Adding Baseball Dirt To Your Field
posted on February 15th 2009 by Troy Frazier
Red Baseball Clay
This piece will cover a basic set of terms that are used to describe materials used on a baseball or softball field. It is titled “Red Clay” because those words are used for many things.
When people call us they ask for red clay for their baseball or softball field. That could be several things. Most often people want what we would call field topping. This is a small grain size hard material that people put on the top of baseball and softball fields. It’s most often red. This could be a number of different things like expanded shale, clay, limestone, or even volcanic rock. Industry people generally refer to these materials as aggregates. Course materials usually fired in a kiln, ground and screened to a particular granular size. Sometimes people are looking for brick dust. As mentioned in another article this is simply crushed bricks. Field topping sells for between $150.00 and $200.00 a ton before shipping. Brick dust sells for between $50.00 and $150.00 a ton. Quality various greatly on brick dust.
Red clay is also a common name for infield mix or baseball dirt. This is the dirt material that makes up a majority of the skinned infield. Calling infield mix red clay is a bit of a misnomer. Infield mix always contains a certain amount of clay, but it is always mixed with something else such as sand or silt. Red clay only exists in certain parts of the country. Normally the red color of a baseball field is from the field topping. We currently have access to a deposit of red clay, however when it is blended with the sand it only deliveries a reddish hue. Infield mix is what you want to use to patch low spots in your field. If an area holds water you need to install infield mix in that area. Field topping will quickly migrate out of a low spot that you put it in. The clay component of infield mix keeps it in place. Baseball dirt cannot be all clay, or even mostly clay. Clay gets extremely hard when it dries. Infield mix that is even 70% clay will be too hard to play on. Many parts of the country have little to no native clay such as California, or Florida. These areas normally supplement the clay component of infield mix with silt. This works, and it’s generally an inexpensive solution. Shipping clay from other states is generally impractical. Silt will produce more dust, and like clay it gets very hard when it’s dry.
Other times, people call asking for Red Clay when they want mound clay, or batter’s box clay. This is a material that is much more like pottery clay. It has a very low content of material other than clay. Mound clay is not always red. It doesn’t need to be red to work well. The most important factor in mound clay is that the material gets very hard. It is placed in areas of high wear. We sell Klawogg in 50 pound bags. This material is red, and performs very well. We also stock and experiment with a large set of bulk native Ohio clays. We’re using a material at this time that we call Stay Put Moundcrete. It has a reddish hue, but I would not go so far as to call it red. Our testing thus far has gone very well.
Warning track material can be a number of things. Most field topping suppliers like Game-On will offer a warning track material. This will be the same material as their field topping, but it will be larger pieces. People also use gravel and brick dust in warning tracks. I find that gravel in warning tracks seems to find its way on the field so it is not my first choice.
Too review, baseball red clay could be used to describe field topping, soil conditioner, infield mix dirt, mound clay, or even warning track material.
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Adding the Baseball Dirt to the Field
Spreading the Dirt on the Field
Checking the Dirt Level