Artificial Turf Is Making a Comeback in Major League Baseball

In 1988 Bull Durham, Kevin Costner’s character Crash Davis says, “I believe there should be a constitutional change banning AstroTurf and the batsman-designate.”

It’s a good thing Davis doesn’t play in MLB these days as the designated batsman is alive in half the league and artificial turf is enjoying a resurgence.

Before the 2020 season began, three of the 30 MLB teams – the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, and Miami Marlins – switched from grass to artificial turf. While it’s only three teams, that’s actually quite a big increase as only two teams (the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Center with retractable roof and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field) played on artificial turf last season.

The turf that the Rangers, D-Backs and Marlins will play on is called B1K and is made by Shaw Sports Turf of Georgia. Although synthetic, teams believe that the imitation grass mimics reality in terms of the game and the effects it has on players’ bodies.

“We didn’t want the best Major League Baseball turf, we wanted the best Major League Baseball playing surface,” said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of business operations for Rangers, to the Wall Street Journal. “People might say baseball should be played on grass. I would say it should be played on the best surface we can bet our players on. “

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