SAN ANTONIO, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The city that encourages us to remember is bringing together some notable icons of Texas baseball to host what should be a memorable Big League Weekend at the Alamodome. AstroTurf®, whose roots in Texas baseball go back nearly 50 years to the historic opening of the Houston Astrodome, will furnish San Antonio's showcase venue with a custom synthetic turf system designed specifically for the stadium's baseball conversion. Ryan-Sanders Baseball, a group founded in part by Baseball Hall of Famer and Texas legend Nolan Ryan, is responsible for running the event that will pit the Texas Rangers against the San Diego Padres in two exhibition games, March 29th and 30th.
Since it opened in 1993, the Alamodome has hosted its share of sporting spectacles, from Final Fours to NFL Football, professional bull riding to bowl games, NBA Champions to championship boxing. But it has yet to add baseball to its prolific resume of events, until now. In order to transform the behemoth into a Major League ready ballpark, the Alamodome has added dugouts, fencing, bullpens, and features a 133,000 square foot custom-made AstroTurf field.
"AstroTurf is thrilled to see baseball in the Alamodome," said AstroTurf President Bryan Peeples. "We are so proud to be involved with these two superb ball clubs and to be a part of this historic event."
Baseball may be our cherished national pastime with a fan base that spans multiple generations, but this is not your grandfather's AstroTurf. The field installed will be an AstroTurf GameDay Grass™ 3D52 Diamond synthetic turf system. This third generation artificial playing surface incorporates a few distinct and advanced elements that make it truly unique. The "grass" is a diamond shaped monofilament fiber used primarily in baseball fields for its playability and natural feel. The proprietary RootZone™ is a patented thatch system of textured nylon which holds the sand and rubber infill in place and radically reduces cleat penetration, leading to a faster and more consistent playing surface with a cleaner look. The artificial turf will be tailored to the dimensions of the baseball configuration and include a warning track and infield cut-outs to enable the players to bat and slide on good old fashioned dirt
Good old fashioned Texas hard ball might be one way to characterize the aggressive style of play exhibited by Nolan Ryan, Major League Baseball's all-time leader in strikeouts and no-hitters. Setting records must be in the bloodline. Under the stewardship of Founder and CEO Reid Ryan, Nolan's son, Ryan-Sanders Baseball acquired a minor league ball club in 2000 that became the Round Rock Express and promptly broke the Texas League attendance record in only its first season of existence. The group has continued to grow over the last 13 years and it now counts two thriving minor league teams, a baseball school, a sports turf services division, and a lucrative entertainment company under the Ryan-Sander umbrella. Big picture success doesn't come without focused attention to detail, and when the group was tasked with the Big League responsibilities of putting on the first ever baseball games in the Alamodome, choosing the right playing surface was crucial.
"Running a major baseball event like Big League Weekend starts with the field of play," said Ryan-Sanders Baseball CEO Reid Ryan. "AstroTurf's state-of-the-art turf system gave us the look, feel, and play of natural grass with the adaptability of a customized field to meet the specific demands of our project."
With endorsements like this one and countless others, it's no wonder AstroTurf carries the title of Official Synthetic Turf of Major League Baseball. But more than rave reviews, AstroTurf fields carry scientific approval. An independent study at Michigan State University, funded by NFL Charities, found that AstroTurf GameDay Grass systems looked and performed more like natural grass than any other synthetic product measured. In extensive testing, AstroTurf GameDay Grass systems performed most like natural grass in specific categories such as ball roll, slide resistance, and the biomechanical function of cleats penetrating and releasing properly. The results mean that AstroTurf's fields excel when it comes to speed, performance, playability and safety.
It's the caliber of field you'd expect when some of the best ballplayers in the world come together to compete in an historic event. Big League Weekend will feature two world-class teams with Lone Star flavor. The Texas Rangers have taken the state and the nation by storm recently, winning back-to-back American League championships in 2010 and 2011. Known for a potent lineup from top to bottom with proven stars Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler as well as exciting up and comer Elvis Andrus, the Rangers can also show off their arms when Yu Darvish, Neftali Perez or Derek Holland take the mound. Their ranking as third highest home attendance in all of baseball last year –behind only the Yankees and the Phillies - speaks to their wild popularity.
In the other dugout we find the San Diego Padres, a ball club whose home base may be California, but whose stars get their seasoning in the Alamo City. The Padres are led by Chase Headley, the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award-winning third baseman who led the National League with 115 RBIs last year. As a member of the 2007 Texas League Champion San Antonio Missions, Chase wowed the San Antonio crowds with his Player of The Year performance. Known for their occasional camouflage uniforms, the Padres score major points for patriotism as the first national sports team to institute an annual military appreciation day, which they did back in 1996.
Also scoring major points is Kevin Swank and his Texas-based team at AstroBuilders who handled installation of the custom designed AstroTurf field for Big League Weekend. Working with an abbreviated timeframe due to the busy event schedule at the Alamodome, the experienced installers laid the synthetic turf down in eight days, or roughly one third the time of a standard project. It's another typically stellar performance from the crew that's no stranger to custom AstroTurf surface installation, having worked on several similar projects including the recent convertible system at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
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. To learn more, visit www.astroturf.com.