Unseasonably wet weather and muddy fields have forced City College to postpone baseball and softball games, placing teams at risk of not reaching the playoffs.
The men’s baseball team has played 10 games. Other teams in the state have played 19 this season and this is partially thanks to their turf fields. Over the past weekend, City College has had to postpone games for both the softball and baseball teams.
The women’s softball team has played 12 games, and two games have been postponed.
“We may not even be able to go to the playoffs,” Jeff Walker, coach of the men’s baseball team, said. ”We’re also in jeopardy of not hosting the playoffs this year, because of the wear and tear on the field.”
City College has hosted the past eight baseball playoffs, winning five. The lack of proper playing fields might rob players of their home court advantage.
“This affects not only player statistics,” Walker said. “This affects their chance at playing at a four-year university and even being drafted by the big leagues.”
Walker has sent 91 men from his baseball teams from City College to play at four year universities, 13 of those from his 2018 team, and 12 drafted by major league teams.
City College is responsible for the infield maintenance at Pershing Park. They share the baseball fields with the city, who are responsible for the maintenance in the outfield.
“Typically our games get knocked out for two to three days after the rain stops, in order for the fields to dry,” Rocco Constantino, director of athletics at City College, said. “It is a big inconvenience to us, the coaches, the players and the city too.”
The parks are used by the city’s recreation programs as well as the Foresters, a California Collegiate League team. The field is also at sea level, so it doesn’t take much to drench the field. All of these factors lead to poor playing conditions.
City College has talked with AstroTurf representatives, who sent samples of turf and drew preliminary designs. However, the big road block is acquiring funding for the project.
“There are a lot of costs that go with that,” Constantino said. “Depending on how much work has to go in to the foundation, it could be a project that could cost over a million dollars.”
The city is aware of the college’s intentions to turn the infield into turf but they haven’t seen an official proposal.
“City College needs to be able to mastermind the feasibility of this project,” Rich Hanna, assistant parks and recreation director, said. “They need to identify their finances, how this will be paid for.”
Constantino is confident that there would be environmental and financial benefits and that turf “would save money in the long run.”
Grass fields require herbicides and pesticides, watering, and other lawn maintenance. With turf, supplies aren’t needed and labor hours are cut down. This also eliminates harmful chemicals and lawn mower carbon emissions.
The city is currently experimenting with adding turf fields to Ortega Park and Dwight Murphy Park.
“The city has been supportive. They want to upgrade their field too,” Constantino said.
City College will be hosting games March 5 and March 7, weather pending.