Field Notes: Minute Maid Field, Home of the Houston Astros

As you're sprucing up your lawn this spring, baseball grounds crews are getting their turf in tiptop shape. Don't miss these great photos, fun facts and insider tips from some of the country's most popular ballparks.
By: Astros Dot Com

Photo By: Stephen Dunn

Photo By: Brad Mangin

Photo By: Chris Graythen

Photo By: Scott Halleran

Photo By: Rich Pilling

Photo By: Mitchell Layton

Photo By: Rich Pilling

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Check out these photos and learn about what goes on behind the scenes at Minute Maid Park. And don't forget to vote for Houston on our "Pin Your Turf" Pinterest board.
Here are some team facts:
-Major news for 2013 is that the Astros moved from the National League to the American League where they will now face fellow Texas team the Rangers on a regular basis in the American League West.
-The team has a new manager this year in Bo Porter as well as a new logo. The fan slogan for this season is "It's a whole new ballgame."
-The team mascot is Orbit.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: What type of grass is used for the field's turf?
A: Seashore Paspalum is the primary turf grass at Minute Maid Field. It is grown on a farm in southern Georgia and delivered on an as-needed basis. Tal's Hill, the wide centerfield incline, is planted in Zoysia grass.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: How many people serve on the grounds crew?
A: The full-time grounds crew consists of six people. Dan oversees the department. Willie, a 40-year MLB groundskeeping veteran, handles the care of the pitching mounds and all of the netting. Izzy is assistant groundskeeper, and leads the part-time crew and maintains the home plate areas. Chris handles infield mowing duties and warning track care. James handles the outfield mowing duties. Cade is the crew's super-utility versatile worker and jumps in where needed.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: What kind of soil is used in the stadium, and where does it come from?
A: The growing media for the playing surface is a USGA-specification golf-green construction — 10 inches of root-zone sand over four inches of drainage gravel. Drain lines are placed every 20 feet below the gravel layer. All sand and gravel used in the field is native to Texas. The infield soils and packing clays are shipped in from Tennessee. The soil for the warning track is delivered from Phoenix.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: What is the general schedule of work that leads up to game day?
A: The general schedule of work on a game day involves repairing all damage to the field from the previous night's game and preparing all areas of the field for game time. Pitching mounds are repaired to specification, the infield dirt is worked and all divots are erased. Among the many tasks that go into the prep work: The turf grass gets mown, all bubble gum and sunflower seeds are picked up, and the warning track is re-leveled.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: How often is the grass on the field mowed during the season?
A: The field gets mowed as needed — which varies during the calendar year from once per week to twice per day. One special challenge in terms of the grass is the ballpark's retractable roof. Since it blocks sunlight, it impedes the photosynthesis process in the turf plants.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: How are the turf patterns created?
A: The Houston crew favors mowing the field straight back-and-forth rather than laying intricate mowing patterns. Part of this is due to the challenges of growing turf grass indoors. The preference is to leave the stress of the extra mowing off of the beautiful Paspalum turf grass.

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Q: How are lines, logos and other decorations applied to the field? What kinds of paints or tints are used?
A:The Astros crew uses a combination of chalk and paint to mark our foul lines daily, and we use premium athletic field paint to hand-paint any logos we paint on the grass.
Learn more about the Astros at astros.com or check out the next ballpark: Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.