Ray Fisher Stadium to Have Field Turf Installed

Submitted by MGoShoe on March 26th, 2013 at 8:52 PM

The Daily is reporting that Ray Fisher Stadium will have field turn installed in the summer of 2014.

Starting in the fall of 2014, visitors to Ray Fisher Stadium, home of the Michigan baseball team, will no longer be able smell the fresh cut grass or hear the crunch of the dirt underneath player’s spikes.

This is because Michigan will replace its current natural field at the Wilpon Complex with an all-turf surface.

"Thank God for us, we are actually getting a turf field next year at the end of the summer, which will be a huge boost for us,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich on WTKA last week.

The installation is expected to dramatically increase the number of days Michigan can practice outdoors during the season and the off season.


Wolverine Devotee

March 26th, 2013 at 8:55 PM ^

As I read this thread title, I said thank God just like coach B. 

Outstanding news. With this and the new HD scoreboard with video screen coming, RFS is gonna look like a completely new park. 

Maybe we'll see a block M in center field? 

What does this mean for softball? Will they get FieldTurf?


March 26th, 2013 at 9:18 PM ^

More important than being able to practice outside—they'll actually be able to play more games at home. The team had to move last weekend's home games against Western Illinois to Adrian because they couldn't play at Fisher.

By the way, it was amusing to see the writer trot out this old fallacy: "baseballs pick up speed while on the carpet."

Section 1

March 26th, 2013 at 9:50 PM ^

why was Adrian playable but Ray L. Fisher wasn't?  Is it a drainage issue?  I'm presuming that you are going to tell me that Adrian is FieldTurf, and that they can play there because FieldTurf doesn't freeze the same way that natural turf does, snow can be swept off, etc.

If FieldTurf is "better" for baseball, I suspect that it is better for playing in northern climates in March.  Because they sure aren't going to FieldTurf the surfaces at Wrigley, Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards or Comerica Park.  Where they play them some proper baseball.


March 26th, 2013 at 9:52 PM ^

I believe you answered your own question, but, yes, obviously, Adrian has Field Turf.

And there's a huge difference between MLB, with its regular season running from April through early October, and Big Ten baseball, with a season running from February through May.

Section 1

March 26th, 2013 at 9:15 PM ^

Why would the baseball team want turf?

What a pity; the old football practice fields all paved and carpeted.  The field hockey and -whatever pitches all carpeted.  And soon, Ferry Field will be paved and turned into a parking lot.

This magnificent image is just a memory:

Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1950.


March 27th, 2013 at 2:46 AM ^



As you've probably noticed, the trend is strongly away from the fake stuff. Three teams replaced artificial turf with real grass (in their existing stadiums) in recent years, with even Cincinnati doing so for their last two years in Cinergy Field (needless to say, the city's new Great American Ballpark has real grass). That means that now all 16 National League Teams have the real thing. In the American League, once the Twins moved outside to Target Field, only two of the 14 stadiums had an artificial surface. The two offenders are Tampa Bay and Toronto.

OK, so maybe it's not practical for the college calendar and drainage characteristics of the Ray Fisher field, but I wouldn't say that it is the ideal baseball experience.


March 27th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

There have been at least five generations of artificial turf since Astroturf in the 1960's; at least three of them have been after the 1980's.  Current artificial turf bears no resemblance to the 1980's product.  Even the stodgy FIFA is caving in and has come up with an approved artificial turf.  



March 26th, 2013 at 9:53 PM ^

I wouldn't be bothered but it sounds as though that means the field will be like at Texas, where there's no dirt to slide on, just differently-colored FieldTurf.  I hope they at least have sliding pits like the old Astroturf stadiums.  I don't know how recruits in general feel about that but I know if I were being recruited by a school and saw that I had to slide on FieldTurf I'd cross them right off my list.


March 26th, 2013 at 10:00 PM ^

The fields I played on... ( I believe the Livonia Highschools) had dirt mounds and basepaths, but the infield was turf... The type of turf with all the ground up rubber...

The ball would have a few true bounces and then it would almost jet off the turf...

I feel like I got eaten up by weird short-hops all the time from it...

Who knows...



March 26th, 2013 at 10:12 PM ^

Thank God for us, we are actually getting a turf field next year at the end of the summer, which will be a huge boost for us

Can someone explain why that'll be a huge boost? Recruiting?


March 26th, 2013 at 10:19 PM ^

Bakich probably likes it because it will drain a hell of a lot better than a regular field and can be cleared of snow much more quickly without damaging it.  You can basically plow it and not worry about destroying the sod.  What this means is more outdoor practices.  Indoor practices are an extremely poor replacement for outdoor ones.  You can't do shit worth shit indoors.

