Far too many baseball field owners fall into the misperception that baseball fields are made of dirt and that any old dirt will do for their field. This idea is the furthest thing from the truth. Ordinary soil is simply too inconsistent and likely to erode. Baseball field mixes are very strategic mixes applied in a variety of layers to create the highest performing field for players, and most durable for groundskeepers. Here are a few ingredients that go into a quality infield mix and the purpose they serve on the field.
The most important ingredient in an infield is clay. Clay primarily contributes overall strength to the infield mix and is included in smaller ratios in the infield and in larger rations on the mound where pitchers are constantly digging into the ground with their cleats. Clay also assists in holding moisture in the infield and mound areas to prevent the skin from completely drying which eventually leads to damage.
Silt is a medium sized grain between clay (the smallest) and sand (the largest). Silt works as a go-agent with sand to assist in providing structure to the infield. When having an infield laid it’s important that silt is the smallest percentage of the mixture as it’s the most likely ingredient to crack when dry. It’s important to note that without silt an infield would largely be made up of quick draining material (sand) and slow draining material (clay) and would be extremely difficult to maintain a constant moisture level in the soil.
The last ingredient in baseball field mix is sand. Like silt, sand works as a co-agent to assist with structuring the field, and providing a solid, well-draining, forgiving base for the field. Sand tends to be the dominant material in baseball infield compositions as it allows for the most constant drainage and doesn’t crack when dry.
The makeup of a baseball field mix works in unison with one another. Without clay, keeping a field hydrated would be extremely difficult and very dusty. Without the support and flexibility of sand, baseball fields would be slick when wet and crack when dry. They would also be very hard and unsafe to play on. We believe proper mix of ingredients is a must when building or repairing a baseball field and could save large amounts of time and money in repairs in the future.