The Fredericksburg Nationals will be the first Minor League Baseball team in the country playing on a new state-of-the-art synthetic grass surface when the stadium opens April 23.
The FredNats announced today that they decided to go with the synthetic surface to increase the variety of events that would be possible at the stadium next to the Fredericksburg Expo Center. The only other professional baseball teams in the country using this surface are Major League teams including the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers.
Here is the news release from the FredNats:
Fredericksburg Nationals will install state-of-the-art synthetic grass at their new stadium in Fredericksburg in partnership with Shaw Sports Turf. The high-performance B1K™ surface is designed specifically for baseball and is expected to be ready for Opening Day in April 2020.
The “Batting a Thousand” Natural Turf (B1K) is a dual fiber system comprised of Shaw Sports Turf’s high-performance Strenexe® XD slit film and Shaw’s Bolt® monofilament. This system provides high durability and functionality by preventing the infill from “splashing,” maintaining adequate infill levels across the field. The Bolt fiber provides excellent ball roll, friction and natural grass aesthetics, ensuring that the playing surface at Fredericksburg will be elite and consistent.
“I’m happy the Silber family put their trust in Shaw Sports Turf. Dr. Philipe Aldahir’s field playability testing has allowed Shaw Sports Turf to emerge as the unquestioned leader in the baseball world. There was no doubt that a championship organization like the Fredericksburg Nationals would take the time to do their due diligence and care about player safety and performance. Now, the Fredericksburg Nationals will have the premier baseball field on the east coast,” said Territory Manager, Andrew Barksdale.
Fredericksburg Nationals principal owner and Chairman Art Silber lauded the relationship with Shaw. “Early in our stadium development plans, we decided to explore synthetic grass to increase the flexibility of the use of our stadium. Obviously, our primary concern was player safety and the playability of the field. Through working closely we Shaw we were convinced their product was first in class for the players, our fans, and our operation. We are thrilled to be the first minor league team to install this outstanding surface.”
Philipe Aldahir, Ph.D. is Shaw Sports Turf’s Director of Research and Innovation and has developed a system of benchmarking playability characteristics of elite playing surfaces. This research allows for those characteristics to be replicated in a Shaw Sports Turf system. The goal is to not only be the best artificial turf surface, but the best playing surface – period.
The Geofill® Performance Infill within the blades forms a firm surface similar to natural soil with lower energy rebound levels identical to high-performance natural grass. The result is a more natural playing posture and motion from the players, creating less fatigue as their bodies will not have to overcompensate for the “bounciness” of the surface. The B1K surface also creates natural baseball bounce, allowing players to charge the ball confidently while fielding.
The Fredericksburg Nationals commitment to sustainability also played a role in the change, as the Geofill infill is made from natural materials that are environmentally friendly. The transition to a synthetic playing surface is expected to provide significant savings in water consumption each season by requiring less water to maintain the system. It will also allow the Fredericksburg Nationals to conduct additional events on the field including concerts, City of Fredericksburg sponsored events, and numerous other youth and community activities.
With improved technology over the last several years, synthetic grass surfaces have become commonplace throughout collegiate and professional sports, with several MLB teams recently opting to go with Shaw’s B1K system, including the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Shaw Industries is a full flooring provider to the residential and commercial markets. Shaw supplies carpet, hardwood, laminate, resilient, and tile/stone flooring products, as well as synthetic turf. Shaw Sports Turf is one of the leading synthetic turf companies in North America and has represented quality and innovation for more than two decades with over 3,000 successful installations, including an impressive list of high-profile field installations. STRENEXE, BOLT, BATTING A THOUSAND and B!K are trademarks of Shaw Contract Flooring Services, Inc.
The Fredericksburg Nationals are set to begin Carolina League play in 2020 at a brand new, state of the art stadium facility, located at Celebrate Virginia South on Carl D. Silver Parkway near the Fredericksburg Expo & Convention Center in Fredericksburg, VA. Stay up to date with the progress of the new ballpark facility and the team online at www.frednats.com and follow the Fredericksburg Nationals on Facebook (@FXBGNats), on Twitter (@FXBGNats), and on Instagram (@fxbgnats).
Geofill is a registered trademark of Italgreen SPA.