I would honestly guess it won't do much for recruiting.  For every recruit who likes it there'll probably be one who won't.

Clarence Boddicker

March 26th, 2013 at 10:22 PM ^

"In addition to getting on the field earlier in the season, the effects of weather in the middle of the season will be considerably less. Michigan will be able to play in virtually every situation except in the case of thunderstorms. The Wolverines have already had four home games cancelled this year and had two home games cancelled last year.

"The addition of the turf field also helps shorten the gap between teams from the south and teams from the north. Teams in the south can practice for most of the year outside, while northern teams are typically stuck inside. The turf will allow Michigan to be outside for more of the year, similar to their southern counterparts.

"This addition time outside might also help when it comes to recruiting. The coaching staff can now pitch recruits on the ability to practice outside for most of the year. This could help keep local recruits in Michigan rather than fleeing for warmer weather or bring kids from southern states to Michigan."


March 26th, 2013 at 10:23 PM ^

I can imagine those little pellets in field turf are going to be flying everywhere as a ball rolls around.

Oh well, if it gives the team an advantage of being able to practice outisde more then I guess its worth it.


March 26th, 2013 at 11:13 PM ^

I would never want to play on FieldTurf over grass under good weather conditions, but given that Michigan from Feb-May is not ideal weather, this is probably a good idea.  They put field turf in on a lot of public ballparks in Seattle because we were constantly getting rained out on the grass/dirt fields. 

Playing on the turf isn't too bad.  The ball hops reasonably true, though it can definitely get to you in a hurry.  About my only complaint is that I suffered a heel contusion from bottoming out--I hit my heel on the concrete layer underneath the field turf after leaping for a line drive.  But that was on the cheap stuff.  This should be a much better grade.

The rubber pellets never caused a problem.

If Michigan played a summer schedule I'd say this was dumb, but given the pre-spring start of college baseball, this makes sense.



March 27th, 2013 at 6:21 AM ^

Will actually help recruiting. I, personally, loved playing on turf fields growing up, I remember playing on Adrian's field and that field is definitely nice. As a shortstop, I also enjoyed getting more true hops.

As far as the sliding issue, it really wasn't that different. You slide a lot further obviously, but I wouldn't pick my school based on sliding anyways.


March 27th, 2013 at 7:17 AM ^

When I was playing, we played on turf at Louisville and a few other places. We loved it. All true hops, can slide further, no random divots to step in and get injured. I know NU has been talking about getting turf since '05 and I think IL might already have it. I bet that in the next ten years the entire BIG gets it.


March 27th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

Sure the turf is great for springtime when the field isn't ready to be played on because it is still soggy, but playing on turf takes away from the feel of playing a real baseball game. I'd much rather play on dirt, but that might just be me. Taking grounders is really odd on turf.


March 27th, 2013 at 9:21 AM ^

I would always prefer grass, but given the climate of Michigan turf is almost necessary.  I don't know what the complaints are about bad hops, we practiced in Oosterbaan all winter and you get spoiled because every hop is so true and you rarely lose your footing.

Hopefully this will open the field to more teams as well.  I know the Club Team basically begs the Athletic Department to have tryouts or even one game at Fisher and the excuse always was they didn't want to overuse the field.  Which seemed like a bunch of bull when they would have dozens of high school tournaments in the summer.

Section 1

March 27th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

Baseball was not meant to be played in the north, in February and March.  "School," I guess is what dictates playing at that time.  But baseball is a summer game.  Being in the vicinity of major league baseball, and it being the national pastime and all, I suppose it is required that we have a university baseball team.  Harvard and Yale have baseball teams.

But it really isn't terribly clear why we'd try so hard to play baseball in Michigan in February, March and early April.  We have an ice hockey team; let Arizona State, Georgia Tech and Florida State have baseball teams.  Unless the Big Ten wants to throw its weight around and hold a summer-season of baseball, stomping on the NCAA's preferred season.  Which I might happily endorse.


March 27th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

One of the huge issues with the current grass is the fact it's extremely hard to get. It's some kind of super Canada grass, which is only grown by one company.

So if any area needed repair or replacement, the in house supply was very very small. (The small patch under scoreboard in right field... For both softball and baseball.)

Drainage was actually pretty good, and the field staff work their ass off to have the field ready. But the Michigan weather is very blah as we all know. And I'm guessing this will be in the outfield too? That's where the worst puddles were.