On Wednesday November 11, 2015, history was made at Minute Maid Park. The home of the Houston Astros became the second professional baseball ground in the United States to host a cricket match. The Cricket All Stars played an exhibition game featuring retired cricket stars, the most popular being Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne.
How was this accomplished? Careful and extensive planning along with great work and cooperation from the Minute Maid Park Grounds Crew.
Let’s start back in late May/early June 2015. Design of the steel trays began. On July 21, 2015 steel trays, designed by Mark Perham from FieldTurfNZ arrived at the J&D Turf warehouse. On July 23-24 the trays were filled with clay and carefully leveled. Entering the prime seeding window for cool season turf the trays were seeded with 100% apron treated ryegrass on August 25. A temporary irrigation system as installed, growth blankets placed and the grow-in commenced.
7 days later germination was present and by late September (approximately 35 days after seeding) the wickets were ready for initial preparations.
Wicket prep continued during the month of October.
Moving day began on November 7. The Minute Maid Park tray was loaded onto 2 flat bed trucks in Indianapolis, Indiana, and carefully wrapped for the trip to Houston, TX.
The trucks arrived in at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on November 9.
Preparation continued Tuesday and Wednesday.
The match took place at 8 PM on Wednesday November 11. Attendance figures exceeded 20,000 while TV and Internet viewers were in the 30-50 million range around the world.
Removal of the portable wicket took place on Thursday November 12 and the wickets were back on the road to Indianapolis by 4 PM.
Overall, a great success. Many people made this possible, but I can’t say thanks enough to the cooperation of the Minute Maid Park Grounds Crew. Their hard work, assistance, and attention to detail was exceptional. The “grow-in team” with J&D Turf in Indianapolis was exceptional. Finally, the design and hands on work of Mark Perham of FieldTurfNZ and his team was the driving force to making all of this possible.
So there you go, innovation at it’s best - Round 2!
Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.