AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The 2019 home-opener for the Auburn Doubledays is just under a month away, but when the team takes the field on June 16 they won’t be playing on grass.
After a multi-million dollar renovation, the Washington Nationals Class-A affiliate will be playing on a new AstroTurf field, but that’s just the most visible improvement made at Falcon Park in the last 12 months.
“The groundskeeper and I picked the pattern, we wanted to make sure there was a pattern in the turf, so it looked like real grass,” said Auburn Doubledays General Manager, Adam Winslow.
Other additions include new LED lights from Ephesus, a digital scoreboard, padded walls around the entire field, new foul ball netting and updated dugouts. For player development reasons, however, the field maintains a dirt pitchers mound and home plate area.
The previous grass field often had limited use said Winslow, three to four months out of the year, but the switch to turf means Falcon Park can now operate nearly year-round.
“We’re going to have men’s and women’s soccer play here in the fall, we’re going to have men’s and women’s lacrosse, girl’s softball and men’s baseball in the spring,” said Winslow.
The benefits of turf have been clearly evident this spring. Falcon Park has already hosted twenty games at both at the high school and collegiate levels, while teams in other areas have been struggling to find field time given the higher than average rain.
The Falcon Park turf drains at a rate of four feet of water per hour and is the same material used at the Toronto Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre.
“I think being able to utilize the park, way more often than not, both for our professional athletes, but the college and high school teams that come and visit. I think that’s a piece people have loved,” said Winslow.
Tickets for the Auburn Doubledays home-opener range from $8 – $12. A free movie will follow the game.