NCAA banner at Jackie Robinson Stadium, Credit: Jeff Poirier
With the start of the 2013 NCAA Baseball Championship just a few hours out, there’s a major hustle and bustle at Jackie Robinson Stadium in preparation for the Los Angeles Regional. The facility looks beautiful, from the freshly manicured field to the slew of NCAA banners flying free to the ESPN television crews set up for broadcast.
But in spite of the efforts of the JRS grounds crew, which has been working double time this week for the Regional, there are some troubling field condition issues left unresolved. Specifically, the infield grass at Steele Field has taken a brutal beating over the course of this long season, and the wear is finally starting to show.
The grass is littered with pockmarks and divots from batting practice and heavy cleat traffic, which is bad news when coupled with a soggy layer of sod. The most damaged areas lie between home plate and the mound, most likely a result of the constant trampling from catchers, umpires and infielders. Unfortunately, at this point, there’s nothing that can be done—the teams will just have to take the problems as they come.
In reality, this isn’t a huge deal, especially since damage is a common element on all baseball diamonds. Nonetheless, one bad hop or strange roll on the infield grass could be the difference between a ticket home and a trip to the Super Regionals. For that reason, it’ll be imperative for the players to consider and investigate the conditions when taking the field. Thankfully, most of the teams have had a chance to practice at JRS already this week, so it won’t be completely foreign.
UCLA will host San Diego State, San Diego and Cal Poly for the weekend tournament, which will begin at 2 PM PST when the Toreros and Mustangs square off. The Bruins will then take on the Aztecs at 6 PM PST in the Friday nightcap. The winners and losers of those games will meet up on Saturday to continue Regional play, followed by elimination madness on Sunday and possibly Monday.
Keep it locked to Go Joe Bruin for the latest UCLA baseball and Los Angeles Regional updates. Go Bruins!