It’s not uncommon for field managers to tinker with their facilities, but Red Sox personnel are hoping the tweaks will result in a better season at Fenway Park.
In short, there’s more grass.
According to an article in USA TODAY, the grass between the pitcher’s mound and the base paths, specifically the cutouts around the bases and home plate, has been extended. Additional grass on the infield can have effects on both offense and defense.
“Offensively,” the article notes, “it can slow some ground balls down, turning singles into outs. Defensively, it can give fielders better reads on groundballs. Grass is often more consistent than the dirt. So, an extra hop by a ball on grass can give a fielder more confidence in his approach to the ball.”
The potential game-changer wasn’t the overriding reason for the tweaks, though. In the off-season, Fenway has hosted quite an array of events, including football (both high school and a Notre Dame-Boston College game) – and something probably entirely unexpected by many in the area, Big Air, a snowboarding and freeskiing competition. (Want to learn more about that, including shots from the GoPro helmet cam? Go here.)
But back to the field. It needed some help after all that action in non-baseball season. The entire field was re-sodded, according to the article, and new grassy areas were added. The effect, officials say, is more in keeping with other MLB parks around the country.