New sod makes sure Kauffman Stadium stays green

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- Crews are laying new sod at Kauffman Stadium in the first major rehab of the baseball playing surface since artificial turf was removed in 1994.

The Royals director of grounds and landscaping says keeping the grass green in Kansas City is no easy task.

This field has been totally rebuilt from the bottom up.

Crews dug down about 20 inches to remove sod, sand and gravel.

The Royals are spending about $1-million to install a new irrigation system and improve the drainage with new sand, gravel and infield clay.

Drainage had diminished during the last 20 years to the point where the field could only handle about a five inch rain. Kansas City had two or three of those last summer alone.

"Your players have to be comfortable and confident in their playing surface," said Trevor Vance, senior director of grounds and landscaping. "We want to provide them the same thing April 1, June 1, August 1, to have capability of drainage, quality bluegrass, have best dirt in baseball, and a warning track that drains but yet is firm."

The special bluegrass blend being installed was grown in Colorado and should be ready for Opening Day as Kansas City continue to have one of the best fields in Major League Baseball.

Vance also hopes keeping the field as one of best playing surfaces may help convince a free agent or two to put on a Royals uniform.

The Royals also are in the process of upgrading to LED lighting at the stadium, which may help save taxpayers money on the utility bill and provide more even visibility at night.