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So, I did what I always do when a historical question like this comes up: I went to Bill James for an explanation. Not surprisingly, he had one -- it is something he has written about before. He says it’s fairly common knowledge for people over 60. I’m not there quite yet.
I believe I've also read that some years in the late 1920s or early 1930s Connie Mack tried to steer Lefty Grove away from having to pitch against the Yankees, although I can't really be sure why. As a power lefty, wouldn't he have a better chance than most pitchers against Ruth and Gehrig?
Actually just a small reminder of how platoon-happy the world once was.
It is interesting that managers today will jump through hoops trying to maximize platoon advantages with relievers but that you'd never see something like Joe Maddon skipping Price vs a heavy RHH team in order to gain a start against the lefty heavy Yankees.
Here’s the short answer about how a field drains so fast: About 20 years ago, "sand based field construction" was introduced to many sports including baseball due to the high occurrence of rain outs and poor playing conditions In many cases the fields became very unsafe for players not mention the lost revenues from ticket sales. The concept of sand based fields has been around for many years in the golf course industry. Golf Greens are designed specifically to drain using a protocol developed by the USGA. Other sports have used the sand based protocol from the USGA Specification and have Modified it for other sport surfaces.
The typical sand based field is composed of 4 layers.
1. Sub-grade - this layer is normally 12 to 16 inches below the surface. Its pretty much the native soil or fill that the field is built on.
2. Drain and Gravel Layer - This layer is composed of two components. One is drain pipe. The drain pipes are installed in the sub-grade layer and cross the ENTIRE field about every 20 feet. Each have a slight fall of about 1% that allows the water to naturally flow in the pipe. These pipes connect into a larger drain pipe that runs into the storm water system. A special gravel is then placed around the pipe and about 4 inches of the gravel is spread over the entire field. Sometime this is layer can be about 3000 to 4000 tons of gravel.
3. Sand or what we call in the industry the "Root zone". This layer is normally about 10 to 14 inches in depth and is composed of a specific blend of Sand and Peat Moss. In some areas they just use straight sand depending on what type of turf. This material is placed over the entire gravel layer. Again the sand is designed to "bridge" with the gravel so it doesn’t fall through and make the field uneven. This layer is somewhere between 4000 and 6000 tons of sand!
4. The grass - Well this layer is normally just sod or sprigs and is placed directly on the sand. SOmetimes it is even a sand basedgrass to keep the materials consistent.
These systems have pretty much become standard in sports-field and baseball field construction if you have the budget to build one. Basically these fields are just one big 2 acre putting green that can drain 7 to 10 inches of rain water per hour!
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