The Diamondbacks are installing artificial turf

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The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today that they are switching from natural grass to artificial turf. The synthetic stuff will be ready to go for the 2019 season.

Team president Derrick Hall, who calls the it “state-of-art” synthetic grass, says it will be better for players as the type of natural grass that they could get to grow in the challenging environment of “indoors and in the desert” was hard and rather unforgiving and had a tendency to break up and cause players to slip. It’ll be better for fans too, Hall says, because they won’t have to keep the roof open during the day to grow the grass, which makes it rather stuffy in the ballpark until the air conditioner has had a chance to catch up in the evening. It’ll obviously help save on cooling costs and will conserve a lot of water as well. According to the Diamondbacks it’ll cut water usage by 90% and will save two million gallons a year.

All of which makes one wonder why they bothered to build a retractable roof ballpark instead of a straight dome in the first place. I suppose the answer is “it was the 90s and we still believed we could do difficult things fairly easily then” or something like it. It probably also has to do with fake grass being better now than it was over 20 years ago when Chase Field was designed.

From an aesthetics standpoint, it will not look like those 1970s turf fields, as the warning track, the infield, and the path between home plate and the mound will remain dirt as opposed to having those sliding pits that used to be so common.

I’m generally pro-grass and anti-turf, but I think it’s fair to suspend those preferences when we’re talking about playing in the desert. If it was for no reason other than water and energy savings it’d be worth it, but given that the grass in Chase Field is not up to snuff should make it a pretty easy case to go fake.

Clayton Kershaw returning to Dodgers on 1-year, $20M deal

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LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2023 after signing a one-year, $20 million deal.

For the second straight year, the Dodgers didn’t extend a qualifying offer to the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Instead, they gave him additional time to mull his future, and he once again decided to stay with the only franchise he’s ever played for during his 15-year major league career.

The deal includes a $5 million signing bonus payable on June 30, a salary of $15 million and a hotel suite on road trips.

The 34-year-old left-hander was 12-3 with 2.28 ERA in 22 starts last season. He struck out 137 and walked 23. Kershaw made his ninth All-Star team and started the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career at Dodger Stadium.

Last April, he became the franchise’s all-time strikeout leader with 2,697. He reached 2,800 strikeouts in his last start of the regular season on Oct. 5 against Colorado. Kershaw ranks 24th all-time with 2,807.

Kershaw has a career record of 197-87 with a 2.48 ERA. He won his only World Series title in 2020, when the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay during the pandemic-shortened season.