Wet baseball infields can be more than a pain in the neck for your baseball or softball program. They can be a pain in the ankle, foot, or knee.
Although there is always a chance of getting injured during a baseball or softball game when the field is dry, then rain increases the chances of injuries to players from youth to adult leagues. The best way to prevent injuries from occurring is to use a baseball field tarp to cover your infield.
What Is a Baseball Field Tarp?
A baseball field tarp is designed to extend just beyond the infield skin and cover the coach's boxes and on-deck circles. These tarps are made of durable polyethylene fabric and have pull handles and grommets every 10 feet, which makes getting the tarp unrolled and on the field quick and easy.
During a game, if it starts raining, a baseball field tarp can be rolled out to cover the infield and secured with either weight bags or spike anchors. When the rain stops, the tarp can be removed from the field, and the baseball or softball game can be continued.
Additionally, a baseball field tarp can be rolled out in anticipation of a rainstorm. For example, if the tarp is applied to the infield skin at night, in anticipation of a few hours of overnight rain, it will reduce the chance of games needing to be cancelled the next day due to poor field conditions.
Why Are Wet Infields Unsafe for Play?
When it rains, wet infield skins can become slippery, and the clay can also become compacted and uneven.
A slippery infield can cause players to sustain groin, ankle, and hamstring injuries, as baserunners and infielders have a harder time stopping or changing directions. Compacted clay can cause ruts and holes in the infield skin, can lead to sprains, hyperextensions, dislocations, soft tissue injuries, ligament and cartilage damage, and more.
In addition, batter's boxes, pitchers mounds, and on-deck circles can also become slippery when wet. It's possible for hitters to slip in the batter's box while taking a swing or in the on-deck circle while warming up. It's even more likely that a pitcher will slip and fall if the clay in front of the mound is slick.
Spot Covers to the Rescue
Even if your organization plays its games on an artificial turf field, areas such as the pitcher's mound and bullpen mound will still be made of clay. In some cases, the batter's box area or the on-deck circle will also be made of a natural surface.
When rain is anticipated, a spot cover can be used to cover these smaller areas of the infield. These home plate tarps and pitching mound tarps are designed to extend just beyond the infield skin area of the pitching mound, on-deck circle, and home plate circle, and keeps those areas from getting to wet to play.
Safety is the Bottom Line
While baseball infield tarps can reduce the number of rainouts and postponements for your organization, it can also decrease the chance of injuries to participants. Fewer injuries mean there's less chance that a team would need to forfeit due to the lack of healthy players.