Random Interlude – Turf Talk

I can see that my “20 Stadiums in 20 Days” endeavor will not actually encompass 20 consecutive days – it ends up taking a bit longer than I originally anticipated to search through my photo albums, scan in the photos (a lot of these are pre-digital, you know), and figure out if anything notable happened during the game in question.

In the meantime, I have a nagging question in my head.

Last night, I watched a few innings of the WBC game from Toronto – USA vs Venezuela. Dustin Pedroia had just hit a hard grounder down the third base line to drive in two runs, and in one of the camera shots I noticed that the warning track in Toronto is not actually dirt, gravel, or whatever they’re normally made out of. It was brown artificial turf.

I had first noticed this phenomenon last summer while vacationing in Florida. We took in a Sunday afternoon game at the Trop, and kids were allowed to run the bases after the game. Of course, my two wanted to do this, so I waited with them in a very long line for what seemed like a very long time. Husband decided to wander around the concourses, probably in search of a mens’ room.

While the kids are running around the basepaths, the parents are supposed to make their way from the first base side to the third base side along the warning track. At which point I looked down and realized it was brown turf!

I thought this was kind of strange. I should have taken a picture of it but I didn’t. People probably would have thought it a bit unusual to be taking a picture of the ground, and truthfully, it didn’t cross my mind till much later. Nonetheless, you can kind of see it in the lower right corner of this picture:


If the whole idea of the warning track is to warn a fielder that he’s getting close to the wall, by feeling different underfoot, how is simply making it a different color going to help? The player is looking up in order to catch the ball, not down to see what color the ground is!

Are all the stadiums with artificial surfaces like this? Obviously they can get dirt into the stadium, since it’s around the bases. So what’s with the turf warning track?

If anybody has some insight into this, I’d love to know!



  1. rrrt

    Greg – thank goodness I’m not the only one with these kinds of questions bouncing around in my head!
    Julia – Thanks! Good idea, I think I will ask the Renegade.

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