January 2014

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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Facility & Operations | By Thomas McAfee Setting up for a "Big League" weekend in the Alamodome ince its completion in 1993, the Alamodome in San Antonio has hosted many events. From NBA basketball to boxing, Final Fours to football, ice shows to trade shows, monster trucks to bull riding; its versatility has made it an easy choice for events both large and small. So when officials from Ryan-Sanders Baseball, a group founded in part by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, approached the Alamodome about hosting professional baseball, it was an opportunity to do something that never had been done inside the facility. S ...decision was made to use 133,000 square feet of custom turf from AstroTurf. "We felt most comfortable with AstroTurf and their staff," said Gottsch, "and with their being the official turf supplier for MLB we knew we would have their blessing." 20 SportsTurf | January 2014 One of the first questions many wondered was why the Alamodome? "With our two teams in Central and South Texas (Round Rock Express and Corpus Christi Hooks), and the Ryan's Ranch near San Antonio, they (the Ryan's) had driven past the Alamodome many times and wondered about the possibility of baseball," explained JJ Gottsch of Ryan-Sanders Baseball. "It was never the right time or the right opportunity never presented itself before, and then when Nolan became CEO of the Rangers, it became a possibility. The opportunity for the Rangers to extend their brand in San Antonio, and the chance to do something really special and unique, led us to the event." Playing a baseball game in a facility not specifically designed for baseball presented many challenges. Essentially everything had to start from scratch, from the playing field, to walls, bullpens and nets, batting cages and screens, none of which were available in the Alamodome. According to Gottsch, "We created a great team with Dome staff, MLB and Ryan-Sanders Baseball to get it done." The first hurdle was what to do for the playing field. Early ideas were to go with a grass field. However, when it became apparent that it would be labor intensive with

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