A minor-league baseball landmark is getting a major-league call-up.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals will play a special regular season game – to celebrate youth baseball — during the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, Aug. 20 (7 p.m.) at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.
The Little League World Series occurs Aug. 17-27 at Howard J. Lamade & Little League Volunteer stadiums, both of which are about 6 miles from BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field (home of the Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters).
BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field opened in 1926. The only other current MiLB venue that’s older is Asheville, North Carolina’s McCormick Field, which opened in 1924.
As far as the field renovation leading up to the game — dubbed the MLB Little League Classic — BrightView Design Group created a field design and then handed the project off to BrightView’s Sports Turf and Development teams, which arrived in snow-covered Williamsport on March 1. BrightView teams began by removing 1.5 feet of material from the existing field. “We started by installing a new drainage system and irrigation, then 4 inches of pea gravel and the root-zone level of the playing surface, followed by 4 inches of infield clay mix,” says Dennis Winkler, general superintendent of construction at BrightView Landscape Development. “We faced some challenges getting the new material to subgrade due to the weather.”
BrightView brought in 6,000 tons of sand and root-zone material to build the field. To get the surface to MLB standards, a laser brought the surface to within 0.25 inches of the finished grade.
After the sod was installed in late May, final grades were set and additional measurements were taken to ensure the field met all MLB specifications before the Crosscutters’ home opener on June 20.
The game is a part of MLB and its Players Association’s commitment to growing the sport of baseball at the youth level. Players from both the Pirates and Cardinals plan to attend the Little League World Series games, welcoming the Little Leaguers and their families to Bowman Field for the MLB showcase later that evening.
“We’ve worked with Major League Baseball for several years on fields around the world and we’re honored to work on this project in Williamsport,” says Murray Cook, president of BrightView Sports Turf. “The Crosscutters and our other partners on-site have been great and we can’t wait for game day.”