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What Does Field Drainage Have to Do with Player Safety?

June 28, 2021 | Categories: ,
Baseball player feet running to base on field, dirt and dust moving from action of athlete

There’s no question that drainage is an essential part of field management, but do you know how critical it is to player safety?

Improper field drainage can create dangerous playing conditions in a variety of ways. It can leave the surface wet and slick, putting players at risk of slipping and spraining their ankles. Or, it can make the field dry and footing difficult. A dusty field also poses health risks, as it forces players to inhale the infield mix. To prevent these health and safety issues, you have to be selective about your drainage solutions. That means saying no to some options, like the ones below.

Don’t trench the field.

Trenching only provides a temporary fix — not to mention that it causes costly damage to the field, which will eventually have to be repaired. It’s more efficient and often more cost-effective to manage drainage problems with lasting solutions. Rather than dig a trench through your field, focus on the composition of the field itself.

Don’t install excessive drainage.

It may sound counterintuitive, but more drainage mechanisms are not always your best option for moisture maintenance. On the infield, for example, drain tiles and catch basins can actually do more harm than good when the infield mix clogs them. Catch basins are more effective in parts of the outfield without much traffic, where you won’t have to worry about them clogging. If you do install drains in the outfield, avoid backfilling them — that will only counteract the purpose of the drainage system.

Don’t compromise on the quality of your infield mix.

What can you do to maintain proper drainage for player safety? Invest in your infield mix. This means maintaining a good silt-to-clay ratio (SCR) so that water naturally drains through the layers of the field without leaving the surface slick or making it crack when it dries. Recommendations for SCR are dependent on how the field is used, and your sales representative can help you determine the right ratio for your needs. Taking care of drainage also includes maintaining an appropriate grade on the field so water flows off it.

In the case of field drainage, less is more. Rather than invest in complex drains and systems, spend your time and money perfecting your infield mix. This is the best way to ensure proper drainage for player safety.

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