For the fifth time in the last 20 years, the Tampa Bay Rays have installed a new artificial playing surface at Tropicana Field. The new system — from Shaw Sports Turf —replaced the AstroTurf that was installed at the facility in 2011.
According to a Feb. 8 report by FOX Sports, the new turf is “supposed to provide a firmer and truer surface” that is “easier on the players.”
The Rays are the first MLB team to use a Shaw Sports Turf product, which cost the franchise around $1 million (pending final contract details), according to a Feb. 7 report on TampaBay.com. Shaw Sports Turf has surfaces throughout the collegiate and professional sports world, including at Georgia Tech, University of Arkansas, University of Maryland, East Tennessee State University and the practice facilities of the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets.
As part of the deal (per TampaBay.com), the Rays have also installed a Shaw Sports Turf infield and practice area at the team’s Port Charlotte, Florida training facility.
The new Tropicana Field synthetic turf is slightly darker than the previous version and has a shallower infill. No changes were made to the infield or paths.
The Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre) are the only two MLB teams that play home games on synthetic turf.