Nat Bailey Stadium could have a new playing surface in 2017.
Steve Ewen from The Vancouver Province says the Vancouver Canadians are considering installing AstroTurf at Nat Bailey Stadium because of “too many wicked hops in the infield the past couple of seasons.”
According to owner Jake Kerr, the club will present a plan to the Park Board about capital improvements to the field this spring. One possibility includes a turf infield with a grass outfield. One such stadium with that setup is Telus Field in Edmonton. The team will also seek the input of Blue Jays management on what to do with the playing surface.
Telus Field in Edmonton, former home of the AAA Edmonton Trappers and the independent CrackerCats and Capitals, with its turf infield and grass outfield – something that could be coming to Nat Bailey Stadium. (Image from LittleBallParks.com)
Having spent the summer of 2007 in Edmonton where I watched numerous games of the Edmonton CrackerCats, a turf infield is not a good look. After witnessing games in Bellingham and Hillsboro and their turf fields, I hope this is not going to become a reality at Nat Bailey Stadium. There may be practical reasons (cost, maintenance, safety) for going with turf but it would soil (pun totally intended!) the atmosphere of an old time park like The Nat.
To paraphrase Dick Allen, “If a horse can’t eat it, I don’t want to watch a game on it.”
Ewen’s article also touches upon the C’s current relationship with the parent Toronto Blue Jays, which Kerr calls a “positive one” despite criticizing the Jays for their mistreatment of current president emeritus Paul Beeston during the 2015 Canadians hot stove luncheon. Hopefully, the good feelings will lead to an extension of the Player Development Contract between the two sides. The Jays and C’s will continue being partners for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.