specifically engineered to perform like clay. Both of these products feature a nylon RootZone®, which is a crucial contributor to the success of the field. The RootZone encapsulates and stabilizes the sand and rubber infill, ensuring optimal ball bounce. The proprietary technology also reduces infill migration and splash, contributing to field longevity by protecting the fibers. The warning track consists of AstroTurf’s MT 38i turf, a shorter pile tufted product which has a drastically different feel underfoot than the GameDay Grass to achieve the desired warning to the outfielders implied by the track. In addition, the team at AstroTurf supplied the synthetic surfacing for the indoor batting cages.“From Day One we were thrilled to be playing in our new stadium on the tremendous new artificial playing surface,” said Head Coach Tracy Smith. “I’m so proud of the team and what they were able to accomplish, and we’re so grateful for the support of the administration, Mr. Kaufman, and the folks at AstroTurf.”
The tremendous season has reflected well on Coach Smith and deservedly so, as the skipper was recently honored by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association with their annual National Coach of the Year award. He has been at the Hoosier helm for eight seasons, leading them to two Big Ten Conference Tournament crowns and two NCAA Tournament appearances. During his tenure at Indiana he has mentored more All-Americans than the university had seen in its previous 62 years combined. Before taking over at IU, Coach Smith guided his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, for nine seasons, leading the Red Hawks to two MAC titles and two NCAA Tourney berths.
AstroTurf’s relationship with America’s pastime spans nearly fifty years, dating back to the national introduction of synthetic turf with Houston’s AstroDome in 1965. The next two decades witnessed an emergence of artificial fields throughout Major League Baseball, as new stadiums insisted on AstroTurf and old facilities converted. Memories of the iconic teams and players of that era are inseparable from the unmistakable surface they played on – the dominating Big Red Machine, George Brett chasing .400, and Ozzie Smith cartwheeling into his famous backflip. The first of five World Series to be played entirely on artificial turf took place in 1980, the last with Joe Carter’s walk-off winner in the SkyDome in 1993. Starting with the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yard in 1992, the new stadium revolution began and natural grass became the overwhelming trend for these modern parks.
Today, great strides have been made in turf technology and AstroTurf has once again positioned itself as the leader of the baseball market. By synthesizing proprietary technology with innovative design concepts and engaging coaches in the developmental process, AstroTurf has engineered the next generation of baseball-specific synthetic turf. These new fields combine the look, feel, and playability of not only natural grass, but of clay with specially designed surfacing for base paths and warning tracks. But unlike natural grass, these fields require far less maintenance. In addition, the advanced drainage systems and durable surfacing allow teams to play and practice in difficult weather conditions, a huge plus for college teams whose seasons begin much earlier than their professional counterparts. As a result of this re-imagined inception of the pioneering brand, AstroTurf is once again rising to the forefront of the synthetic turf industry throughout college baseball and has re-established itself as the Official Synthetic Turf of Major League Baseball.
The 171,000 ft² artificial baseball surface was fabricated in its entirety at AstroTurf’s manufacturing facilities in Dalton, Georgia. Local outfit Crider & Crider performed general contracting duties on the project, handling excavation and dynamic base construction. The installation was completed by AstroTurf-certified installer and distributor Sports Construction Management.
For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf has redefined the way the game is played. The company offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies, leveraging the industry’s first vertically integrated manufacturing system. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety.
# # #