If a baseball field is properly installed the first time, it should remain smooth and level for years with the right maintenance. However, you can tell that baseball fields were made using rough grading just by watching them over a couple of years of use. Using old methods of grading, even maintenance can’t prevent lips, wear areas, and low spots in areas of heavy play. Whether you are building a new baseball field or re-grading an old one, if you want your work to last for years, you need to use a laser level.
Baseball Fied Leveling 101
You might imagine that laser levels are excellent for when it comes time to set the bases and chalk the lines down on the field, and they are! However, laser leveling starts long before there is even grass on the field. In fact, it can be used to lay irrigation and drainage evenly, but primarily it is used to make sure the sod is given an even surface to grow on.
Unlike regular grading, laser grading is done through the use of a machine-controlled leveling blade. In this process, a rotary laser is a must. As it sits on its tripod, the laser rotates 360 degrees around the field creating a grade reference. With the laser detector mounted on the leveling blade, the elevation of the beam is detected, sent to a computer, and then the blade is raised and lowered as needed to maintain the desired elevation for the field of play as it smooths the soil.
How Does Laser Leveling Differ From Rough Grading?
Rough, or regular, grading is pretty much the hard way of doing things. While it still uses the leveling blade to create a solid even surface. However, instead of having the laser level send measurements to an onboard computer, the adjustments are made manually. This leaves humongous room for error. As human error is a natural side effect, it can cause uneven growing surfaces and fields that deteriorate much quicker than a field built using laser leveling throughout the whole process.
Benefits of Laser Leveling a Baseball Field
Throughout the process of building a baseball field, it can benefit for laser level grading, from putting in the irrigation to even laying the sod. The major benefit of building a field through the use of lasers is the improved field agronomy. It provides better irrigation, smoother mowing surfaces, and proper drainage, all of which lend to a smoother playing surface.
By having a field built with the machine precision of laser leveling, it decreases standing water, increases playability, causes fewer rain delays, reduces bad ball bounces, and decreases the potential for injuries. You will also see less wear in areas of heavy play including holes and settling. However, while laser leveling a baseball field when creating it does cut down on the time it takes to wear down, like anything, if it is not taken care of and undergoes proper maintenance, you will see the same speed of wear as regular grading. This is often how field owners find out their maintenance crew isn’t doing their jobs very well.