Everett Memorial Stadium has been home to many baseball teams over its years, from the local school teams of the Everett Schools to professional teams starting with the Everett Giants in 1984. When the Everett AquaSox were formed in 1995, they inherited the amazing fans, wonderful facilities and have enjoyed its scenic Cascade views ever since.
However with time comes change. The Everett School District, who owns the field, decided this off season that the maintenance issues with the grass playing surface were becoming too troublesome. After each rain event, there were problems with draining the water efficiently from the playing field, which led to an uneven surface and even some standing water on some days.
For the safety of all players (of all ages), it became necessary to address the ongoing issues. Estimated to cost around $1.8 million, the project took most of the off season. Folks passing by the ballpark might have been stunned to see all the tractors and dirt where the field was! The AquaSox contributed $300k in partnership with the school district and Snohomish County, helping provide a new superior surface that will be used for a new generation of players.
This generation will benefit from a more static playing field, which increases the efficiency of practice. Without random divots or marsh-like conditions in the field of play, teams can work in more drills and develop their skills even faster and further. This will lead to better results on the field during games.
The process involved stripping all the existing turf and soil off the field, and essentially rebuilding from scratch. This allowed for better planning of drainage and leveling the play-field to a higher standard. A whole new layer of soil was then built back up and slowly graded to ensure the constant surface. The final layer is the new turf itself, which is a far cry from the old “Astroturf” days. A lot of people don’t even realize the Seattle Seahawks play on a synthetic surface, the technology has come that far. You may not even be able to tell from your seat in the stands that you’re looking at synthetic grass!
While artificial turf isn’t necessarily the optimal surface for baseball purists, it’s easily maintained and can provide far more resilience in our Pacific Northwest climate. Many will miss the smell of freshly cut grass as part of the experience however, with a higher quality of play, fewer health risks for future Mariners, and fewer games delayed for rain the net is a benefit for everyone.
AquaSox General Manager Danny Tetzlaff voiced similar thoughts in a press release last fall, “I’m an old school guy like a lot of folks – you just can’t beat the smell of fresh-cut grass. But I also understand the weather we have here in the Pacific Northwest. This change will allow Everett High School, along with other users, to have more games and practices at their home ballpark. That’s more at-bats and more innings pitched which leads to player development. Making this change to artificial turf is a win for everyone!”
So while it may not seem like the best choice at first glance, even old school baseball purists are forced to agree that this is the future and it only increases the capabilities of the facility and aids the players as they seek their dreams of playing professional ball.
We begin another exciting year of AquaSox baseball by dedicating the new field and offering a small token to the fans who visit Opening Day, a small sample of the old field to take home. Come out and help us celebrate the transition, break in the new field properly with some Frog Baseball and bridge the gap to the next generation of players. Who knows, maybe there will be a giveaway later this year providing grass-scented air fresheners to fans missing the fresh grass cut smell?
Keep your eyes out for all kinds of fun promotions and enjoy 2018 AquaSox Baseball!