We take the game of baseball serious and so should you, especially if you’re looking to build, repair or maintain a baseball field properly. Simply filling an infield with dirt isn’t the fix for your field; it takes the right mix to meet all the needs you have for your field. So what does that mix look like and why?
A good Baseball infield design starts with the infield skin. The skin is a deeper layer below the finishing layer of dirt in the infield. It’s largely comprised of sand with small amounts of clay and even smaller amounts of silt contents. This layer contributes deep traction, forgiveness to player’s bodies, proper and predictable ball bounce during play and long term durability and drainage for the field. A poor skin can lead to injured players and unenjoyable play and difficulty maintaining the infield in harsh conditions. If the skin is too hard the field is more likely to erode or cause injuries. If the skin is too soft it will become harder to corner and the ball will become more unpredictable when traveling through the infield. In the South, it’s equally important to consider a skin that can endure hot temperatures without cracking or needing to be re-laid.
Having the proper top layer on your field can make a field one of a kind, aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable for players. The top layer of infield dirt should be a centimeter or more thick of conditioned material such infield conditioner or similiar material. This layer keeps player’s cleats from sticking to the lower skin and allows for more controlled sliding on the field. A proper top layering will also help control moisture absorption and help retain the lower skin. If you are having issues maintaining the top layering of your field, it’s likely it isn’t the correct application for your field and should likely be analyzed for possible correction.
Having trained professionals analyze and install your baseball infield is important to the long term durability of the field as well as the playing experience and safety for players. Compromising on infield materials and proper skinning and layering could cause more headaches in the long run when you have to replace the entirety of the field because of premature erosion or player injuries. It’s important to know the ideal conditions and ingredients for a great infield.