Turf wars.

As everyone knows, in about six weeks, the Rangers move into their new Ballpark with synthetic turf. It is being installed right now.

Of course, the Rangers front office is optimistic about it playing and feeling just like real grass. But this is the same front office that was optimistic about Drew Smyly playing and feeling like a real pitcher, so they have lost a lot of credibility points.

As a way to get the players used to playing on that turf, they considered placing that same surface on their spring training field in Surprise. They discovered that wouldn’t be a good idea. While that turf is the alternative for grass in indoor stadiums because it’s difficult to grow real grass inside, that synthetic turf, sitting outside in the brutal Arizona heat, would last two years before having to be replaced.

Grass can’t survive well inside. Turf can’t survive well outside.

For that very reason, tthe Arizona Diamondbacks switched from real grass to the synthetic turf before the 2019 season, the same turf the Rangers are installing in the new Ballpark.

In an end-of-the-season interview with a local Phoenix radio station, Diamondback’s team president and CEO said the new turf “has been phenomenal” and that they’ve had no complaints about it.

Of course, a front office is always going to applaud its decisions. But what about Diamondbacks players? What do they say about the turf which the Rangers players are about to encounter?

Reviews haven’t been so glowing.

Ketel Marte, who converted from the infield to bed Arizona’s center fielder in 2019 (hmmmm, like maybe Nick Solak is about to be), was shut down with a back injury in mid-September. He said the turf was to blame. It “took a toll on me.”

But, immediately after saying that, Marte admitted it might not be solely the turf’s fault. He acknowledged that moving from second back to center meant he suddenly had to do a lot more running, and that contributed to his back problem. Was the surface he was running on to blame?

As Arizona Republic reporter Nick Piencoro noted, “it’s harder on a player’s body than natural grass and requires additional physical maintenance to stay healthy.”

Other Diamondbacks outfielders agree. As Arizona Republic writer Jeremy Cluff reported, Adam Jones mentioned multiple times this season the toll the turf has taken on his body. Left fielder David Peralta echoed those comments. He said, “it can get you pretty good with your hamstring or back and everything.”

But it’s either the synthetic turf or large patches of dead grass all over the outfield, which Arizona had before, which isn’t great to play on either. Players get injured playing on natural grass as well.

So, it’s a balancing act. You can’t sustain grass in a dome. It’s 110 degrees in Arlington in the summer and the Texas heat isn’t beneficial to play under. Like it or not, synthetic turf it is. Rangers outfielders may feel it a bit more in their bones. But those same bones won’t be melting under the nuclear summer. 


GAME TIME: 3:10, 105.3 FM.