After several years of discussion and planning, the River City Rascals and the City of O’Fallon, Mo. are officially moving forward with installation of synthetic turf at CarShield Field. The turf had been at the top of the Rascals wish list as it will allow them to play more baseball games and host more events at the facility than a traditional natural grass surface. The project is expected to be completed before the Rascals first game of the season on Friday, May 5.
Of the twelve teams in the Frontier League, the Rascals will be the ninth to make the transition from natural grass to synthetic turf.
There are several reasons that facilities prefer the artificial turf, but the biggest is playability.
CarShield Field will now have the ability to host events such as high school and college soccer, lacrosse, softball, large concert series, and major college baseball. With a natural grass surface, the field needs time to “rest and recuperate” after a long weekend baseball tournament or a six-game homestand.
However, with an artificial turf surface, games can be played all day, every day. The Rascals expect to increase the number of events held at CarShield Field from the current 125 to over 200 in the coming years.
“To say this project is a game-changer for the Rascals and CarShield Field would be an understatement,” said Rascals President Dan Dial. “Our goal has always been to provide as many exciting and family-friendly events at our facility as possible each year. We are the premier destination in St. Charles County for sports entertainment, but the installation of synthetic turf will allow us to dramatically expand our profile of events to include major concerts and high-level athletics. There will be something for everyone!”
The construction and installation of the turf will be done by ATG Sports; a Midwest based company with over 35 years of experience. ATG has installed hundreds of turf fields and recently completed an artificial football field project at Christian High School in O’Fallon.
One of the major events the Rascals have acquired as a result of the turf installation is the STL Legends Game being played at CarShield Field on Saturday, August 19. Former Cardinals Jim Edmonds, Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumacher, Fernando Tatis, and several others will entertain fans during the seven inning affair.
The artificial turf gave the Rascals the peace of mind to book such a high-profile game. “This is an event we’ve wanted to put together for our fans for several years, but you need the security that turf provides to make sure you don’t get rained out. An artificial turf field can be ready to play practically fifteen minutes after a storm passes,” said Dial.
Construction of the turf will continue throughout the winter and spring, as well as other small renovations to the facility. Once completed, the Rascals expect to bring in up to 10,000 new visitors to the ballpark in 2017 and continue expanding that number in the seasons to come.