NEW YORK – The traditional rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will take a radical turn when they meet in London next month: they will play on artificial turf for the first time in their rivalry, covering more than 2,200 games.
Major League Baseball has access to the Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games of June 29 and 30, the first regular season contests in Europe, and only five days after the liquidation. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.
Starting on June 6, gravel will be placed on the deck that protects the West Ham grass football field and the athletic track that is a legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to The modern surfaces used by some major league clubs will be installed on top of that.
"It's the first Yankees and Red Sox game out of the country, so why not many new things?" New York pitcher CC Sabathia said. "I think he'll be fine".
As of June 4, 141,913 square feet of FieldTurf Vertex will be transported by truck from the company's plant in Auchel, France, a little over 150 miles to a storage facility outside of London, according to Murray Cook, the consultant field of sport.
Clay for the pitcher's mound and main course area comes from DuraEdge in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Turface Athletics, near Chicago, provides the soil conditioner, while mound tamping, in-field crawling and nail scratches are from Beacon Athletics in Middleton, Wisconsin. Materials from the United States, including 345 tons of land in 18 40-foot containers, left Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, during the third week of April and arrived on May 18 at the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk, about 95 miles from London. The fencing of the fence was made in Covermaster outside Toronto and was sent from Montreal.
"We looked at each other very hard to make a natural grass system," Cook said. "We go with a synthetic system and it helps us in several ways, it's a bit more sustainable, because we'll be back next year, if we were with a natural turf system, we'd have to demolish everything." , throw it away and then buy it again, rebuild it all, drop it again. "
Only three of the 30 major league teams play on artificial surfaces: Toronto, Tampa Bay and Arizona. Rogers Center in Toronto and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, have never had turf. Arizona changed this season from grass to grass, as did Texas when its new stadium opens next spring.
The Olympic Stadium, like the regular stadiums, will have a full dirt field instead of the popular square patches of ground during the height of the artificial turf: there was a maximum of 10 synthetic fields in the big leagues from 1977 to & # 39 ; 78 and again from 1982 to & # 39; 94
"I guess it's like Toronto or Tampa, so that should not be a problem," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Toronto has played in AstroTurf 3D Xtreme since 2016 and in Tampa Bay in Shaw Sports Turf since 2017. Arizona changed grass to Shaw Sports B1K this year, and Texas will use Shaw Sports Turf when it moves to the new Globe Life Field next year.
"If we had never played on the turf, it would be different, but we played on the turf", shortstop of the Red Sox Xander Bogaerts said.
New York and Boston have played 2,196 times, with four more games at Yankee Stadium from May 30 to June 2. New York has an advantage of 1,191-991 with 14 draws, plus a 12-11 lead in postseason clashes.
Boston is the home team for both games in London, but the Yankees and the Red Sox will wear their white uniforms. When the Yankees played for the last time abroad, in a two-game series at the Tokyo Dome in 2004, New York wore house stripes and grays from the Devil Rays road, even though Tampa Bay was the team from home and was the last to hit.
Foul posts, the eye of a batter, a back and a fencing will be erected, along with two dugouts: the Red Sox on the side of first base and the Yankees on the third. Temporary clubhouses will be built on the warm-up track below the stands (the football locker rooms are too small), along with batting cages. Because holes can not be made on the athletics track, the weights will secure the fences, similar to what was installed when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Diamondbacks played in 2014 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
Cook helped convert The Oval, a London cricket ground that opened in 1845, for games between minor leaguers in the Boston and New York Mets in October 1993. The first of the two games was suspended by The rain.
The Olympic Stadium will also host the games of the major leagues in 2020, a series between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals is the main candidate.
"This way we have a synthetic turf system that has two games this year, two games next year and then the commissioner can do whatever he wants to do with the system, whether he wants to have another event somewhere, sell or donate it or whatever they want to do, "Cook said.
The dimensions of the field will be 330 feet for each foul line, but only 385 feet to the center with a 16-foot wall.
"We've done all the home run studies," Cook said. "We have comparable distances."
"I just have to keep the ball on the ground, I guess," he said.