SportsTurf March 2011

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Tools&Equipment New infield skin products help manage moisture C ALDER HENDRICKSON exhibited at this year’s Sports Turf Managers As- sociation Conference for the first time with his new company, Ready Play Sports ( His product caught our eye because several MLB groundskeepers had signed on to en- dorse the product. Recently we ex- changed emails with Calder on how his company got started and what products they are offering. Here is his response: Ready Play conceptually began in May 2010 when I became close friends with the inventor of the technology, a 74-year old gentleman from Lubbock, TX who prefers to remain anonymous. He believes water will be in greater de- mand than oil in the near future, and he showed me the technology he created that vastly increased the amount of time soil retained moisture. His original purpose was to reduce the water needs in the agriculture and horticul- ture industries. I was amazed to find that this granule product was capable of absorbing 8-15 times its weight in water. I knew right away there were endless applications for the technology in sports, especially base- ball. Having played baseball through col- lege, I was all too familiar with the moisture issues plaguing playing sur- faces. I tested this technology against cal- cined clays and found that 25 pounds of Ready Play Surface Dry was equivalent to roughly 200 pounds of some calcined clay products on the market. A residual benefit was this product did not need to be removed from the field; the absorbing properties are ready to take on the next rain event. So I took the product to local coaches and municipalities. In just a few weeks, I had a small client MLB groundskeepers are believers CLAY WOOD,Oakland A’s “Being in the groundskeeping industry for 21 years I have seen numerous products come and go. In my opinion, until I saw Ready Play, I had never seen anything truly cutting edge that could change the way infield dirt holds moisture. “There are a lot of different ways to change the profile or make up of an infield mix and you have always been able to tighten or loosen a mix with clay or sand, but never effectively change the way an infield holds moisture for an extended period of time. “When I saw Ready Play, its moisture retention capabilities, the simplicity of incorporating Field Magic into existing infield mixes, and the way it be- comes part of the dirt; I knew I wanted to be in- volved with the company and their product development group. “I honestly believe Ready Play has the potential to improve the quality of any natural dirt infield/warning track surface in the world and could revolutionize the way infield dirt is main- tained, saving an immense amount of water in the process. “For me, I think Field Magic will retain more mois- ture closer to the surface, for a longer period of time, only enhancing my use of traditional calcined clay infield conditioners. This will allow the calcined clay to work more effectively giving our players a more consistent surface into the later innings.” >> CLAY WOOD, left, head groundskeeper for the Oak- land Athletics, talks with Ready Play’s Calder Hen- drickson. . DAN CUNNINGHAM, New York Yankees “I got involved with Ready Play because I’ve been dealing with different ratios of clays, silts, and sands for years. I honestly believe it’s going to take a synthetic product like Ready Play’s technology to take our industry to the next level.” MARK RAZUM, Colorado Rockies “Being responsible for the playability and safety of a baseball field, [I believe] Ready Play gives me another tool that I can utilize to get the best per- formance from my infield. The uniqueness of this product allows me to incorporate it into the infield profile at a regulated rate, due to the technology’s ability to attach to a sand particle. “The biggest challenge for a groundskeeper is being able to retain moisture within the infield pro- file throughout the course of a game or practice, and Ready Play allows me to hold that much needed moisture for a longer period of time. Also, its unique ability to retain and absorb that moisture allows me to take away some of the surface mois- ture during a rain situation. I feel very fortunate to be asked to consult with Ready Play. I have never seen a product like this that has so much potential in being a positive contribution in athletic field maintenance.” ■ 42 SportsTurf | March 2011

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