Saturday, August 03, 2013

Meanwhile, Back At The Chavez Ravine Ranch

I'm totally excited for the soccer matches at Dodger Stadium this evening, and jealous that I won't be able to attend. Kevin Baxter of the LAT had a great piece about all the work that had to be done to pull tonight's event off:

The first thing to go was the pitcher's mound, which was shrouded in black cloth before being jackhammered into fine dust.

Then came the infield, with the grounds crew digging deep into the dirt to create trenches running from foul line to foul line, and filling them in with sod and covering it with grass.

By early Friday morning the transformation was complete and the field at Dodger Stadium, among the most handsome and stately in baseball, had become a soccer pitch.

In its 51-year history, Dodger Stadium has welcomed the Beatles and the Harlem Globetrotters. It was where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass, where the Three Tenors performed musical miracles and where bullfighters, ski-jumpers and monster trucks competed.

But until Saturday, no one has ever played soccer there.

"This is going to be a challenge," says Eric Hansen, the Dodgers' assistant director for turf and grounds. "This is new to us."

Spain's Real Madrid and English Premier League club Everton will have the honor of playing the first soccer match in stadium history when they meet at 5 p.m. in the semifinals of the International Champions Cup. Italian titlist Juventus then meets the Major League Soccer champion Galaxy at 7:30 in the second game of the only doubleheader to be played at Dodger Stadium this summer.

The conversion from baseball diamond to soccer field required 12,500 square feet of new sod and Bermuda grass, which took Hansen and his crew of nine two days to place, smooth and outline. The temporary field, which is about 210 feet wide, runs parallel to the right-field line starting just outside the third base coaching box and extending 315 feet to the warning track in right field.

Because the soccer field will encompass the area where the pitcher's mound and most of the infield sits, the mound was removed and the area below it leveled and covered with grass. The skin of the infield was also topped with grass but only after three-quarter-inch ditches were carved, making the new sod level with the adjoining outfield grass.

The new field, which was rolled with a 11/2-ton roller, isn't completely level — the area around the former mound has a noticeable slope and much of the usual infield area feels squishy underfoot. The temporary grass is also a much lighter green and has a different cut.

"You do the best you can with the time you have," says Hansen, who also covered the white foul lines with a green turf colorant.

Good luck, Real Madrid (vs. Everton) and LA Galaxy (vs. Juventus)!


Dusty Baker said...

Piss on you, Ronaldo!

Fred's Brim said...

I don't like this. We shouldn't be messing with the field during the season.

Dusty Baker said...

I agree. Throws the juju off.

BJ Killeen said...

I hate this. What a dumb idea during the season...

Dusty Baker's Toothpick said...

Dodgers Stadium also hosted THE CURE on the Disintegration tour in 1989.

There was no Dodger blue that night. It was all goth and deathrockness.

Steve Sax said...

I've been at Dodger stadium for U2 as well as the Police

Hideo Nomo said...

My mom saw the Beatles there. I saw Depeche Mode.

Cliff Beefpile said...

My parents saw Elton John there. My sisters saw Michael Jackson. I wish I'd seen The Cure or Depeche Mode there.

spank said...

Geaux soccer!

Fred's Brim said...

The Real Madrid - Everton game is on regular Fox. The sod they put down around the infield is yellow compared to the regular grass. It's sad to see the spot where the mound was. There is a goal at third base. The goalie has to step out of a hole where Uribe usually stands.