Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Gillette Stadium: A Pain in the Grass

Over the last ten years, the teams occupying Gillette Stadium have tried every trick in the groundskeeping book short of sacrificing a live goat to keep the grass field at Gillette from turning into a sandbox worthy of a Cape Cod beach.(I'm sure if they thought that it would have helped, they would have done that too!). (click title to read more)

So late last year, after trying everything, they did the unthinkable. They tore up the grass field, and put in a blend of Field Turf.

"Unthinkable!" We thundered.

"A Moral Outrage!" We blustered.

"A defacement to the Beautiful Game!" We yelled.

"We'll never host a US game ever again!" We cried.

Some anonymous wag on a Revs forum board (that has absolutely nothing to do with the writer, honest), even changed his signature to read "If you can't smoke it, you shouldn't be playing soccer on it"

But did it matter? Nope. The Pointy Ball coach was tired of not only the horrid field conditions, but the insinuations that it was all a devious plot to give the Pointy Ball team an advantage.

So... fast forward to this season. We watch the revs, and are ready to collectively condemn the team the first time someone so much as gets a rug burn, never mind turf toe...

And it's really not that bad. In fact, It plays true, and with no hidden bounces. It turns out the team plays well on it.

And then, a couple weeks ago, the announcement that for six weeks, the good old grass days would be back.

It seems that the international teams of Bolivia, Ireland, and the various CONCACAF sides that make up the Gold Cup don't want to play on the fake stuff any more than we did when the announcement was made.

"Huzzah!" We yelled

"The good old days have returned" We shouted to the rafters.

The Beautiful Game is Beautiful again! We cried!

Unfortunately, the pain in the grass has returned. The field was already coming up in huge tufts Saturday night, and I lost track at 15 of the number of weird bounces that the ball took off the grass.

And worst yet, the Revs look lost playing on it.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is a highly sub-optimal sitaution. The grass is just laid out over the turf. But still.. if you can't keep grass for six weeks, you can't keep it at all.

So here's to the 16th coming and going, and the return of FieldTurf. (at least, until someone gets injured.)