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Sports Then and Now



Grass is In at Major League Baseball Stadiums 23

Posted on January 20, 2010 by Don Spieles
In 2010 28 of the 30 MLB teams will be playing on natural grass.

In 2010 28 of the 30 MLB teams will be playing on natural grass.

There’s a famous quote from one of my all time favorite baseball players, Tug McGraw, that goes something like this:

REPORTER:  Tug, Which do you prefer: Grass or AstroTurf?

TUG:  I’ve never smoked AstroTurf…

You have to love the Tugger!

Since its hay day back in the 70’s, artificial turf has been prevalent in professional sports, particularly in baseball.  It’s first appearance in the Houston Astrodome in 1965, and plastic grass has been the bane of baseball purists everywhere from just about day one.

The Astrodome was the world’s first domed sports stadium and, as luck would have it, grass doesn’t grow in the shade.   While the name “AstroTurf” is a trademarked product, the phrase gets used to cover just about all of the nasty dangerous stuff that players have been ravaging their bodies on for decades. There’s the painful “Turf Toe,” which is essentially a type of tendonitis common for athletes playing on artificial surfaces.  Earlier versions used rubber based under-matting that could leach chemicals in to the water table.  The stuff also had the pleasant distinction of needed to be disinfected at regular intervals to prevent mold and smell. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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