HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have installed a new grass infield and outfield at Minute Maid Park for the 2015 season. Tonight's 7:10 p.m. game vs. the Kansas City Royals will be the first game played on the new surface.
The new grass (Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE) was purchased from a farm in Georgia and then moved to a farm in Alabama for custom care in July. The sod was custom-grown to the Astros specifications, delivered and installed by the same crew that grew and installed the grass used at University of Phoenix Stadium for the 2015 Super Bowl.
26 truckloads of sod were delivered to Minute Maid Park and installed during a two-day period in March, following the Houston College Classic baseball tournament. Lasers were used to on the grading equipment to ensure a level and smooth surface.
The grass type (Seashore Paspalum), which has been used at Minute Maid Park since 2008, was selected due to its ability to handle time under the roof without sunlight.
Astros Senior Director of Major League Field Operations, Dan Bergstrom, has overseen the playing field at Minute Maid Park since 2004. Despite the challenges of working in a ballpark with a roof and the intense Houston summer heat, Bergstrom and his crew have maintained one of the most attractive playing fields in Major League Baseball. In 2013, Minute Maid Park was named "Texas Baseball Field of the Year" by the Texas Turfgrass Association.
Bergstrom's full-time crew consists of Willie Berry, Izzy Hinojosa, Chris Wolfe, James Vaughn and Sixto Zapata.
The new playing surface is just one of many upgrades at Minute Maid Park as the Astros continue to invest in the fan experience. On Tuesday, the new Mazda Club level was unveiled along with Aramark's attractive, new menu items. Also, significant upgrades to the Minute Maid Park retractable roof were made this offseason as well.
In recent years, in addition to the improvements made this offseason, the Astros have also renovated the Diamond Club, main concourse level and installed a new, state-of-the art the sound system. The player's clubhouse and workout room were also renovated. All of the aforementioned upgrades have been done since Jim Crane's group took control of the Astros following the 2011 season.