Artificial Turf Facing Extinction in MLB

One of the joys of the NFL — especially when it comes to handicapping (to say nothing of betting on) NFL games — is getting to use how the visiting team has fared of late on natural grass if they play their home games on artificial turf — Benjamin Lee Eckstein of "America's Line" fame refers to this scenario by using the term "as a visitor on the grass." and how teams that play their home games on natural grass have been doing recently on artificial turf — Eckstein calls this "as a visitor on the carpet" — when making a selection (or a bet).

Eckstein even has a handy term to denote the form of teams that play their home games either in warm climates or in domed stadiums when they have to play at a northern, outdoor site in November or later: "as a visitor in cold weather" — a scenario that of course never really arises in baseball.

And "as a visitor on the grass" and "as a visitor on the carpet" are on the verge of joining "as a visitor in cold weather" as non-existent in the former national pastime.

Where the NFL's turf-grass balance is now at 16-16 due to the Rams and Chargers having crossed over to the turf side last season, only three Major League Baseball teams — the Tampa Bay Rays, the Texas Rangers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks — play their home games on synthetic surfaces (the Diamondbacks having switched from grass to turf at Chase Field in 2019).

Guess this makes baseball's "purists" happy — if anything can.

Maybe they will prevail in football as well: remember how John Madden, who is as "old school" as it gets, famously said that the NFL should get rid of artificial turf — and get rid of "The Wave," as well (the latter is long gone, but the former is more than holding its own).

It is surprising that the NFLPA is not clamoring for giving Madden his wish. Then again, the union couldn't secure a second bye week for each team in exchange for the 17-game schedule, which would have made it possible to give every team playing a Thursday game an automatic bye the week before, and would have given the owners something they purportedly coveted — getting to play the Super Bowl on the Sunday of the Presidents' Day weekend, thus making "Super Bowl Monday" a federal holiday, and causing Roger Goodell's approval rating to join Jennifer Pierce of Black Lightning in the ionosphere, where President Biden will be found as well if he issues an executive order placing Presidents' Day on an equal footing with New Year's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as "major" holidays (currently Presidents' Day is only a "minor" holiday along with Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day, and Veterans Day).

Getting rid of artificial turf is also likely to have a huge positive effect when it comes to player safety — and don't we all want that?

Comments and Conversation

June 17, 2021

lee defreitas:

Extinction at MLB level ?

You got bad info…three MLB teams (Dbacks,Rangers and Marlins) installed synthetic turf in past three years…with orgnaic infill, so just like natural grass.

July 21, 2021

Anthony Brancato:

My source is I’d say that is about as authoritative a source as it gets. These surfaces like “DD Grassmaster” (used by the NFL’s Broncos) are classified as natural grass.

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