Field Notes: Coliseum, Home of the Oakland Athletics

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: Oakland Athletics Dot Com

Photo By: Brad Mangin

Photo By: Jed Jacobsohn

Photo By: Michael Zagaris

Photo By: Michael Zagaris

Photo By: Jason O. Watson

Photo By: Michael Zagaris Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Check out these photos and learn about what goes on behind the scenes at Coliseum. And don't forget to vote for Oakland on our "Pin Your Turf" Pinterest board.
Here are some team facts:
-The Oakland A's had a great year in 2012 and ended the season as the American League West Champions.
-The A's recently added outfielder Chris Young, formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
-The Oakland fan slogan is "green collar baseball." Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Q: What type of grass is used for the field's turf?
A: The field uses over-seeded Tifway 419 Bermuda grass. It comes from West Coast Turf in the Coachella Valley near Palm Desert, Calif. Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Q: How many people serve on the grounds crew, and what are their roles and specializations?
A: There are seven groundskeepers plus the head groundskeeper. Specialties within the crew include mowing, mound maintenance, infield dirt maintenance, home plate and base path care, warning track maintenance and bullpen maintenance. Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Q: How is the field surface constructed, and are there special or "hidden" features to help manage irrigation or maintenance?
A: The field at uses an extensive drainage system, four-inch drain lines cut into the sub-grade that feed an 18-inch main line. The drains are covered with four inches of pea gravel. On top is a 12-inch sand root-zone, then 3/4-inch-thick sod. Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Q: What kind of soil is used on the field, and where does it come from?
A: The USGA-spec sand from Brown Sand in Manteca, Calif., is used for the root zone. Allen's Processed Clay from Allen's Valley Loam in Stockton, Calif., is used for the infield dirt. The warning track uses a mix of 80 percent volcanic cinders and 20 percent clay. It comes from West Coast Sand & Gravel. Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Q: What is the general schedule of work that leads up to game day?
A: General maintenance is performed when the team is on the road until the day before they come home. At that point, the normal game-day routine begins which, among other things, includes: mowing in one direction; watering and nail-dragging the infield dirt; tamping and preparing the mound and bullpen mounds; tamping home plate; nail-dragging the base paths; screen-dragging the infield and base paths; hand-raking all of our edges; and nali-dragging, screen-dragging then watering the warning track. Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

Q: How are the turf patterns created?
A: The infield mowing pattern was designed by the groundskeeper about 14 years ago, simply sketched out on a piece of paper using two highlighters. That same pattern has been used ever since. The pattern does not change during the season.
Learn more about the Oakland Athletics at or check out the next ballpark: Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

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